LinkedIn is not the social media platform of choice for every business owner. However, if you are selling a B2B service or targeting executives, corporate professionals, or business owners, LinkedIn is absolutely the place to be.
According to Foundation Inc., who shares some alarming LinkedIn statistics, LinkedIn now has over 500 million members, and their goal is to reach 3 billion! LinkedIn membership continues to rise year after year, and it’s estimated that 40% of their members are using LinkedIn on a daily basis. That equates to 200,000 members perusing content on LinkedIn every day.
Personally, I’ve been hanging out on LinkedIn for years, and have managed to meet new people and turn leads into clients on a fairly regular basis. I have watched people use LinkedIn in engaging and informative ways, while also cringing at the ways business owners are using LinkedIn in offputting ways.
There are thousands of articles you can read, and even paid courses you can take, to learn how to use LinkedIn to build your business. I like to keep my LinkedIn social media plan simple and easy to implement. I know my method works because I happened to listen in on a FB Live interview with Helen Pritchard, who confirmed for me that I was doing everything right.
If you follow this step-by-step plan faithfully, I can guarantee you will eventually get leads and new clients from LinkedIn. But here’s the thing. You need to have patience. Relationship building takes time, and you will not be an overnight success from LinkedIn. If you work the plan with discipline and consistency, I promise it will pay off for you.
Step 1: Spend some time building a rock solid LinkedIn profile.
There are entire articles on how to create a great LinkedIn profile. Do some research and use the tips to get your profile in tip-top shape. Use a professional photo. Capture your brand using your LinkedIn banner photo. Clearly articulate who you work with and what you do for them. Gather recommendations. Highlight your accomplishments and skills. Pack your profile with keywords that your target market may be searching with. Spend some time on your profile – people do read them.
Step 2: Reach out to new people on a daily basis to grow your network.
Some people believe that you should only reach out to people you know on LinkedIn. I disagree with that. I look at LinkedIn as a huge networking group, where I have the opportunity to meet new and incredible people. I use LinkedIn to align myself with amazing professionals who share the same interests as me. I reach out to people I want to learn from. I search for potential power partners – people who target the same market as me, but with a different type of service. And I definitely connect with anyone I come into contact with professionally. In all honesty, most people are happy to connect. There will be some that won’t accept your invitation – that’s ok. Some people won’t want to talk with you in a networking group either. Aim to connect with 5-10 new people every day.
Step 3: Send a short little note – something that explains why you’re interested in connecting.
It’s too easy to just hit the connect button to gain a new follower. It’s not even the best way to start a relationship. I always send a short little note that demonstrates that I took the time to read the person’s profile. What do you have in common with this person? Why are you interested in connecting? The primary reason should not be because you want to sell to them. If they accept your invitation to connect, then send them another note to say thank you. Strike up a small introductory conversation, if you want, through LinkedIn Messaging. Some people will respond – others won’t.
Step 4: Post daily content that showcases your brand, personality, and expertise.
Yes, I said daily. You will get the most exposure when you are posting daily. There are many forms of content that you can share but the ones that work great for LinkedIn are:
- Personal stories
- Videos – people love to watch videos
- Social proof
- Call to Action Posts
- Memes that educate, inspire, make people laugh
- Articles – your own and others
At Amazing OBM, we post a daily meme, blog articles a couple times per month, occasional videos, and personal photos that are professionally based.
Step 5: Engage with other people’s content.
Spend 15-20 minutes per day, scrolling through the LinkedIn feed. Express your interest by liking other people’s stuff. LinkedIn has recently made it more fun (like Facebook), by allowing you to classify your feelings with a like, love, celebrate, insightful, or curious. Take the time to read content and make comments to interact with the author and other users. If someone comments on your content, respond back with your own comment.
Step 6: Limit these LinkedIn behaviors and activities.
There are many advanced techniques you can use to grow your business with LinkedIn, but remember we are using the K.I.S.S. method. These behaviors are absolute no-no’s. Don’t try to sell your services through LinkedIn messaging. There is nothing more annoying than to connect with a new person who immediately goes into a sales pitch with you. For me, it’s grounds for an immediate disconnect, or at best, completing ignoring them. Don’t constantly post content that sells your services – mix it up. Educate, establish your expertise, build relationships, and then you can post an offer. It’s not necessary to spend money on LinkedIn ads, nor is it totally effective to spend a lot of time in LinkedIn groups. I am not saying that either of these activities can never be helpful – I’m just saying that with limited time and money, these are not the areas to focus on.
Step 7: Be patient and wait for the inbound leads to find you.
Over time, people will come to recognize you and your content. You will begin building relationships with your connections on LinkedIn. If you are demonstrating your expertise and helping people solve their problems, you will gain credibility. When the need comes for your service, people will think of you. For instance, one particular coach has been following my LinkedIn content for at least a year. She admired the consistency of my social media marketing. When her new podcast started taking off, leaving her overwhelmed with too much to do, guess who she thought of? She reached out for an introductory meeting, and now she is a new client of ours.
LinkedIn is not for everyone. Depending on the type of business you have, and the clients you serve, you may find that Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest is a better fit for you. But if you want to reach professionals, corporations, and business owners, then a LinkedIn marketing plan is an absolute must for you.
Lori Young is a certified online business manager and founder of Amazing OBM. She and her team are dedicated to managing the day-to-day operations, digital marketing, and client care for heart-centered, purpose-driven, and growth-oriented entrepreneurs. Work in your genius zone, while we manage the rest.
A Simple Step-by-Step Plan for Using LinkedIn to Build Your Business
June 2, 2019