LinkedIn should be a part of your online presence and your personal and business strategies. It is important to have a good profile completed on LinkedIn. If you stop there however you are missing out on other potential opportunities that could come your way with some strategic activities at the right time. LinkedIn is also a smart place to be actively promoting your business, because it is a social media platform that people view when they are in a work mind-set.
It is important not to post too frequently, more than daily is probably too much, but every couple of days is acceptable. Do make sure you have something of value to others. Ideally, it is great to post something you have created yourself such as an article, infographic, podcast, or video. For most people, while you may not have the time to generate content every few days, it is still useful to share other people’s helpful pieces too.
Sharing useful content is 1) helpful to others, 2) helpful to remind others you are a useful and informed member of the business community, and 3) helpful as a way of keeping your product / company’s name in the news. This strategy requires a low level of activity but can reap useful results.
Do you use LinkedIn to research people and companies before you contact them? You’d be surprised how few people actually do. By doing so it will answer a lot of initial questions, to get a deeper knowledge of what the business does. This enables you to then refine the conversations you have with your potential leads, and to create a pitch specifically related to their needs and business.
LinkedIn's tabs provide some great ways to raise your profile and increase the likelihood of connecting with useful, relevant contacts. The first three tabs are quite helpful. You need to have your profile up to date with relevant details to what you are working on now. Your network is also useful for researching if you are already connected to a potential lead. If so, you can directly message them, which is a great way to get the ball rolling and target specific key individuals. Learning is useful if you need to know more about a particular term or concept.
The Jobs tab can be really useful, as LinkedIn has streamlined the application process. As LinkedIn has all your details anyway (from your Profile section) it is a very quick process to apply for various positions, including contract pieces of work. With such a quick application process, it can be a very useful way to let people know about who you are, and what you have to offer. We have found subsequent leads have evolved from the occasional visit to the jobs section.
Similarly, Interests has some great potential assets for raising your profile and securing possible leads. SlideShare was a great platform for easily sharing your slides from talks and presentations you may have given. Since LinkedIn bought SlideShare in 2012, all of that useful functionality is now embedded within LinkedIn, which makes your ideas findable by an even wider audience. If you’re not using SlideShare to share your public talks then you are missing a great marketing opportunity that will keep bringing in views long after you have given your talk.
Groups remains a potentially useful location for lead generation, depending on finding the right group in which to post your content, comments, and questions. With groups, there is a degree of Goldilocks search required, to find a group that is not too quiet (no new posts or engagement in the last month) and one that is not too busy (posts every 10 seconds). to find the optimal audience for you to showcase what you and your company can do.
Companies can be useful, though possibly more to get a sense of how the company wishes to be seen, rather than how they actually are. For a more open appraisal of what the company is actually like then services like Glassdoor will give you a better sense of any potential gap between the perceived and actual culture and work practices of the company.
In 2016, LinkedIn was acquired by Microsoft, further increasing the potential reach possible by using LinkedIn for lead generation. The large, and growing number of users enables you to find, and specifically target, the right people relevant to your product or service that you are trying to promote and sell. The various sub-sections make it possible to drill down to exactly the key decision-makers that you are trying to reach, and into the right social media platform, where people are for work-related reasons. There is also much less risk of negative feedback or ‘trolling’, as LinkedIn is a professional environment where people are receptive and open to business-related ideas and offers.