LinkedIn is one of the most popular social media platforms, and it’s very useful for marketers who want to grow their business online. But what is LinkedIn, and how can you use it to grow your business?
First, let’s discuss what LinkedIn is and isn’t. While LinkedIn claims to be the world’s largest professional network, that’s not actually true. There are a few competing networks with a more active user base. But LinkedIn does have a lot of valuable features that make it a worthwhile network to exist in. For instance, LinkedIn gives you the ability to connect with thousands of people in your industry, set up sales alerts to be notified when a new contact shows interest in your product or service, and find out what your competitors are up to.
Now, let’s discuss how you can use LinkedIn to grow your business.
Create A Profile That Will Grow Your Business
The first step to using LinkedIn to grow your business is to create a profile that will attract a specific audience. When you create a profile on LinkedIn, you can connect with other users who have similar interests or backgrounds, as well as see what kind of content the network’s members are sharing. This is a useful tool for determining what topics you should dive into, as well as what kinds of content your ideal audience is consuming on the platform.
For example, if you are a marketing professional, you might want to create a marketing profile. Or if you are a business owner, you could create a profile in business administration.
Once you have your marketing or business profile, you can start to build out your LinkedIn experience. The most important thing to do is to add value to the network by contributing content that’s helpful and informative. If you are using LinkedIn to expand your business, the last thing you want to do is just join groups and passively consume information. That’s boring and won’t get you very far in the network.
Join The Right Groups
One of the most important things you can do for your own LinkedIn profile is to join the right groups. When you join a group, you’ll get notifications whenever a new topic is discussed. This is one of the best features of LinkedIn, because it allows you to stay up-to-date on the latest topics without having to check in every day. Instead, you get notifications whenever new content is added to the group.
Groups are incredibly useful on LinkedIn, and you should definitely join a few that are related to your industry. For example, if you’re a marketing professional, you might want to join groups related to marketing or public relations. Or if you’re an entrepreneur, you could join groups related to entrepreneurship or investment.
By joining the right groups, you’ll find the information you need to expand your business. But you have to be careful here, because if you join the wrong groups, you’ll waste a lot of time and get little to no value out of the networking tool.
Follow Up With Existing Connections
Another important thing you can do for your own LinkedIn profile is to follow up with existing connections. If you interact with people regularly, whether through Twitter or other platforms, you can begin to see them as more than a contact or a connection on the network. Instead, you can begin to consider them as a business partner or a potential contact for a different project. Or if you’ve done business in the past, you can consider them as a potential customer for your product or service.
Following up with existing connections is a great way to grow your business on LinkedIn. Just remember that these aren’t people you just met today. You’ve likely interacted with them before, and you can begin to see them as more than a name and a profile picture. So, instead of sending a casual “hi,” you could write a short note to reconnect and continue the conversation. Or, if you’ve done business in the past, you could send them a letter or an email to say hello and continue the relationship.
Encourage Others To Connect With You
LinkedIn is a massive network, and it can be difficult to find the right connections. But if you are actively contributing value to the network, people will eventually notice and begin to connect with you. So, don’t be afraid to ask for connections or to offer help in connecting with other industry professionals. If you are helping to educate others, they will eventually connect with you to get more information. This is one of the great things about LinkedIn; people will naturally connect with those they deem as experts in the field.
For example, if you are helping students looking for internships or jobs, you could create a profile detailing your extensive experience in the field and your network of contacts. Or if you work for a nonprofit that specializes in the area of social justice, you could contribute your expertise by creating a group focused on social reform and contribute to the discussion. Or if you are the owner of a small business, you could begin to build a professional network of your peers by setting up online forums to talk about your industry and provide each other with support and advice.
Use Inbound Methodology
Finally, one of the most effective ways to use LinkedIn to grow your business is to follow the inbound methodology. The inbound methodology is all about doing business with people you know and like, rather than going through a long, tedious buying process with a faceless business you’ve never heard of. This helps you create happier customers and makes working with you a lot easier and less stressful. It also means you’ll have happier employees, too.
The inbound methodology isn’t just about marketing and sales either. It can be applied to every part of your business, from customer service to product development to finding a venue for your next conference.
If you want to use LinkedIn to grow your business, it’s important to build out a profile that is relevant to your niche. Then, you can begin to use the platform in a way that will support your business goals.