LinkedIn may be the single-most important and underutilized sales and business development tool for B2B sales & marketing professionals. The opportunities to engage and grow your business are seemingly endless (and mostly untapped), but you can get started by focusing on just five things. Take an hour today and accelerate your ROI from LinkedIn with the following focus areas:
1. Your Profile
The headline (underneath your name) doesn’t have to be your title. This is the first thing people will see, after your name, that describes what you do. Do you really want to be a “marketing manager” or should people consider you an “aerospace manufacturing expert”?
Treat your summary (the area before your resume) as an elevator pitch. Why should people be interested in you? What keywords and phrases would prospective customers, partners and others use to find you?
The more complete your profile, the more likely interested people will find you and engage.
2. Your Network
Outlook is great for collecting contact, but it’s passive. It doesn’t do anything. It just sits there. Take your professional network and put it in LinkedIn, and all of a sudden you’re accessible, actionable and one-click away from countless more potential contacts. If your contact’s connections do a search for a particular topic, their search results are ordered based on proximity to their connections. That means the more people you’re connected to on LinkedIn, the easier you are to find by their network.
As an example of the reach you can achieve, I’m currently connected to approximately 3,000 people directly. Those 3,000 people have direct networks representing more than 950,000 more people. That’s powerful reach.
3. Your Updates
When you change anything in your profile, it will show up in your updates. But what about interesting articles you come across? Company updates or press releases? Blog posts that you publish? Every time you post an “update” to your profile, it appears in the home page “newsfeed” of your connections, and appears in their daily or weekly “Daily Digest” emails. That’s like getting your content into an already opted-in newsletter on a regular basis. Why wouldn’t you take advantage of that opportunity?
4. Your Prospects
Do a search for keywords your customers would talk about. You’ll find prospects. Do a search for keywords related to your customer’s primary pain points. You’ll find prospects. Search for mentions of your competitors. You’ll find prospects.
Invest in a subscription to LinkedIn Pro. Sending cold emails gets you a .5% response rate, at best. LinkedIn’s “In Mail” get about a 40% response rate, and it’s guaranteed. If the prospect doesn’t respond in a week, they give you another chance with another prospect.
Your emails may get caught in a spam filter, but LinkedIn emails get through.
5. Your Daily Digest
Get it daily, and make a point of reading it every day. Pay attention to when your customers, prospects and partners change titles, jobs, companies, or just update something in their profile. Each of these are opportunities to engage, even at a superficial level. Your job is to be in front of people more often with value.
Be the first to congratulate them in a promotion, or comment on their own update or blog post. Show that you’re paying attention, and be one of the few (or the very first) to notice. It makes you stand out.
There’s more you can do with LinkedIn, of course. Engage in LinkedIn Answers, join and participate in LinkedIn Groups, and so forth. But like most things, making a small but strategic investment will give you a ton of value.