5 Things to Know About Finding Clients on LinkedIn
If you’re looking to make important business connections, LinkedIn is the premier social media platform to use. You’ll find recruiters using LinkedIn to find job candidates; CEOs looking to grow their influence and build trust with buyers; and solopreneurs looking for freelancers to build their dream team. In the world of business relationships, you just never know who you’ll meet that will possibly send you your most lucrative client, so growing your network steadily and consistently makes good business sense.
However, if you think blasting LinkedIn users with connection requests is the way to go, put the brakes on your plans and rethink your strategy. Here’s some well-researched advice:
1. Nobody likes a spammer. Logging in to your dashboard and sending out a blast of connection requests is not a good use of your time. And if you think blasting your current connections with your latest product, service, or event will make you instant friends, think again. These are typical forms of spamming which will lose you connections instead of gaining them.
2. Don’t use people just for introductions. When someone accepts your connection, get to know that person and their company before asking for introductions to others in their network. People are very protective of their networks and will pick and choose whom they allow access. If they refer you to their connection, and that introduction or meeting doesn’t go well, then THEIR reputation is at stake. Building relationships goes two ways for this exact reason.
3. Remember the Golden Rule: Treat others as you want to be treated. Follow your simple common sense: If you don’t want to be bombarded with connection requests and product offers or offers to join teams and you don’t know the person asking, why would you do those same things to others? Connect with others who have a common interest or whose companies compliment yours. A personalized connection request makes a big difference, too.
4. Allow time to build relationships and to build your network. Your network will NOT grow overnight, especially if you use spam tactics to connect with people. Think of networking as the “planting of seeds,” where you certainly talk about what you do and who you are but in a natural, organic, and authentic way instead of in sales mode. Over time your connections will remember what you do and if they like your style, they will readily refer people to you; but they need to know you better and that takes time.
5. Provide value to others. One way to showcase your expertise to your LinkedIn connections is to share consistently. Write articles, participate in groups, ask questions, and share about your mission and why it’s important to you. Educate your followers about what you do or the problems you can solve. Done consistently, this type of sharing will keep you in people’s minds and you just never know when they will be ready to hire you or send you a referral.
Networking on LinkedIn really boils down to common sense: Act professionally so you portray your business in the best possible light and be authentic in your interactions. Your ideal clients will be drawn to you once they get to know you as a person instead of as a salesperson.
Networking Tips: How to Find Leads on LinkedIn Naturally
With 260 million monthly active users, LinkedIn may seem like your pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Who wouldn’t want the opportunity to sell their product or services to 260 million people?
Let’s remember, however, that LinkedIn in NOT about sales: It’s about building connections and developing relationships with people who may (or may not) be interested in what you have to offer.
Here are some tips for networking naturally on LinkedIn so you don’t develop that pushy “used car salesman” reputation that make people want to run away:
1. Do your research first. Do some Google searches and peruse company websites to search for ideal clients instead of bombarding employees at that company for introductions. You may have a great track record helping Fortune 500 executives but spamming them with connection requests out of the blue won’t win you any favors.
2. Personalize your messages. When you finally decide on sending connection requests, don’t fall for the easy way out by using the LinkedIn sample text. That’s a perfect way to show your prospect that you have no idea who they are or what they do, so why would they want to connect with you? Instead, include a snippet of how you met. Did you hear them speak at a conference? Mention that. Were you introduced at a networking luncheon by a mutual friend? Say that. Prospective connections will pay more attention to your personal message than any automated, text template.
3. Ask for personal introductions. Stalking someone’s connection list on LinkedIn is a little creepy, especially if you cold call these people and say, “We’re mutual friends with Jamie Smith,” as the start of your conversation. Instead, ask Jamie Smith directly for an introduction. Remember, most people will only make introductions for those they actually know and who they trust, so make an effort to befriend Jamie Smith first before asking for those introductions.
4. Build the relationship first instead of going straight for the sale. Don’t be the person who accepts a new connection request and immediately sends a message with a sales pitch. Not only will that new connection cringe at the tackiness but they will likely tell others about your spammy tactic and you’ll have others hesitate or ignore your connection requests. Instead, send a “nice to meet you” message, thanking them for connecting. Publish consistently on your feed. Like valuable information they have posted on their own feed. Ask to meet in person if you’re local or if you’re attending the same conference. Show your new connection that you are interested in them and what they do.
