People might say that they’re here just to meet people, be sociable, find like minded individuals to banter with but most of us are here to learn, grow, make powerful contacts and have a material ROI on our time here.
If you agree, read on!
Over the years, LinkedIn has evolved from a recruitment tool that links employers with potential employees to the largest business-oriented professional social media platform. While it has grown continuously over the years, networking continues to be a significant purpose. LinkedIn’s new features make it the ideal tool for professionals to connect with and engage with their target audience. Business owners can promote and build trust for their brand, grow their business, and even gain feedback. It’s the professional platform to demonstrate credibility, knowledge and gain social proof for talents and skills.
No, they don’t pay me but the bottom line is this: LinkedIn is a fantastic place for generating business.
This month’s newsletter will cover practical and actionable tips that you can take to use LinkedIn to build a powerful business development platform.
6 Steps to Use LinkedIn to Build a Powerful Business & Consulting Platform
1. Start with a Plan
Before diving into LinkedIn, it is essential to understand what you hope to achieve through the platform.
- Are you looking for new clients for your business?
- Do you wish to expand your business?
- Do you want to share information?
Knowing your end goal can prevent you from wasting time.
As a business developer, you can use LinkedIn to:
- Showcase your skills and career experience.
- Create awareness of your brand.
- Promote original content that you have created.
- Find new business opportunities.
- Gain referrals and recommendations.
- Identify and monitor competition so you can provide better services.
- Keep up to date with the latest news in the industry so you can better your services.
2. Get your Profile Business Ready (Optimise that profile!)
You only have a single chance to make a first good impression. Make a strong and positive impact by ensuring your LinkedIn profile stands out. Your LinkedIn profile should be completely set up and fully optimised to attract your relevant audiences.
An incomplete profile is not appropriate. Ensure you fill out all the information fields. Use various aspects of your profile (for example, the headline and About section) to create a connection with your audience and enable “Creator Mode” (Creator Mode guide available here)
A complete LinkedIn profile includes:
A professional photograph: Your profile shot is critical to establish human relationships. People need to see faces, so avoid using your company logo or an inanimate object for your profile picture.
Pro tip: Rename your profile photo with your role eg. femalecoach.jpeg, financialadvisor.png to be pushed further up search engine rankings
The picture you use must be a professional photo that conveys your style. It should be a high-resolution image, taken with a neutral background under good light conditions. Dress appropriately to come across as a professional coach or consultant. Ensure the picture is recent and the correct size.
An impactful headline: Your headline must be ‘functional’ and answer essential questions like:
▶ Who you are.
▶ What you do.
▶ Who you can help.
For example, “Experienced business development consultant/help companies develop long-term strategies and generate visibility and opportunities both on and offline. | Increasing revenue by X year on year” If you don’t include these details in your headline, people will not understand if your business will suit them.
The headline is what most people will see in a search result. When creating a headline, avoid using fancy language that might sound cool but is ineffective. Use direct and basic terms that people type into the LinkedIn search bar when they look for a coach/consultant to hire.
A well-crafted About section: Consider the summary (old skool) / About section as a story of your career. You have 2000 characters at your disposal to help your target audience better understand what you do, how you do it, and whom your business is meant to support. Of these 2000 characters, the first 35 words are most critical because that is all your audience gets to see until they click the “see more” button so put your key USP here, not the standard CEO@…
Make the summary easy to read: Writing it in the first-person. Break up the text into short paragraphs (not more than 2 or 3 sentences in each paragraph). Use a lot of white space.
Add your contact details in summary. That way, even people from outside your network get to contact you. Don’t forget to add information that your readers want:
- Where you operate geographically.
- Your role.
- What types of businesses you work with – business sizes and sectors.
- What makes you unique.
- Why they should hire you.
- How you are qualified to help them.
- Where they can find more information about you.
Don’t forget to talk about your background, clients you have worked with and your achievements.
A professional experience section: Ensure you add descriptions for each role that you have played.
A list of skills and endorsements: Consider reordering your skills (what you consider as your strengths) and endorsements (what others believe are your strengths).
Other vital elements of your profile include your educational qualifications, client recommendations, completed projects, written or published works, and LinkedIn Groups you are actively on.
