LinkedIn used to have a reputation of housing recent college graduates begging for a job. But now, businesses have noticed it has evolved into a networking empire where leaders in all industries are engaging in world-changing conversations.
Many companies and individuals have noticed this and signed up for LinkedIn, but simply having a profile is not going to get the job done.
The truth is, there's an art to truly making the most out of the platform for networking -- and it's simpler to do than you think.
The Power of LinkedIn for B2B Networking
There are tons of statistics out there, but one remains constant across sources: LinkedIn is the number one platform for B2B lead generation.
This is because in the B2B realm, it has a 277% higher visitor to lead conversion rate than both Facebook and Twitter.
What’s the secret to LinkedIn’s incredible conversion rate? It’s a platform based entirely around professional networking. It’s an exercise in building trust and rapport between professionals - the biggest factor in choosing a vendor.
So how do you get those results for yourself?
4 Steps to Use LinkedIn for B2B Networking
It's as simple as...
- Sign Up
Keep reading for more on how to make the most of each step 👇
Step 1: Sign Up!
(Proceed to Step 2 if you already have an account.)
If you just create a profile and don’t add a photo or your job title, nobody will know who you are or what you do. Try to do as many of these as possible:
- Make your headline catchy
- Include keywords in your summary and throughout your profile
- Use images and other media in your profile
- Use detail
- Customize your profile URL
- Join groups relevant to your industry and services
- Please, please add a profile picture. No one likes to connect with a faceless mystery profile.
While you're doing this, create a company page as well. Fill out as much information as possible for both you and your company profile.
Neil Patel offers great insight on how to separate yourself from a job seeker. CEOs want to connect with other CEOs, so make sure you include your company and position in your title for potential connections to see.
Step 2: Connect!
The next step is to connection. Don’t be the guy who sits in the corner and watches everyone else mingle. Connect with people you know, people in your industry, and even potential customers.
Connections are compounding. When you’re connected with one person, you also have indirect ties to their entire network. Building strong, lasting relationships brings even more strong, lasting relationships.
When you send a connect request to someone you’ve never met, always personalize the message and let them know why you're reaching out. Are your industries aligned? Are you interested in the articles they share? Can you help them in any way? Remember not to make this a giant sales pitch, but provide context as to why you wish to connect.
It's also great to get in the habit of connecting with leads from trade shows, conferences, and other industry events. Interspersing social selling into your sales follow up process helps the lead feel less bombarded, and LinkedIn is a great place to do that.
Step 3: Engage!
Some easy ways to engage with other professionals:
- Like other people’s posts
- Share other people’s posts
- Comment on other people’s posts
- Give endorsements
- Give recommendations
- Compliment others on news, milestones, anniversaries
- Answer questions in groups (as yourself, not a mouthpiece for your business)
- Ask questions in groups
The goal is to connect with your best buyers. Actually make the effort to connect. We can all sniff out marketing messages and intentions to sell. That’s the single biggest turnoff for any prospect.
Step 4: Publish!
You can publish articles, comment on or share someone else’s article, and start discussions in various groups. These are all ways to answer prospects’ questions, or point them in the direction of new opportunities.
As you do this more, your name becomes familiar to your LinkedIn communities. Familiarity breeds trust and rapport.
Don't be afraid to leverage and utilize videos. The businesses with the best engagement are doing so, and it's a great way to stand out over your competitors. Share product demonstration videos, educational how-to videos, and even short talking head videos that offer value to your connections.
If you're stuck on what to post, explore the relevant hashtags that other thought leaders in your industry are using when posting content. For more on utilizing hashtags for LinkedIn, check out our complete guide here.
Consistency Is Key
If you’re just going to do it for a month or two and forget it, don’t even bother. Like other marketing outlets, LinkedIn is a compounding strategy that brings more results the longer you do it.
Be consistent, be thorough, be helpful, and you will be successful.
Your content has a lot to do with whether you fail or fly with social media. Check out our brand awareness guide for other ways to get your company name out there, both on and off social media:
Editor's Note: This blog post was published on January 27, 2017 and was updated on July 17, 2019 to reflect more recent information.