In a previous blog post, we discussed how LinkedIn, a social media platform aimed primarily at connecting professionals and businesses, could be used as a tool to enhance lead generation. We noted the power of LinkedIn as a way of targeting people in a geographical area, specific decision makers in companies of interest or contacts from a supplied email list. LinkedIn can be powerful as a way of accessing and forging a connection with people who might be interested in your product or service, paving the way to direct contact via a phone call.
As with most digital lead generation solutions, using LinkedIn comes with its own trials and benefits. There are three critical cornerstones that, if in place, will make LinkedIn work for you.
The Cornerstones of LinkedIn
Maximizing and Preparing
This is your opportunity to use your personal profile to sell yourself, to create a striking company page and to outline the services or products you are offering.
Begin with your brand. You’ll need a punchy statement that sums up your business and an eye-catching visual identity including a professionally taken photograph. With this foundation, you can start adding details: a job title, a list of services and, when available, testimonials, recommendations and endorsements from people who have benefited from your business. Remember to include your education and previous employment history, focusing on the details that are relevant to your business.
Ensure this information is kept up-to-date. The objective is not only to provide a base of information, but to convince visitors to your profile that your business is current and active, so prioritise the latest news, developments and details.
Attracting and Connecting
Once you have your profile in place, you can start building on it by attracting followers and connecting with influential contacts. As with most social networking endeavours, this is an art-form – a careful balancing act between developing relationships and damaging them with unwanted attention.
Start by doing your research to find the individuals who would welcome an invitation. The scattergun approach is not the best one with LinkedIn – the ideal is to target a specific audience and to construct a network of engaged individuals from a relevant background and in the right sectors. To do this takes time and a tailored approach – drawing in people with valuable content (more on this with the next cornerstone) and using the functionality LinkedIn gives you to filter down to groups of people using keywords and metrics.
Remember to send a personal email when you have connected with someone. The process shouldn’t be a numbers game – each new contact should be followed up with an individual engagement. Use your email to guide your new connections to your website and encourage them to follow your company page.
Having a network of contacts is great, but it is only one half of what you need to do. At the same time you’re building your network, you will need to also focus on engaging with individuals and sharing valuable content. Getting someone to connect with you is one thing, getting their attention and sustaining their interest is another – which leads to the final cornerstone…
Engaging and Sharing
To retain your contacts and to encourage them to dig deeper into what you might offer them, you need to engage with them. For this, content is king – either creating your own new and relevant content, or sharing that of others. The key is to create an environment, with your profile at the centre, which is beneficial to all the participants.
There are two approaches you should take: firstly you ensure that you are generating valuable and relevant blogs, images, infographics, videos and even podcasts to share. Secondly, you should research and identify key content by others with a view to sharing and amplifying it.
The benefit of social media platforms like LinkedIn is the ability to use keywords to search for content. In this way you can ensure you are engaging with prospective clients in a way that builds on what is currently happening in the industry. This article on the Chartered Digital website will give you an idea of how you should approach producing content that is both valuable and will help promote your business.
When approached with the right mind-set and with the cornerstones in place, LinkedIn can be a valuable tool to locate and to start to build trust with prospective clients. The ultimate objective, of course, is getting the relationship to the stage where the prospect would welcome a phone call from you. In this way, LinkedIn can be a valuable bridge between acquiring data and directly contacting an individual. Chartered Developments has the experience and expertise to help you cross this bridge. Contact us for more about how we can support you.