5. Keep your profile up to date. New connections will most likely check your profile before joining your network or responding to your messages, so keep it up to date. Always post a current headshot; fill in your headline and description with power words so prospects know exactly what you do; and don't lie on your resume.
One note: There’s a huge difference between introducing yourself with your company name and what you have to offer versus introducing yourself with a hard core sales pitch. Craft your introduction carefully and you won’t be perceived as a tacky salesperson desperate to make a sale.
5 Things You Won't See Me Do on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is the premier social media platform for professionals in all industries. With over 260 million monthly users, you have quite a large base to develop new connections and build relationships with potential clients.
However, there are several LinkedIn “sins” which can haunt you and affect your credibility and reputation. Here are just a few things to avoid doing on LinkedIn:
1. Judge others for their choices. No matter what their choice – whether a prospect chose a different coach or chose a branding color palette that you don’t like – posting your negative opinions on LinkedIn serves no purpose. If your prospect chose another coach, ask them privately what influenced their decision. Feedback is useful, public shaming is not.
2. Start political arguments.Unless you’re an aspiring political strategist, politics don’t have any place in your business. You are most certainly entitled to your political opinions but save those debates for Facebook or Twitter. LinkedIn has the most professional atmosphere of any other platform and with today’s political climate, you will only scare away a large number of prospects if you start political arguments.
3. Add my network's email addresses to my list. Just because you have access to your connections’ email addresses via their LinkedIn profiles does NOT mean they give permission to add them to your email list. The same is true of any prospects you meet who give you business cards. Not only will these prospects mark your messages as spam, but this also goes against the CAN-SPAM Act, which requires permission to add people to your list. Add them to your inbox as a personal contact, NOT to your autoresponder.
4. Post personal photos or reminisce about college partying. Save these fun stories for less professional sites like Facebook or SnapChat. LinkedIn serves a professional purpose and those types of photos will give pause to anyone looking to hire a professional coach. We’ve all heard the stories of college graduates who lost job opportunities because of what they posted online. If it has the potential to harm your reputation or credibility, keep it offline.
5. Use others strictly for introductions or job opportunities. No one likes being used. Put yourself in that same situation, where your connections didn’t really care about you, they only cared about who you know. Instead of hitting up new connections immediately for introductions or job interviews, build a relationship first, then ask.
These examples are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what you should NOT do on LinkedIn. Across all the social media platforms you’ve probably seen plenty of tacky things that made your eyes roll. Use your common sense and think before you post on LinkedIn. How will your posts be perceived? These tips are not meant to discourage you from being your authentic self; they are instead meant to act as guidelines to maintaining your professional credibility so your ideal clients will find you and trust you.
5 Ways to Increase Your Credibility on LinkedIn and Attract Potential Leads
Since you’re not approaching LinkedIn with a sales approach mindset, you need to make every aspect of this platform work to your advantage in order to both attract prospective clients and then convince them that you are the expert they’ve been searching for. One way to achieve this is by showcasing your expertise in a natural, informative way which leads to increasing your credibility as an expert.
1. Create a personal LinkedIn URL. Don’t settle for a generic profile number that’s impossible to remember; leave those for less savvy people who aren’t as detail oriented. Create a personalized URL that represents your brand and is easy to remember. Put it on your business cards and in your email signatures.
2. Splurge on a professional photo shoot. Make your profile page work for you. At a minimum, get a professional headshot taken, preferably in a few different styles or poses so you can use them on multiple platforms. If you can afford a full-on photo shoot, choose the best shots and make good use of them in all your branded graphics, including your social media headers. Only less experienced and more frugal DIY types will use a blurry selfie for their LinkedIn headshot.
3. Brand your profile with a custom banner image. It’s the little details that count when it comes to optimizing your LinkedIn profile. As the saying goes, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” so hire a graphic designer to design your branded LinkedIn banner to clearly relay your message. No more DIY graphics; invest in your business.
