LinkedIn is a social networking site that has been designed specifically for the business community in order for them to create networks of people that they know and trust on a professional basis. However as with any social media platform, it has been identified as much more than a way to keep in touch with past and present colleagues and customers, but it can also be utilised to grow your business and increase your sales. Here are some of the ways you could make LinkedIn work for you.
New business creation
Sourcing potential customers and generating leads is vital to any business, and LinkedIn can help you to do this in a number of different ways.
When first approaching a potential customer getting through to the correct person who has the power to make decisions can sometimes be half of the battle. The LinkedIn advanced search function lets you select parameters like ‘job title’ to help you narrow down your quest to get to the right contact. Be warned though, sometimes there are multiple labels for the same function so check you have covered all bases! Once you have identified your targets, you can then approach any mutual contacts to ask them to connect you.
You can also scrutinise your referral partners’ networks for potential customers. These are people who sell a different product or service to you, but have the same target demographic who could be interested in what your business has to offer. Your referral partners also shouldn’t mind connecting you as you aren’t in competition with one another.
Joining groups is a great way to achieve a number of useful things for your business. Check out the groups that your customers, prospective customers and referral partners are in and contribute to the discussions. This will help raise your profile and show you as providing relevant and useful information which will lead to potential customers seeing you as a valuable contact. You also have the benefit of being able to contact group members even when not personally connected to them.
Groups can be a useful way to conduct market research. By joining a group of people that represent your target customers, you can use the free poll option to ask loaded questions, the answers to which may assist in your marketing strategy. Just be sure not to make it overly sales-orientated. If you have your own LinkedIn group for your business, you could also use it to get vital feedback from members.
Alerts are a great way to generate leads. You can save your custom searches and LinkedIn will then automatically alert you if new results come in. For example, if one of your contacts changes their company or position and becomes a ‘result’ in one of your searches because they have become a decision maker or becomes a prospective customer, then you will get an alert to let you know.
These are just some of the ways that you can get your presence on LinkedIn working for your business.