11 Ways To Use LinkedIn For Business Development in 2019
LinkedIn may not be the largest overall social media platform but 20% of the 500MM+ users are senior level decision makers.
LInkedIn has massive potential for business development, lead generation, and free sales opportunities…
…which is why 91% of marketing executives call LinkedIn the #1 place to find quality content.
And while there is a captive audience of business decision makers watching content roll through their feed, there is surprisingly low level of competition utilizing LinkedIn for business development.
Here are 11 free ways to use LinkIn for business development in 2019.
#1 Grow your LinkedIn network by being personal
Many people use LinkedIn to “spray and pray” meaning they connect with as many people as possible and then hope that people will want to do business with them after seeing a lot of their sales-y LinkedIn posts.
LinkedIn is not the place for impersonal business tactics.
The business professionals who are using LinkedIn for free inbound business leads are doing it by being personal.
Start by personalizing your connection requests.
People like doing business with people they know.
You’ll not only get your requests accepted; you’ll also have more connections (who you may have never met in person) engage with your posts and comment on your activities.
When you build personal relationships on LinkedIn you’re more likely to find opportunities for natural business opportunities.
#2 Engage With Your LinkedIn Prospects’ Posts in a Friendly Way
If you have a specific list of prospects or an industry that you are targeting, LinkedIn is a great business development tool.
Email is saturated, phones ring with sales calls all day, but LinkedIn is still a platform that is very underutilized.
Engaging with prospects in a non salesy way builds relationships, develops trust, and shows that you’re looking for more than just customers.
It shows that you’re looking for actual human connection….
…which just so happens to make you stand out from the crowd when businesses are ready to purchase.
#3 Create Original Content and Drive LinkedIn Traffic To Your Site
Too many LinkedIn users share other people’s content and expect to bring attention, and business, to themselves.
You’re the expert in your industry.
Don’t share other people’s content, share your own.
Whether you’re writing articles on your own website that you link to LinkedIn or you write articles right on the LinkedIn platform, or you’re telling industry related stories in a LinkedIn post…
…make it your own.
There’s a time and a place to recognize the expertise of others, but it’s just as important to be showcasing your own expertise and authority, especially if you’re using LinkedIn with the goal of business development.
#4 Standout on LinkedIn with Video
Video isn’t new.
It isn’t novel.
Everybody has a video camera (or maybe 3 or 4).
But video still has extremely high impact on platforms like LinkedIn and most people don’t post original videos.
Here is why video has such a high impact on LinkedIn:
It allows users to consume your content without having to commit to going to your website like a traditional blog post.
It keeps users on LinkedIn which LinkedIn prefers so they will incentivize your video by showing it more often than a link that takes people off of their platform.
It forces users to engage with you as a human instead of a website. Text content isn’t very personal whereas video content creates a deeper human to human connection.
NOTE: We wrote a step-by-step guide to Doubling Your Leads in 30 Days. If you’re serious about generating leads online, this is the place to start. It’s the exact process we use to convert a massive number of leads for our clients.
#5 Use Less Than 10% Sales Messaging
Many industries use LinkedIn as a free advertising tool.
It may seem counterintuitive but you’ll actually bring in more free business if you use LinkedIn as a relationship building tool and NOT an advertising tool.
Yes, there’s a time and place for calls-to-action but they should be soft and they should be greatly outnumbered by non-sales messages.
Do you know why most people log in to LinkedIn?
It’s not because they wish they could see more sales messages.
It’s not because they want to see companies pushing their products down their throats.
They log in to LinkedIn because it’s a digital business cocktail party of sorts.
It’s a great place to tell stories, share mistakes and lessons learned, and celebrate what other people are doing.
You’ll be surprised that inbound sales opportunities will start coming to YOU when put connectable content BEFORE sales.
#6 Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile
In digital marketing, making contact with a potential vendor usually doesn’t exist until extensive online research has been done.
When decision makers need a business service, they’re turning to LinkedIn search.
