Previously, we shared our tips for making the most of your LinkedIn profiles - both personal and company pages - in order to take advantage of all that LinkedIn has to offer. Now that those are spruced up and full of the skills, endorsements, products, and reviews you want viewable to your audience, you're ready to dive in to the next stage of LinkedIn: networking!
In Gremln’s second installment of becoming a LinkedIn “Super User” we’re sharing tips for expanding your business leads, getting involved with and creating groups, reading and sharing industry news, and using all these features to help you network with the best of 'em.
Find New Leads
LinkedIn is a great place to find leads for your business. With more than 1.5 million groups, you’re sure to find a few connected to what you (and your company) do. Spend some time researching groups that relate to your business, reading posts that have done well in the past, and learning about the group members. Your research will save you time in the future when you share with the group, as you’ll have an idea of who to cater your message to and what sort of language garners the best response.
So how do you find these groups?
LinkedIn recently vamped up its search features, making it even easier to find your niche. Start typing a keyword that applies to your business, and see what pops up. Here’s an example – we started typing “Financial” and got the following suggested companies, groups, features, and skills:
Not a fan of what this snapshot offers? Just hit “enter” and you’ll be directed to a full page of search results. Or, let LinkedIn do some of the searching for you and select the “Groups You May Like” option. This will result in groups that might make sense for you based on your profile.
If you’d like to discuss a niche topic that you don’t feel is adequately represented, you can create a group of your own. Share it with the rest of your social networks, invite relevant LinkedIn connections to join the group, and remember to talk about it when you are networking or presenting to new people.
Once you’ve joined a few groups, take a look at the recent conversation topics. Share your comments where applicable, like posts that you find interesting and engaging, and take a look at who is sharing what. If you’ve got a company or personal blog that might prove useful to the members of the group, this is a great place to share your work. When you’re sharing your link, include a call to action to help entice people to share their thoughts. When someone does comment, be sure to respond! Blindly posting and then leaving the group alone will not endear you to your new potential customers.
If you’re attending a conference, presenting to a group, or just meeting with new potential clients and industry professionals – ask your audience to connect with you. Print your LinkedIn profile link or company profile on your business cards, include it in your email signature, and mention it in person.
Perhaps you're considering reaching out to an old colleague or an industry leader you recently met at a networking cocktail party. You find their profile on LinkedIn, and click to connect with them. You see the following screen:
Before you click the bubble and click "send invitation" consider personalizing the note. The more effort you put in to showing how important it is to you to reconnect, how lovely it was to meet the person, or including a personal anecdote that relates to your wanting to reach out, the more memorable you will be to that person.
Use LinkedIn Contacts to incorporate contacts from your email correspondence, calendar entries, phone addresses for reminders and suggestions for how to reconnect. Heading to a new city for business? LinkedIn Contacts will let you know who in your network lives in that city – the perfect opportunity to reach out and reconnect with them!
If you’d like to congratulate a colleague, share an article with someone you are connected with, or tag a collaborator in some work you’re presenting on LinkedIn, the mention feature is a great way to do this. Of course, maintaining a professional demeanor when using any of LinkedIn’s features is of utmost importance – so use your mentions responsibly.
Survey groups and other industry professionals for issues they’re currently dealing with; you could find new solutions to provide with your company, or share elements of your business that could help them.
Checking out the LinkedIn news feed for stories relating to your profession could provide you with content to share on your other social networks. Perhaps you’ve just read an article you find particularly helpful – if you tweet your opinion on the piece, or share it with your Facebook network, you could spark a conversation or alert a potential client to your line of work and expertise.
LinkedIn has recently revamped its “LinkedIn Today” feature, which allows you to customize your news feed by following Channels for topics and influencers that matter most to you. You can select five topics and five influencers that you can automatically set to follow, and browse through all the channels or influences LinkedIn offers if you’d like to change your specifications.
Now that you've learned how to professionally prep your profiles and dive into groups and conversations, you're ready to get networking with your LinkedIn connections! Stay tuned for Part 3, where we discuss advertising and recruiting to further spread your company's reach.
What are your top tips for getting new leads and networking on LinkedIn?