The Importance of a Marketing Strategy during COVID-19 and Beyond: Part 4
Leveraging LinkedIn to Get and Stay Connected
Get Caught Up
When LinkedIn first established itself as a platform back in 2003, many people viewed it as a job hunting and career advancement site. People who were seeking employment used LinkedIn to post their resumes, and businesses used it to seek new talent for their organizations. Although the original intent for LinkedIn was to create a site for seeking employment and filling positions, it has since evolved into much more. By using the website the right way, individuals and businesses can become engaged with like-minded business professionals and establish mutually beneficial relationships.
What Makes LinkedIn Different?
When it comes to developing a business development strategy, LinkedIn is superior to many other social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Although all of these sites can be great tools for business development, most social media sites tend to intersect more with users’ personal lives and interests. They are more centered toward family and friends, so these sites are frequently viewed as a source of entertainment. Meanwhile, LinkedIn has done a great job of remaining clean and professional through the years. Even those who try to make LinkedIn more personal will be quickly course-corrected by their peers, because the platform has become known as a knowledge sharing site that can engage others in business conversations.
Although it is still a great tool for job seeking and career advancement, LinkedIn has become a site that business professionals can use to help each other out. The platform makes it easier for professionals to reach like-minded individuals and businesses whose needs might be aligned with theirs. In addition to sharing employment opportunities, users can establish themselves as thought leaders by creating business conversations that generate better business results.
Strategies for Developing a Good Presence on LinkedIn
A quality presence on LinkedIn starts with your profile and how it is presented. People who view your LinkedIn profile generally aren’t interested in your job history or where you’ve worked. What they really want to know is what you’ve done to help others like them, so your profile should clearly communicate these capabilities. To start with, a profile photo is very important—based on its own research and algorithms, LinkedIn has determined that profiles with a photo receive 21 times more views than those without! A good LinkedIn presence has a human element that enables others to get to know as much about you and your capabilities as possible.
Your LinkedIn profile should also include a summary of how you help people and organizations. Rather than talking about yourself and your qualifications, you need to present yourself as someone who can deliver results to clients. A simple trick for doing this without overpromoting yourself is to remove as many pronouns as possible from your profile descriptor. Shift the focus away from “I” and “me” and turn it to the customer—what can the customer gain from your expertise? Focusing on how your capabilities can benefit the client helps demonstrate how you and your business can align with that customer’s areas of need. Be sure that your profile reflects everything that you would want a prospect or potential business partner to know about you.
It is also important to establish the right connections. Although some people believe that more is better, the real value of your LinkedIn profile lies in your ability to leverage the people you do know to establish mutually beneficial relationships. Before you connect with others or allow them to connect with you, try to determine what they are seeking. Is there something you can help them with or something they might be able to help you with? If so, it’s worth connecting even if you don’t know them personally.
Along these same lines, it’s also important not to reach out to new connections too soon. Resist the temptation to schedule a demo or meeting with someone who doesn’t know who you are. If you don’t take the time to establish a relationship, any attempts at connecting with seem disingenuous. Take the time to engage with your connections by sharing/commenting on their posts and learning about that they need. If you’re sending out a connection request, one good strategy is letting the person know why you want to connect with them. Develop a human connection rather than just building your contact list to develop an element of trust, then help people get to know you by becoming engaged. After all, engagement is what people are really ultimately seeking on LinkedIn! A good presence can also expose you to others who might not already be in your network, so develop a cadence and become an active participant.
The Bottom Line
LinkedIn now has over 675 million users, and about 61 million of these are senior-level influencers or decision-makers. Make sure that your comments and posts are communicating information that you’d want these decision-makers to hear, because this will help set you and your business apart from the competition. Leverage LinkedIn the way it is intended—as a tool that showcases how you can help others to drive engagement and foster trust.