Linkedin is a free social marketing and business tool with invaluable sales and marketing benefits. Linkedin allows you to leverage your existing contacts to connect with clients, industry experts and to help you locate potential prospects. Below are my 10 top tips for improving your Linkedin profile and networking activity:
1. Complete your profile
Take the time to fill out all the sections in particular the summary and current role. A complete profile will allow you greater visibility, improve trust and get you far better results. Add a picture as people are more likely to connect with someone they recognise. Add skills and expertise so these can be endorsed for greater visibility and credibility.
2. Write a summary
Your summary should give a clear overview of you, your capabilities and the benefits of working with you. Use key words (such as products, services, tools) in your summary to optimise for SEO as this section is indexed by major search engines and will allow you to rank in search results.
3. Freely give and receive recommendations
Recommendations will improve perceptions of you and can be viewed by connections and those you invite. Ask people you invite to connect to view your recommendations as part of your engagement process.
4. Use LinkedIn to follow up after communications
(such as calls, meetings etc). Change the standard connection request message that LinkedIn puts to something more personal for added effect.Linkedin mails receive far higher open rates than traditional emails (source Insidesales.com), so use it as a method of building contact with customers and prospective clients
5. Ask for referrals through LinkedIn
Linkedin will allow you to go through your connections and pick those you think will be happy to refer you. Now you can spend a few moments in their LinkedIn contact list and find the right people you want to be referred to. Ask each contact for the referral connection and give the specific names of the contacts you have in mind.
6. Join industry and local LinkedIn groups
When you use advanced search you can view group users as well as primary, secondary and tertiary contacts. These can provide a good pool of prospects. Connect to those that are highly connected in the prospect company/Industry you are interested in, as they will open the doorway for you to see others within that company and industry.
7. Use advanced search to target specific job titles, companies and industries of those you wish to connect with
You can search for the exact title of people and industry of companies that fit your perfect target prospect.
8. Follow your suppliers, customers and prospective customers
LinkedIn now ties you into news feeds. It helps you meet the right people to offer a better experience. Information and sales intelligence often provide “trigger events” that help you know when your prospects may have opportunities for sales or gap fill.
9. Manage competitor connections carefully
Linking to competitors will enable you access to their network, connections and news feed. Doing so will also allow them to see your information in exactly the same way.
10. Connect to your own corporate page
This will provide potential customers with further information on the benefits of using your company and services. Ask your customers to recommend these services for increased company and service exposure to back up your sales activity.