4. Publish regular content. You need to be active on LinkedIn for people to recognize you and you need to publish informative content for people to remember you. It doesn’t need to be a 1,000-word manifesto; social media users have extremely short attention spans. Simply publish a Top 10 list or throw out some helpful daily tips. Record a 1-2 minute video series with these tips and you’ll get noticed faster, simply because few people use video on LinkedIn. Forget about the funny cat pictures or silly memes; this is a professional space so save those posts for less formal Facebook. The key points here are to post daily and to be informative in your content.
5. Be active in groups. Joining groups has a two-fold benefit: you will meet prospects and learn about their needs, and your prospects will see that you’re an active participant in your industry when they see your group listings on your profile. Being active doesn’t mean blasting your sales message on a daily basis; no doubt that will get you kicked out and banned from most groups. Instead, show a real interest in the other members, answer questions, take a poll to learn about their needs, or simply post information they need. Let the conversations flow naturally in your groups instead of worrying about sales or getting this prospect into your sales funnel. The more active you are, the more people will recognize your name.
Paying attention to small details on your profile can help build your credibility as will participating in groups and by publishing content on a regular basis. When people recognize your name as a regular, they will check out your profile and a possible business relationship can blossom from there.
5 Tips for Publishing the Right Content on LinkedIn
So you have a LinkedIn profile, now what? In addition to searching out viable connections (such as people you already know or have worked with in the past), publishing content should be at the top of your to-do list. Publishing the right content on your feed as well as in your groups will attract potential leads and increase your credibility and expertise.
One word of caution: Do not publish an article to your wall and then publish that same exact article to the twelve groups you belong to. That single activity will get your LinkedIn account frozen faster than you can sneeze. LinkedIn does not tolerate spammers so post your content carefully.
If you want to post both to your wall and to your groups (which is a smart strategy), either post on two different topics or rewrite one article so it covers the same topic but not with the same wording. An editorial calendar is helpful when it comes to planning your social media posts.
But if the words “publish content” scare you to death, here are a few tips to follow:
1. Know your audience and your industry. Publish information they can use. Are there big changes coming to your industry or new laws affecting your industry? Explain those changes in lay terms in a short article. Do you know what problems plague them? Offer daily action steps to help solve those problems.
2. Include photos for more engagement and interest. Photos used in articles should relate directly back to the main topic. Photos also help break up a large page of text, which can be intimidating for even the best readers to tackle online. Purchase photos legally from stock photos houses or use Unsplash.com for completely free photos. Never copy/paste from Google Images; that’s copyright infringement.
3. Ask questions and provide insight. Are there misconceptions about your industry or what you do? Clear these up in a simple Q&A article. Create a whole Q&A series with the questions you receive online as well as via email or your help desk. When you ask questions you may also discover a new pain point which you can then discuss or create a new product to address it.
4. Give people a behind-the-scenes look into your business and what it's like to work with you. This topic lends itself to a fun video series where you can address exactly what you do and who your ideal clients are. Don’t be afraid to clearly identify your ideal clients and let them qualify themselves to work with you. The worst thing is to sign on with someone who can’t afford your prices or who won’t do the work necessary.
5. Include a call to action on all your posts. What should your reader do next: Join your email list? Call you for a consult? Meet you at a local networking event? Gently guide your reader to the next step in your sales funnel. Relate the Call to Action to the topic of the post.
When in doubt about what to publish, consider outsourcing the content creation to an experienced freelancer. They will brainstorm ideas and help fill in your editorial calendar rather quickly as well as prepare your content so all you need to do is approve it and publish. Extend your knowledge and expertise to your audience with your content. You just never know how your content will affect someone or to whom they will pass along your articles.
5 Ways to Make the Right First Impression on LinkedIn
When it comes to using social media to market your business, choosing the correct platform can make or break your marketing efforts. LinkedIn is one of the premier social media platforms and it boasts a very professional atmosphere. While Facebook and Twitter are geared toward the more casual user, LinkedIn was specifically built for professionals in business.
LinkedIn allows users to build a network of contacts through direct introductions or posting helpful information on their own feeds and in groups. While relationship marketing requires effort on your part, you can also encourage others to network with you by putting forth a professional image. As the old saying goes, “You only have one time to make a good first impression,” and that one time often lasts only a few seconds while prospects look at your LinkedIn profile.
