Sunday, June 16, 2013

Using LinkedIn to Generate More Business

LinkedIn is a fantastic network for those looking to grow their business, boost their visibility, and grow their professional contact list, finding new leads, snagging more business and so much more. Check out the following stats to see why LinkedIn is such a great social network when it comes to growing your business:.
  • LinkedIn users are affluent: Over half the users on LinkedIn  earn more than $60K per year and over a third earn more than $100K
  • LinkedIn users are educated: Nearly half have a college degree and over a quarter have a graduate degree.
  • LinkedIn users love the site: Nearly a quarter of the users are on the site a minimum of 30 times per month.
LinkedIn is definitely something that you should incorporate into your marketing strategy to help grow your business by boosting visibility and reputation while getting more leads and finding new contacts. Here are a few tips to help you on your journey to generating more business with LinkedIn.

Have a Complete, Optimized Profile

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John Owens -

It's important to be found if you want to start using LinkedIn to generate business, and the best way to make sure you are found by prospective clients as well as colleagues and friends is to make sure you complete your profile fully and optimize it.

Make sure that you include your previous job and education history as well as uploading a professional photograph of yourself. You should also start thinking about what keywords your ideal clients would be searching for to find the service or product you're offering. 

Have a Compelling Headline

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It's not enough for you to be found in the search results. You'll show up along with other people in the search, so you need to find a way to distinguish yourself from the other results. The best way to do this is by writing a compelling headline that will get a user to click-through to your profile.

The best way of writing a headline that's effective is to come up with one or two keywords for SEO purposes and use them to create an attention-grabbing statement. For example, if you're offering a service in a local area, then you should think about including that location as your keyword within your headline.

Give People a Reason to Take Action
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With people finding your profile and clicking through, it's now important that your profile compels the user to take action, whatever that may be. The first section that a LinkedIn user will see is your Summary section. (You should make sure your Summary section has relevant keywords dispersed in to increase the number of people who find you).

The summary section should be focused on the client and what you can do for them instead of focusing on yourself and your past achievements. This may seem counterintuitive to what you may think about how to use  LinkedIn, but as a business-building tool (we are not looking at job seekers), people are looking at what you can do for them, which is why you want your summary to be client focused. 
With this in mind, be sure your profile speaks directly to your ideal clients. Begin your Summary section with a paragraph about who you are, share some of your story and position your credibility. The rest must speak to your specific target market, who they are, what their problems are and of course what solutions you provide.

Grow Your Network
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In addition to being found in search, it's important to grow your network, as you'll be found more easily if you are in someone's first, second or third level network or are a member of the same group. One good way of growing your network is by posing and answering questions that are relevant to your field in the LinkedIn Answers Section, which will allow you to make new connections and establish your expertise at the same time. 

Groups are another great way to grow your network by connecting with like-minded people. Instead of joining every group that's related to your niche or expertise, you should find groups that have members who are active and engaged. Make sure to join conversations, adding your own viewpoint or expertise when appropriate or create your own conversation as a way to help others. 

Follow Up with New Connections

Make sure that you take the time to follow up with any new connections who have taken the effort to reach out to you as well as the the ones you’ve reached out to and requested to connect with.
Send a welcome message after someone accepts your connection request or sends you a connection request. Thank them for connecting with you and if you can, offer them something of value, to help lay down a solid foundation which will allow you to generate additional business.
Stay connected to your networkreach out to them regularlyadd value for them and move the relationship forward. This means whenever possible, move the relationship offline and have a telephone call or an email. You’d be surprised at how much business still happens the old-fashioned way!

The power of LinkedIn is in the network. Therefore, the more involved your contacts are in LinkedIn, the more powerful a tool it becomes.
Iconic Mind is an IT consulting firm, based in Maryland, that works with clients so that they can make the best use of technology while focusing on data security and network accessibility. Connect with Iconic Mind on LinkedIn or on Twitter.

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