Here are 4 things you need to optimize in your profile
- Your headline: When your name comes up in a search, your searchers see your name and headline. That’s it. No job experience, no recommendations, just your name and headline. Make sure it stands out and that it very clearly calls out your services.
- Your job title and experience: In terms of SEO, this is where LinkedIn is looking at your profile when you’re a candidate for a search appearance. Make sure your job title and experiences clearly list the business keywords that you want to rank for.
- Your summary: Do not waste this space. Use it to tell a story, a story of passion and expertise. Don’t get over business-y. Speak like you’re talking to someone at a business cocktail party and keep it personal.
- Your cover photo: Your photo should represent your business brand and personal brand. Bonus? Use a branded cover photo (the one behind your profile photo) to go even deeper into representing your brand.
#7 Use LinkedIn to Tell Stories
Micro-storytellers are dominating LinkedIn.
Look at the most viral content that scrolls through your feed.
With a 1,700 character maximum, short business related stories get a massive amount of engagement.
And the reason should be obvious…
At its core, business is about humans working together to solve problems together in a mutually beneficial way.
Anybody can tell stories.
Remarkable things happen to everybody, you just have to know where to look.
Here are a few ideas of stories you could tell in LinkedIn posts:
- A colleague who overcame challenges to get a promotion
- A client who came up with a new way to solve an old problem
- A mistake you made and what you learned from it
- Something that inspires you to work harder and become more
- A tip you recently learned that has helped you overcome a long term problem
#8 Be more human than business-y
I sat in a LinkedIn training recently that was facilitated by the LinkedIn team.
They continued to emphasize that the LinkedIn user base wants LinkedIn to be LESS formal not MORE formal.
Many people, though, can get intimidated to put themselves “out there” on LinkedIn because they don’t feel professional enough to seem credible.
But the opposite is actually true.
The people who drive the highest engagement and the posts that get the most shares are more human than business-y.
People go to LinkedIn more to connect with humans than to connect with businesses.
The ones who understand this have more connections, get more engagement, and drive more business.
People like doing business with people they know…
…and LinkedIn is high value platform for building business relationships at a personal level (even without meeting many of them in real life).
#9 Be more social than your competitors
In other words, win the LinkedIn participation award.
Anyone who is posting on LinkedIn cares about how many likes, comments, and shares they get.
Likes and comments are an easy way to put yourself in front of your prospects without even having to try to sell.
Every time you like, comment, and share content you do two things:
1.) You give a digital compliment to the person posting who is, in this case, a business customer or prospect and:
2.) Your comments, likes, and shares show up hundreds of times on the LinkedIn feed of all the users who are connected to that person.
And chances are, those people are potential customers as well.
You may notice that Facebook is a platform of very high engagement which means there are TONS of comments on the posts.
LinkedIn doesn’t enjoy that luxury; there is much lower engagement on most posts.
That means that it’s actually a lot easier to stand out on LinkedIn than on Facebook by being more social than your competitors and winning the participation award.
#10 Join industry related groups on LinkedIn
LinkedIn groups are close communities of like minded users. They exist around job titles like marketing or around industries like agriculture.
There tends to be a higher level of trust in closed groups.
Position yourself as a resource to give free tips and help other group members solve problems.
As you build relationships with group members, there may be opportunities to reach out to members to see if there are any ways you may be able to work together and generate new business.
#11 Share gated content
Users are on LinkedIn to connect with people and to get access to the most relevant and high impact business resources on the market.
Gated content is a resource, guide, checklist, or whitepaper that is available for free to users in exchange for an email address.
These pieces of gated content can be shared on personal pages, business pages, through videos, or LinkedIn groups.
These free pieces of content get people mentally committed to your organization and start to build familiarity, engagement, and trust.
Grow Your Business For Free on LinkedIn
There are many ways to use LinkedIn for business development, and those who are creative, personal, and work hard can earn free business on the platform.
It’s counterintuitive that those who are active and yet forgo hard sales on LinkedIn are actually the ones who bring in the most business.
Use these strategies, find what works for you, and adapt to the latest strategies as the platform grows and you’ll have a lot of success.
Tell us what you think
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