LinkedIn is the most extensive professional network with more than 500 million active members. It offers several advantages for business development, sales lead generation and expanding business relationships.
ONE: Discover quality prospects and connect with them.
A famous study was done in 1967 by Stanley Milgram and Jeffrey Travers, known as the small world problem. It showed that we could be acquaintances with strangers on the other side of the world with six degrees of separation.
So, when you think about your friends’ friends and their friends, in turn, there could be a wealth of business connections potential. The challenge is, you don’t know what you don’t know: who are those people, and how they might be connected to your immediate network.
LinkedIn can help you with this: the LinkedIn Sales Navigator search allows you to customize search criteria to your specific objectives and provides search results with detailed contact info. Now, you know who they are. It is much more reliable than a third-party contacts list.
LinkedIn also shows whether an individual is a 2nd or 3rd-degree connection and who forms links to them starting from your immediate network. It allows you to pinpoint the potential prospects precisely.
- First-degree connections: you have already connected with them on LinkedIn. You can send direct messages to these contacts.
- Second-degree connections: people directly connected to your 1st-degree contacts.
- Third-degree connections: these are people who are directly linked to your 2nd-degree relationships.
For 2nd and 3rd degree connections, you can use introductions or use LinkedIn’s InMail messaging capabilities.
LinkedIn Sales Navigator provides a much higher bang for the buck you invest in sales prospecting.
TWO: Keep up with your business contacts.
Your professional network is continually evolving with individuals transitioning to new opportunities and companies. Your LinkedIn connections keep up with it, always being able to tap into professional relationships you might have developed over time.
It is much easier than maintaining email addresses and business cards.
THREE: Endorsements, Conversations, Referrals, Friendships, Brand Credibility
With virtually limitless power at their fingertips, people’s behavior has shifted to find answers online rather than asking a friend. In this respect, cultivating your online credibility is critical.
You can tap into LinkedIn for this in several ways:
- Get endorsements and testimonials from customers, managers, colleagues, and business partners.
- Look for groups discussing ideas, challenges, and questions that might interest you or your target prospects. Join those groups and be a credible resource: it can help you cultivate credibility and relationships that can bring returns rest of your career. LinkedIn effectively educates potential clients: share insights about your products and services, other thought leadership articles, or ideas from your other creative outlets.Start your group, answer questions from customers: this can help you foster customer satisfaction and the potential of word-of-mouth. Twitter can be an empowering tool coupled with this to cultivate a customer experience/service channel.
- Create a LinkedIn business page: develop a living, breathing ecosystem using it. Linkage with employees on this page brings immediate credibility and authenticity. Get customers, prospects, business partners, friends to follow your business page. You can use it to publish career opportunities and attract talent.
- LinkedIn allows you to include links to the landing pages on your company website: this can be used to engage further with your prospects. With a straightforward remarketing tag (a tiny piece of code) integrated with your web analytics, you can understand the prospects’ behavior that started engagement on LinkedIn.
- You also may need social proof that clients and potential customers recommend your business; hence do not forget to include the “recommend with the LinkedIn button” on your site. Additionally, you can check out the ‘share on LinkedIn’ plugin to enable visitors to share your website content.
- Advertising: Coupled with remarketing, you can cultivate fully customized advertising campaigns on LinkedIn, search engines, and other social media outlets such as Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.
When you combine and seamlessly integrate different options to leverage LinkedIn, it can become a powerful channel to reinforce your company culture and brand credibility.
FOUR: Market Research, Competitive Analysis
LinkedIn has rich search functionality. Following a screen-shot from a search using a specific topic: #InteriorArchitecture
The column on the left shows different posts on LinkedIn: click on any of them, and see more details on it on the right: the right column shows more options to refine the search to an industry, a company, etc.
The LinkedIn search brings a wealth of information about potential market segments, the activity of competitors, etc.
The LinkedIn business page has a wealth of information about the profile views:
To see how your page is performing relative to competitors, check the Companies to Track table. This section lets you compare where your page ranks when it comes to total followers and new followers. You can also see how many updates each page posts over a selected period and the overall engagement rate.
Competitive intelligence using LinkedIn: