LinkedIn is considered the most effective social media platform for B2B lead generation, according to The Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to LinkedIn. The guide shows that 80% of social media B2B leads come from LinkedIn.
The guide also reveals that the platform has 61 million senior-level influencers, 40 million decision makers, and 6.8 million C-level executives from the more than 467 million professionals who are registered on LinkedIn.
Several local entrepreneurs and business experts have shared with SME South Africa how they use LinkedIn to build their networks, start conversations and track down prospects.
Here are 10 smart ways entrepreneurs make maximum use of their LinkedIn profile.
1. Customise your profile to attract your target customer
“Before you write your LinkedIn profile, create a description of your desired customer – that’s your Avatar. Describe that person in terms of their occupation, industry, location and importantly, their needs and challenges. Even go so far, as giving them a fictitious name. This will make it easier for you to write a LinkedIn profile targeted to your specific audience, showing your ideal prospects that you understand their problem and can help them to solve it.” – Shirley Anthony, an author, speaker and owner of Marketing Breakthroughs.
2. Build a killer profile
“Start your profile with a simple statement of what you do, expressed in terms of the value you offer prospective clients. Provide details of your experience in delivering your service. End your profile with a call to action which could be an email or website address via which they can contact you.” – Shirley Anthony, an author, speaker and owner of Marketing Breakthroughs.
3. Complete the work history on your profile
“This tells your story. Even if your previous employers are in different industries or you’re in different positions, it speaks to what you’ve achieved and your kind of background.” – Sakhile Ndlovu, a marketing and public relations professional, social media consultant and blogger.
4. Ask for recommendations and endorsements
“These are important because it’s not all about what you say about yourself, but what’s more important is what people are saying about you and your brand. If you’re struggling in that department, try recommending others first to encourage them to give you one in return.” – Sakhile Ndlovu, a marketing and public relations professional, social media consultant and blogger.
5. Use LinkedIn’s notifications to start conversations with prospects
“LinkedIn notifies you when any of your connections has a work anniversary or a birthday, achieves a promotion or there is a change of company. Just click on the Notifications tab located in the top right hand section of LinkedIn. You have the opportunity to congratulate your connection using a suggested message. Personalise this LinkedIn message as it will make the recipient feel special.” – Shirley Anthony, an author, speaker and owner of Marketing Breakthroughs.
6. Use LinkedIn to recruit great talent for your business
“Think of social media as your own personal talent pool of potential employees that are silently watching to see if your business is worth working for. Share videos, articles and photos of your business at work, celebrate the wins, share your successes and above all make sure people can see your bigger vision. People want for work for a company that stands for something bigger. Make sure that your dream is clearly articulated through social media channels.” – Mike Saunders, founder of DigitLab.
7. Position yourself as an expert
Write articles on your business topic or provide a case study based on a project you’ve undertaken, showing how you assisted your customer to achieve their goals. Share valuable curated content about your industry, on topics that your service focuses on.” – Shirley Anthony, an author, speaker and owner of Marketing Breakthroughs.
8. Build your network
“By commenting on posts related to your business niche, over time you can build a serious brand for yourself and your company. Start by searching for what is trending on LinkedIn. You can do this using a new feature called ‘What People Are Talking About Now’ which appears at the top right of your news feed.” – Marc Bromhall, co-founder of Contentellect and the South African country manager for the Growth Velocity Academy.
9. Assess your LinkedIn profile as well as your staff
“LinkedIn also enables business owners to present a professional image for their businesses. When last did you run an audit of your employees’ LinkedIn profiles? Oh, yes, you can do that without too much fuss. Have your marketing team look at each person’s public profile to see how they are aligned to their current role and your brand?” – Noleen Thompson, Managing Director of LadyBugz.
10. Make use of LinkedIn Slideshare
Savvy marketers are using slideshare as an optimal content marketing tool. They give away valuable learning resources for free in exchange for brand visibility.” – Marc Bromhall, co-founder of Contentellect and the South African country manager for the Growth Velocity Academy.