Let’s discuss ways to make that right first impression:
1. Create a professional-looking profile. Splurge on a professional headshot instead of a blurry selfie. Consider how you dress: do jeans and a t-shirt represent you well or should you dress in a suit or a business casual look? Fill out your LinkedIn resume completely with former job descriptions. Always use keywords in your profile descriptions; keywords accurately describe your experience but will also grab your profile when someone does a keyword search.
2. Ask for introductions. Instead of just spamming dozens of people a day in hopes of making a connection, ask others in your network to introduce you to decision makers you want to meet who you’ve identified as prospects. Your choice of introductions shouldn’t be random; instead, think of companies who can use your services and then check your network for connections to those companies.
3. Be a helpful resource in groups. LinkedIn groups are extremely helpful in connecting people with like interests but LinkedIn also protects its users from spammers. If you write an article but try to share it with multiple groups at the same time, you may be labeled a spammer inadvertently. Mix up your group interactions and become known as a helpful resource. Ask questions; answer questions; direct others to resources you have discovered.
4. Send thank you notes. Thank you notes are rare these days but it’s a simple act that will make you stand out from the crowd. Even a quick email thank you is better than none at all. Send one to your newest contact, especially if you have plans to meet in person, as well as the person who introduced you. A simple thank you will be remembered and may encourage those contacts to help you in the future.
5. Focus on relationship-building instead of selling. In the world of social media, nothing turns people off more than accepting a new connection and then getting a “like my page!” or “here’s my sales pitch” messages. To avoid being that annoying spammer, focus on building a relationship first by sending articles, videos, or case studies without any expectations. Go back to basics and learn how to converse again and interact with these contacts in a group setting. Let them see you as a person first instead of just a salesperson.
Done correctly, marketing on LinkedIn will showcase your expertise; done incorrectly, you’ll be seen as someone who’s just looking to make a buck or who doesn’t know the first thing about marketing. Be smart with your marketing efforts and watch your business grow.
4 Tips to Make the Right Connections on LinkedIn
Making the right connections on LinkedIn (or on any networking platform) should never be hit or miss. Don’t leave your marketing to chance; instead, know exactly who you’re serving, who you want to speak with, and what you have to offer.
1. Know your target audience. Finding the right connections starts first with knowing the intimate details about your target market. If you don’t know who you serve, how will you know when you find them? To begin, answer these questions: who, what, where, and why.
· WHO is your target audience? Know their demographics from their education, work experience, where they live, and if they are married and have a family.
· WHAT is their pain point or struggle? What do they need help solving? What can YOU offer to solve this problem?
· WHERE does your target audience hang out online? Which LinkedIn groups can you find them?
· WHY can you help them resolve their pain point? Why should they choose you over a competitor?
2. Share niche-specific content. Sharing content on LinkedIn is commonplace but crafting your content to speak specifically to your niche and their pain points will make you stand out.
· Create strong headlines with your niche-specific keywords.
· Address their particular struggle and offer some advice, a checklist, or a few action steps.
· Dig deep with your keywords; knowing your key demographics for your audience will help you find the right keyword descriptors that will entice them to read your content or to help them find you while searching LinkedIn.
3. Leverage in-person connections. Online networking should never replace real life networking, so when you meet people at a conference or networking event, feel free to send them a LinkedIn request.
· Jog their memory of how you met in a personal note, NOT a sales note.
· Certainly inform them of what you do and your company name but save the sales pitch for another time.
· Even if they are not prospects who can directly benefit from your services, you never know who THEY know who might be your perfect customer.
4. Ask for referrals or introductions. Which of these ideas do you think will get the best reception: you randomly send LinkedIn connection requests or you have a friend make a mutual introduction? Nine times out of ten, the personal introduction will get immediate attention whereas random requests will be forgotten. If you want to meet someone in particular or want to meet a contact at a particular company, simply talk to your current network, either personally or in groups. It never hurts to ask and the introduction may be easier to find than you expect.
Don’t be intimidated by LinkedIn marketing. Consistency is important for online networking so develop a plan which includes specific content sharing, groups to visit, and qualifying leads you want to meet. Once you formulate a plan, implementation becomes much easier and less time consuming. Consistency also shows these new connections that you are serious about your business instead of treating it like a passing hobby, so plan to visit LinkedIn daily.
