The culture of LinkedIn has changed dramatically for its users over the past couple of years. Once, only seen as a network to publish your CV, LinkedIn has developed in recent years to be the main social platform for business networking.
As well as networking, LinkedIn is a great platform to build relationships, to build business and acquire leads. In fact if you pay for the privilege of using LinkedIn and subscribe to one of its paid for options, such as Sales Navigator, LinkedIn’s own algorithms will suggest leads for you.
But even if you have a free account, there’s lots you can do to acquire leads.
Build Your Network
Don’t be afraid to build your network of useful contacts and leads that will help you build business. Use LinkedIn as a live version of your business card collection. When you meet or email people, connect to them on LinkedIn.
Use LinkedIn’s search functions to seek out relevant potential connections and use introductions from your network to new people where you can, but also don’t be afraid to connect people you don’t know. Providing you don’t sell through your connection request, most people will connect back to you.
The millions of LinkedIn groups might also be a great place to research leads and invite them to connect to you. However, my personal experience of groups is that currently they are going through huge changes and some incredibly active groups are seeing fewer and fewer discussions and engagement on posts.
Build Your Reputation
First and foremost, LinkedIn is a social network. Being social, interacting with posts on your timeline, commenting on your connections publisher articles plus posting and publishing useful information for your network all helps to build your reputation.
At the end of the day, people buy from people they trust. What are you sharing that is building trust in your organisation, skills and abilities?
Build Your Relationships
It’s important to nurture and build relationships amongst your LinkedIn connections. When you accept a connection request from someone and they then immediately inbox you a sales pitch you switch off.
Keep it social people, don’t sell too fast too soon:
- Build relationships
- Seek to understand rather than be understood
- Get to know who you’re connecting to
- Play the long game
Build Your Leads
LinkedIn has some great tools to help you keep track of your network. For each of your connections, you can add information about them which only you can see. This currently includes adding a note, setting a reminder, or even tagging them. So for any contact you can add additional information on that connection, remind yourself to contact them within a month for example and also add them to a list which could be tagged “Leads May 2016”. Only you can see this data for each of your connections.
However, LinkedIn changes its functionality on a fairly regular basis. One function which allowed users to add notes on how they met the contact disappeared earlier this year along with all the data.
While it is still available, I’d certainly recommend exporting your contacts on a regular basis, so you have back-up data on who you’re connected to. You’ll find this feature in your connections section. You could also feed this data into your database or CRM system.
Have you had experience of successfully acquiring leads for your business through LinkedIn? Let us know what worked for you we’d love to hear from you.