As social networks drive ever higher percentages of B2B sales, LinkedIn has become an essential platform for any successful sales and marketing strategy. Learn how to boost web traffic, increase sales, and reinforce your brand’s image through insightful contributions to the international community, and the construction of a compelling business profile.
Set your brand on the international stage with a compelling LinkedIn profile
Whether your 2017 resolution is to expand your professional network, explore international sales opportunities, or simply improve your web presence, LinkedIn is the place to start. With around two professionals joining the LinkedIn network every second, this rapidly expanding community is a vibrant hub of professional communication and a useful platform for showcasing your brand.
Of course, whilst access to an international network of this scale allows you to broaden the scope of your marketing significantly, finding the correct audiences amongst more than 467 million members can seem a formidable challenge. Fortunately, with a few top tips on managing your profile and engaging with your network, you can effectively target those individuals most relevant to your business.
This, in turn, will enable you to transform your profile into a burgeoning success, using your interactions within the network to drive sales, expand your professional portfolio, and strengthen your brand’s overall image.
Creating a compelling profile is the first step towards success on any social network. It is the first point of contact you have with new connections, so it is vital to make it stand out. Check thoroughly for errors in spelling or syntax, and be clear and concise about your current roles, past experience, and opportunities you are currently seeking. Do not be afraid to quantify these details; being able to provide specifics adds credibility to your profile, and demonstrates your knowledge of the industry.
With this in place, you can begin expanding your network. However, while it may be tempting to connect with everyone you know, just to get the numbers up, your initial contacts should primarily be those within industries relevant to your brand, and moreover, individuals you believe will be willing to introduce you to their connections.
Keep your profile alive to strengthen relationships
The long-term goal is to end up with relationships and insight into a much larger network of professional contacts or collaborators. To achieve this you will need to build your reputation and trust with these individuals through your general activity across the site.
Log in and check updates in your feed to keep track of developments amongst your contacts, and post daily to increase your visibility. Even if connections do not read everything you post, they will begin to recognise your name by seeing it regularly. In addition, you should visit profiles of industry members and other potential connections, as you are not the only one that pays attention to who has visited their profile.
There is even software available to automate this process. Programmes such as SearchQuant allow you to select specific demographics and then automatically visit hundreds of profiles each week within your chosen audience. Not many people can resist the urge to find out who has been viewing their profile, so this is an easy way to encourage others to visit your page, which in turn identifies them to you as someone who may be interested in your services.
Get the most out of groups
According to an IDC social buying study on B2B trends, roughly half of all B2B buyers surveyed refer to LinkedIn when making decisions on purchases, and over 75 percent felt more confident in accepting recommendations from those within their professional network. This highlights the value of forming strong connections and engaging in discussion.
You can further reinforce this by sharing and commenting on posts where appropriate, and joining groups relevant to your industry. The benefit here is the ability to engage extensively with those outside your network. Your insights and contributions to the group increase your credibility and may lead others to consider you as an authority in your field.
Valuable contributions within groups also allow other members to gauge whether they could benefit from connecting with you, which drives click throughs to your profile, and from there to your professional website or sales platform.
Connect the dots for a healthy web presence
LinkedIn’s features make it possible to conduct a significant amount of your business via the site itself, but you should also use your profile to boost traffic to your website, and vice versa.
There are a range of handy plugins available incorporating various features from LinkedIn. These include links to your company or member profile, buttons for sharing your web content to LinkedIn, and plugins for sharing the profiles of other companies which may be of interest to visitors to your website.
The primary advantage of these tools is that they facilitate contact with your business. The simpler it is for people to get in touch, the more likely they are to do so. These simple quality of life adjustments cast a positive light on your brand, ultimately boosting sales by virtue of the professional image they present.
LinkedIn Premium: the pros and cons
Finally, while the bulk of LinkedIn’s features are free to use, you can further strengthen your marketing strategy by investing in paid services, such as LinkedIn Advertising, Sponsored Content or a trying out the benefits of a Premium profile.
The fees for this vary depending on your needs. For example, if you are actively recruiting, the increased search functionality of the Business Plus plan may be useful. However, to take advantage of the site’s Sales Navigator plan, a comprehensive platform for identifying and pursuing sales leads, the price tag is significantly higher.
The Lead Builder tool can be tricky to master, which in turn can devalue the lead recommendations offered as part of this tier of membership. Nevertheless, if you are willing to devote the time to refining your searches and developing an effective system for targeting your Lead Builder interactions, it can be a very powerful tool. Features include connection maps, post notifications, and the ability to filter your feeds in order to quickly identify trends across your industry.
From the ground upwards
Ultimately, there is huge potential within LinkedIn both for jump starting a new project, or expanding an existing business. You can benefit significantly from the free features of the site, so unless you know what you want from the premium features, you may want to master the basics first.
Even so, developing a long-term plan to incorporate paid services into your social media sales strategy is a smart move, as it enables you to budget effectively for the future. With a sound strategy in place, you can be ready to take advantage of the sites’ extensive marketing opportunities in line with the evolution of your business.