What to Do on a Daily Basis to Attract New Clients on LinkedIn
As you probably know by now, consistency is vitally important for any of your marketing efforts but especially for LinkedIn. How many times have you noticed that someone is really active but then disappears for months at a time? Then, surprise surprise, they show up again but that’s short lived and within six weeks they are inactive again. What kind of feeling or impression does that impart, especially on an uber-professional platform like LinkedIn?
The easiest way to be consistent with any social media marketing is to create a plan: a checklist or action steps that you can implement every day. A simple way to remember all the things to check or do when you log in to make sure you’re covering all your bases. A daily action plan will help you remember everything but it also saves time and prevents you from staring at your computer screen, not having any thoughts as to what to share or how to contribute to the groups you’re in.
1. Check for any new Messages or Network Invitations. You are not required to accept new invitations, especially from people whom you have never met or had any interaction with. While some business owners think LinkedIn is a numbers’ game (the more connections you have, the better) others believe that the quality of your connections are more important than the volume of connections. The choice is yours.
2. Check Notifications. Here is where you’ll see birthdays, work anniversaries, or interesting content from your connections. Sending a personal note for birthdays and anniversaries is a nice touch to building that relationship and takes only a moment of your time.
3. Share some content. This is where a blank calendar grid or a planner comes in handy to plan your content sharing strategy. Content includes: articles, blog posts, videos, infographics, product graphics (such as eBook cover, webinar announcement, etc.), and so much more.
· Aim to create your own content and supplement that with curated content you find elsewhere that speaks to your point.
· Look at the calendar and plan for any holidays or seasons that affect your business or sales and create seasonal graphics.
Creating this list of content ahead of time allows you to have the prewritten content ready to just copy and paste when you log in to LinkedIn. If possible, outsource your content creation or block off time once or twice a week to create that content.
4. Visit and participate in Groups. LinkedIn allows you to mingle within the confines of certain groups. These can be special interest groups, groups where you’ll find others in your field (aka competitors), or they will be niche-related, where you can find your target audience.
Participating in groups shows your expertise to others and puts you in a small spotlight so people get to know about your specialty and services.
· Ask questions. Be a conversation starter.
· Give advice freely; don’t give away the whole premise of your signature class but you can offer bits and pieces safely to show that you know what you’re talking about.
· Post as yourself, not as your brand.
· Participate first before posting. Show the other members that you’re interested in them as people.
Your name will stay foremost in people’s minds if you provide value in every LinkedIn post and by staying active in your groups. Create a daily action plan that works for you and then put it into action. Engage your audience and provide value every time you post and you’ll soon see a growth in your connections and possible new sales.
How to Still Get Results from LinkedIn, Even When They Say “No”
Even after doing all your target market analysis and creating your client avatar, some people will still say NO to your products and services. The reasons are numerous – ranging anywhere from the price is not affordable to not understanding the benefits you’re offering – but these responses are not reasons to give up. Remember that any kind of business marketing, both online and in person, is not about the sale: it’s about building the relationship.
Relationship marketing is about just that: building a long-term relationship that fosters customer loyalty, interaction, and engagement. It’s not about a quick sale or adding new names to your prospect list. Right now, at the beginning of these relationships, it’s all about proving your worth and showing your expertise in a helpful way to gain trust from your audience.
I once heard a marketer ask, “Did you marry your spouse the moment you met them? Of course not, so don’t expect your prospects to buy your product the moment you meet them either.” That idea really stuck with me because we’ve heard time and again that prospects become customers when they know, like, and trust you. Hitting someone up with your sales pitch at a networking meeting eliminates the “getting to know you” phase and then you’ll always be remembered as desperate or uncouth.
Tip #1: Be seen. Networking is vital to spreading the word about your business. LinkedIn is a phenomenal place to start but being seen on social media means being active every day of the week. Post to your feed and in your groups; share about live events you’re attending; add a personal element to your posts by sharing a new-to-you vacation spot. No need to spend hours a day on LinkedIn but posting a minimum of 5 days a week is necessary.