3. Build & Optimise your LinkedIn Company page
A professional profile on LinkedIn is not enough to drive traffic and increase brand awareness. You need a company page to define your brand and showcase your business. Here’s a few key ideas to optimise your LinkedIn company profile:
- Ensure your company page is complete and provides information like its size, operational years, locations, and the services or programs you provide.
- Insert keywords into your company profile.
- Create links to your company profile by adding them to your official website, blog, and other marketing and promotional material.
- Link your personal profile to the company page so that you gain a smart logo and not the grey square of doom!!
4. Share your content
The most effective way to build credibility is to show (rather than tell) your audience what you can do. Showing your potential clients what you can do is a much more powerful way of helping them realise that you are an expert in your field. By sharing content with your followers, you demonstrate the value you can provide.
Content that you can create and share includes videos, blog posts, and articles. Posting on LinkedIn Publishing exposes you to a different and wider audience so get writing those newsletters!
- Choose subjects of interest to your audience that will also position you as a thought leader.
- Ensure your content is SEO-friendly, so it is visible both on and off LinkedIn.
Pro Tip: Check your public profile visibility is set to “everyone” so that search engines (eg. Google) can rank your articles.
Consistency is key – aim for 3 x week.
5. Engage Regularly with your Network
Many business professionals make a common mistake on LinkedIn – to be highly active for a few weeks and then completely disappear for an indefinite period. This now-you-see-me-now-you-don’t manner makes it impossible to get the best out of LinkedIn.
- Check your notifications and messages and the latest news on LinkedIn. If you see a message from an existing client, respond as soon as possible. Also, use the notification tab to see updates from your network and start new conversations.
- The newsfeed is critical to gather the latest insights from your industry and find new opportunities to stay connected with your audience. Check the LinkedIn news feed to engage with others’ content. You can do this by commenting, reacting, and sharing other people’s content with the rest of your network.
Pro Tip: Support reactions signal to LinkedIn that the post is popular and worth reading far better than other reactions so the more of these you have on a post, the better the likely reach.
- Ring that bell 🔔 on people’s profile to be alerted of your ideal client’s posts.
6. Build Your Network
Networking on LinkedIn should be a regular activity.
- Searching for new people to create new connections.
- Managing your invitations.
- Commenting on people’s posts
Pro tip: Use the hashtags on your company page and comment as your business to gain visibility directly
When connecting with people, remember that it’s all about what’s in it for them, not what’s in it for you!
Bonus Features to Implement:
LinkedIn Groups are among the most powerful networking and marketing tools for coaches and consultants to help escalate lead generation. You can join or create a group for free. A single group can get your message across to thousands of people who are interested in your business. You can establish new connections and even position yourself as an industry expert through LinkedIn Groups as you can message people without being connected
LinkedIn Pulse / Publishing
You can post your articles here, making you discoverable by a wider audience. The best part – you can boost your business by reaching your relevant audience and establishing yourself as an expert in your field. Here’s how you can get the best out of LinkedIn articles and newsletters:
- Create compelling and catchy headlines.
- Use visuals to make your content more attractive.
- Add your website’s link to all your articles to drive traffic to your website.
- Promote your articles outside LinkedIn to reach a larger audience.
- Articles are indexed by Google so should be a key part of your business dev plan
LinkedIn Sales Navigator
LinkedIn Sales Navigator is a premium-plan offering designed to help you discover new leads and finalise sales. The Sales Navigator makes use of a sophisticated algorithm that allows you to filter and narrow down searches. Plus, you can use this feature to track leads, contact them, and send them direct messages via InMail. When we work with clients, this is a key tool in our business development arsenal to help generate business for them.
There is no doubt that LinkedIn is a critical and essential tool to promote your organisation, drive traffic and lead / business generation. When you use it optimally, it can help you discover high-quality leads and help you grow your business.
I hope that following and implementing some of the above steps outlined above will materially help you to build your brand, make your time here productive and generate real business.
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Furthermore, if you have a LinkedIn conundrum that you’d like answering in subsequent newsletters, do share it with me in the comments.
Thanks for reading!
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