(This guest post is written by Curt Anderson, founder of B2Btail, author, and noted LinkedIn influencer.)
It’s not a question anymore whether you should be on LinkedIn, it’s now how you should be on LinkedIn.
Although you may feel comfortable with your current profile, are you truly maximizing your business opportunities on LinkedIn?
LinkedIn for B2B sales is a wonderful social networking platform for businesses. Unlike Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other teenage-angst filled platforms, LinkedIn was designed for business. The best part: It’s free.
That’s why I advise my peers to spend 1 hour per week on LinkedIn. At minimum. Seriously!
So what are you waiting for? Keep reading below to learn more about using LinkedIn for B2B marketing, and how these improvements can lead to better connections and potential sales.
LinkedIn for B2B Sales: Setting Profile Goals
It’s important to set some goals before diving into the profile creator on LinkedIn. Think about the purpose of your page and what you want visitors to notice -- and what you’d like them to do next. These goals will ultimately help you build an effective profile that lands new leads.
Make sure your individual goals align with these LinkedIn best practices:
- Create a profile that goes beyond a headshot and a job title
- Showcase experience and expertise
- Connect and engage with your target audience
- Develop and nurture business relationships
Create an Effective LinkedIn Business Profile
Creating an effective LinkedIn profile goes beyond having an up-to-date photo plus your current job description. In fact, an effective profile is always being updated.
When creating your LinkedIn business profile, look at it through the eyes of your customer. For a moment, pretend that B2B and B2C don’t exist, and instead everything is human-to-human. People do business with other people they know, like, and trust.
Your bio should say what you do and what problem your company solves -- not just your job title. Scratch beyond the surface level of what you do in your daily job role and describe the value you can bring the reader.
Showcase Experience & Expertise
There are many ways to showcase your experience and expertise other than simply uploading your resume to LinkedIn. And a good place to start is in the “Featured” section.
This section is a great place for you to provide examples and/or links to your work. This can include:
- News articles
- And much more
Make sure you’re delivering impactful and useful content in order to make the most of this.
Also, try and make your “About” section about more than just yourself. This is found directly above your “Featured” section and will help create the transition between the two.
How could you possibly write a bio that’s not all about you? I know it sounds crazy. Instead, talk about how your job helps other businesses reach their goals, or the way that you help your own business reach its goals. Either way, no company is visiting your profile to learn about your third-place finish in a fifth-grade wrestling tournament.
Connect & Engage With Your Target Audience
The best thing that can happen on LinkedIn is for someone to visit your profile and immediately take interest in your solution. One of the best ways to aim for this is by including a unique and relevant banner.
A banner is the image that goes behind your main profile picture. It’s used to help further define you and your job role, and can leave a lasting impression on anyone visiting your profile. Videos are also a great way to keep someone interested.
As for engaging your target audience, never forget about LinkedIn referrals.
Referrals help bridge the gap between employer and employee, and LinkedIn can help make this process easier. Have you ever heard the phrase “It’s not what you know, but who you know?” Well, this is the entire concept that LinkedIn referrals is built on.
Your goal should be to give referrals, not get them. The good karma will come back later. This helps make you a trusted member of the LinkedIn community and make you look like a leader and all-around good guy or gal.
Develop & Nurture Business Relationships
Once you’ve made a new valuable contact with a business, it’s important to work on nurturing this relationship. Just because you and the company have nothing to gain from one another at the moment doesn’t mean you won’t need each other down the road.
A great way to do this is by sharing third-party content that is relevant to your connections. This third-party content could even come from one of those connections -- a nice way to score brownie points. Either way, it’s your responsibility to keep your profile updated and looking expert-level at all times.
Give LinkedIn a Try
If you haven’t already, it’s time to start treating LinkedIn as a legitimate sales tool.
There’s an ocean of opportunity that exists on this platform, and your chances of connecting with someone else in your industry are typically much higher than on other social networking platforms. Who knows where and who these connections could lead?
Here’s my challenge to you:
- Spend 1 hour per week on LinkedIn.
- Make 5-10 connections per day
- Write one post per week
- Leave five valuable comments on others’ posts each week
There’s always something more you can do, and by following the goals listed above, you may find yourself making an abundance of new connections every time you log on.
If you want to learn more about generating leads in the B2B market, then download this free e-book:
(Curt Anderson leads e-commerce webinars every Friday at 1:30 EST. You can find him on LinkedIn here.)