The shift towards a digital world has radically changed the way we do business. People establish contacts online and carry conversations on social platforms, thus opening new doors for the entrepreneurs who are constantly working to expand their businesses.
LinkedIn offers professionals an unparalleled advantage if they are willing to put in the effort and use it as a key business tool. While it may be difficult to keep abreast the rapid evolution and diversification of functionalities of the social network, in order to succeed it is essential to go beyond having a flat presence in the form of a resume-looking profile.
Read further to discover 4 ways of using LinkedIn and leverage the power of this professional social platform to maximize its capacity of driving business for your company.
1. Position yourself as a thought-leader in your industry
As an expert in your industry, you handle a massive amount of information. You surely keep yourself on top of the industry news and also get the pulse of the market through your daily activity – by framing customer needs, sensing how the industry evolves, or discovering new tactics that work remarkably well under the constantly evolving market conditions.
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Dispensing such information with your contacts on LinkedIn helps you be seen as a prominent thought-leader in your market. To reach your audience, there are a few actions at your fingertips that you can take right away:
When selecting what to share, ask yourself what would truly be valuable for your audience. The latest piece of news along with your opinion or invitation for opinion sharing can make a great update. Do you have an elaborated piece of content? Publish it in a long-form post and strive to generate additional comments to increase your visibility exponentially. By regularly providing valuable content, you can aim for your long-form posts to be featured in Pulse.
Tip: Easily access the long-form posts editor by clicking the pencil symbol in your updates field.
Being active in LinkedIn groups is also a good tactic for growing your image as a thought leader. Posting comments in existing discussions and even launching your own discussion thread can propel you as Top Contributor of the group.
Building an expert image will position your business as a referential for your market and open up doors for closing new deals.
2. Expand your network of contacts
As any social platform, LinkedIn lives through the power of networking. You should know that the dimension of your contacts network has a significant influence on the exposure you get. For example, your ranking in the search results of a 2nd-degree connection is higher than for a 3rd-degree connection.
Having a wide network of contacts on LinkedIn greatly benefits your business in various ways. You can request for a 1st degree contact to introduce you to a potential client, share an update about your company and instantly reach many people or easily connect with a prospect before moving the relationship offline. LinkedIn enables you to make a new 1st degree contact with the Requesting an Introduction feature, through which you can asked to be introduced to any of your 2nd degree connection by the 1st degree connections you have in common.
As LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman puts it, “your network is the people who want to help you, and you want to help them, and that’s really powerful.” To grow your business, keep this in mind and always test new ways to capitalize on the power of your network.
3. Leverage the power of groups
Groups are a fundamental element of the LinkedIn professional network. Members can join up to 50 groups based on shared interests or launch new ones if this serves their business goals.
Being part of groups not only facilitates communication with other group members, but it also exposes you to discussions that can benefit your professional experience or give you the chance to stand out as a thought-leader. So make sure that the content you’re sharing is valuable to other group members.
To truly benefit from the opportunity of being connected with other professionals through groups, first select the ones which you would like to join. Jamie Shanks from Sales For Life shares three criteria for choosing which groups you want to be into:
- Join industry specific groups;
- Join groups that your clients have joined;
- Join groups that your Buyer Persona is likely to join.
To decide if a specific groups is right for you, click the Information icon to the right of the join button and learn about its profile, rules of communication and statistics. Make sure that you follow-up on the general posting rules that usually entail avoiding spammy messages, blatant advertising or off-topic discussions.
A hidden benefit of joining groups is that you can directly message any member, regardless of your connection degree with that person. How’s that for facilitating communication with a potential client?
4. Engage your audience through your company page
The range of actions you can undertake on LinkedIn through your personal profile in order to grow your business is impressive. Along them, you can diversify your tactics through your Company Page.
Once the page is created, start using it as an extension of both your profile and the company website to share news, graphics or any other type of information to attract and delight followers. Remember to segment your follower base in order to target them with relevant updates.
To expand your reach, use LinkedIn paid services like Sponsored Updates or LinkedIn Ads. Maximize your results by choosing the right service: while Sponsored Company Updates are only run by company pages and appear appear in members’ homepage news feed just like any other updates, but marked with Sponsored, Ads have a standard format and can be placed on prominent LinkedIn pages.
While you can focus on a single type of action to grow your business through LinkedIn, building synergies among various tactics increases your results exponentially. As your time is limited, see what works best for you and go full speed ahead with that.