Also remember to network in person. Attend business events in your community. Inquire about joining your local Chamber of Commerce, BNI chapter, or Toastmasters group. If it’s in your budget, sponsor a youth sports team or, at the very least, participate at local community day fairs by renting a booth and meeting your local neighbors.
Tip #2: Treat all your connections as gold. When you get to the point in your relationship that you’re asking for a meeting or a sale but the prospect says “No,” don’t take it as a personal affront and kick that connection off your list. Instead, get some feedback about why they said no and don’t be afraid to ask if they know of anyone in their circle who could use your service. This type of mutual friend introduction is much more welcoming than you randomly trying to connect blindly.
Also, you never know when your connection will change their mind and decide to hire you. It could be six months from now or two years from now but continued interaction on LinkedIn will keep your name front and center in their mind.
Tip #3: Be consistent. Consistency refers to posting to LinkedIn daily but it also means to keep your offerings updated and produce new content on a regular basis. Write a new article or record a new video for your LinkedIn feed on a weekly basis. Create checklists or short reports on a regular basis and hand offer them on your feed and in your groups. If your prospects and connections see the same old products or freebies on your site or in your feed, they will think you’re business is as stagnant as your offerings.
Hearing “no” is a disappointment but that doesn’t mean it will be a “no” forever. The timing of your offering for your prospect may not be right, plain and simple, so keep fostering that friendship/relationship and be ready when the prospect changes their mind.
6 Small but Powerful Ways to Get Noticed by Prospects on LinkedIn
LinkedIn was created in 2003 as a way to do business differently. It was founded as a business-related social network and has kept that reputation as the go-to place for business connections over these last 15 years. Not only can job seekers find hiring managers or decision-makers in their dream companies but business owners and sales executives can find prospects via LinkedIn as well.
Gone are the days when job seekers answer classified ads or send resumes blindly to large companies. Likewise, cold calling prospects usually don’t yield very good results in this technology age where the buzzword of the day is “relationship marketing.” Whether you want to get noticed on LinkedIn by hiring recruiters or by business prospects, LinkedIn is THE place to be seen.
But how exactly do you get “seen” in a sea of 260 million monthly active users? Let’s explore some simple ways:
1. Use keyword phrases wisely on your profile. Start by thinking about how your target audience would search for you. What are they looking for exactly? How do you want to be known? Use those keyword phrases throughout your profile where the LinkedIn search bots look, such as the Headline and Summary as well as the Experience and Skills sections.
2. Use a professional, friendly-looking headshot. No blurry selfies or brooding, artistic headshots. If you do make it to the top of a search, you’ll want to catch your prospect’s eye very quickly and a professional, happy headshot is the quickest way to do that.
3. Inject some creativity into your Headline and Summary. Still address your top skill or benefit your prospect will receive but add some flare to it. “Business Coach” certainly describes what you do but in a very general way. “Business Coach to the Fastest Growing Multi-million Dollar Companies” adds some more flare and immediately identifies who you want to work with.
4. Edit the details in your Summary. Like it or not, prospects will skim your profile instead of taking their time reading, so edit the important details into powerful sentences. No need for subtlety here; be straightforward and place the most important details first.
5. Be consistent with searching for connections. Business networking is never complete; it’s an ongoing process you should learn to love if you want your business to grow consistently. LinkedIn will only display your connections up to 500 but you can certainly connect with more people than that. You’ll find two different schools of thought when it comes to making connections. One side believes it’s vitally important to increase those numbers quickly because prospects want to see you – their coach – well-connected. The other side believes the smart way to connect is only with people you have met previously, thus creating a higher quality network of known names.
6. Be active and consistent. Don’t think of LinkedIn or networking as a one-time task or a “set it and forget it” process. Being active on LinkedIn means: creating content to share, joining relevant groups, and making comments on other people’s content. When you share content it displays to all your connections, thus informing them of your expertise and inviting them to make comments. Being active in groups means starting a conversation, asking a question, giving advice to others, and sharing content. If you are active and then disappear, it leaves a bad impression and your connections will start to question your dedication to your business.
LinkedIn is the premier source to connect with business owners and decision makers. Creating an optimized profile that looks professional is important but don’t just leave your networking to chance. Be active and show your expertise in your shared content and group interactions.