Since its launch in 2003 LinkedIn has become the largest professional network and is an excellent way for business to business networking. But are you using it to generate leads? From out-of-date profiles to unclear strategy, people have been misusing LinkedIn longer than they’ve been using it. Here’s our advice on getting it to work as hard as you do and increase sales. Let’s assume you’re a newbie and have just set up your first free LinkedIn account. What next?
- Strategy – ask yourself …why are you on LinkedIn? If you want to make LinkedIn increase sales for you, you must have a strategy. For example, who are you targeting? What are your targets/goals? Who will contribute and manage the account? How will you monitor success? What groups will you join/create and why?
- Your profile – this is the most basic mistake people make and it’s something that’s very easily fixed. Don’t just cut and paste the about us page from your website (yes, I’m talking about you down the back!!). Ensure your profile is accurate and targeted and make sure your staff profiles are 100% complete.
- Staff LinkedIn Procedure / Policy? – have you given your staff the lowdown on what they can and can’t’ say on LinkedIn. Bring it up at the next sales meeting and see what they think. Then come up with a brief in-house guide – just so everyone is singing from the same hymn sheet.
- Consider upgrading your account. There are many additional features available when you upgrade your account. One great tool is the Open Link feature – this allows you to contact anyone that is in Open Links and build your network. You will also have 5 additional introductions which will let you to ask people you know to introduce you to people that you would like to be connected to. http://www.linkedin.com/personalplus
- InMail – it’s a bit like email and is an excellent way to contact people you are not connected to. Use them wisely as you have to pay for them. There’s a 7-day response guarantee for InMails—if you don’t get a reply in 7 days, LinkedIn will give you another InMail to send so its win win. When sending InMails you should be informative in the subject line and note common interests/connections in the mail. Always check the recipients contact settings – this is important to ensure they are open to receiving your mail.
And that’s just for starters. Put these five points in place before moving on to part 2 of this article. We didn’t want to swamp you with a load of things to do! Keep in mind that most of all, LinkedIn is about being part of an online community – one that can and will generate leads for you – if you put the work in.