Over the past year, I have invested a great deal of time and energy in understanding and playing with my LinkedIn strategy. Working to gain a firm grasp of this tool as a way of gaining qualified leads. The reason for this was twofold:
- I was attending far too many networking events, many of which occurred at some ungodly hour between 6.45 am and 8 am. Whilst most reasonable people are still in bed. This meant I was perpetually exhausted and beginning to resent the sound of my own voice offering up my 60-second spiel.
- I had plans to move country and urgently needed a new way of developing my sales pipeline that moved my business beyond networking.
To be perfectly clear when I started using LinkedIn I had little in the way of strategy and was I think, like most people, rather overwhelmed by the idea of even trying. Lest I should fail….I suppose there is also an element of concern in allowing yourself to be vulnerable in front of such a wide audience. However, despite my reservations, and much umming and ahhing I decided to simply make a go of it.
That was almost a year ago and since then I have felt every gamut of emotion. I have been frustrated, disquieted, embarrassed, excited and joyful. But, most importantly, I have been successful. It has taken time, patience and a huge amount of hard work. And let me be very clear about this – a great deal of hard work. However, I now gain around 80% of my business through LinkedIn and am even offering this service to clients as a way of helping them to generate leads.
So for those of you who are considering using LinkedIn as a tool or who would like to outsource it, the obvious question is what on earth does a LinkedIn strategy look like? How should the platform be used?
Stage 1- Optimise your profile
Think of your LinkedIn profile as a landing page for your business, and so spend some time making sure your content is up-to-date, interesting and relevant, and for the love of god please don’t write your bio in the third person. We are mightily unamused.
Stage 2 – Outreach
Posting well-articulated and interesting posts are all well and good, but they can absolutely not work in a vacuum. You must have contacts – individuals who are interested and engaged in the content you are putting out there. There are a few ways you can do this, and I have chosen to divide these into two clear stages.
Stage 2a. – Connect with people you know.
Go on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, your CRM and manually connect to friends, family and your ex-boyfriend from decades ago. I, personally, am constantly amazed by some of the business I have received from the recommendations of casual acquaintances. Recently I got a supremely fantastic referral from my childhood neighbour. Connect with them, send them a message you never know where it may lead.
Stage 2b. – Connect with total strangers
Of course, in the world of social media, you are only ever a step or two away from anyone. So identify your target demographic and get searching – Marketing managers based in London with businesses of over 50 employees? CTOs in New York helping with multi-million-pound companies? Search them, find them and connect with them. Try to keep the message bright and cheerful – maybe invite them for a chat over coffee.
Remember these messages should never be overtly sales-y, and should simply work to engender conversation and promote links.
Stage 3 – Content
Start small – one post a week/ even twice a week. These could in any format – short – form, long- form, video, images, but should portray you as an interesting and intelligent individual with whom business owners would want to get to know more.
The most important part of this process is that you constantly review the content – see what’s working and what isn’t. With LinkedIn Premium you will be able to see how many individuals view your posts and tailor your strategy accordingly.
If you would like to discuss LinkedIn strategy in any more detail please do feel free to drop me an email on firstname.lastname@example.org.I am always happy to have a chat and see how I can help. I am also now offering LinkedIn strategy as a service and would be happy to offer a free of charge consultation to see if it’s right for you and your business.