Thanks to colossal technological advances, networking for businesses is now largely digital. Using LinkedIn for business development is more relevant now than ever before. Why? LinkedIn, used by over 450 million business professionals is the most professional of the major social networking websites and the top-rated for lead generation.
You may not have guessed but it happens to be responsible for more than 80% of a business’s social media leads. With over 562 million users, LinkedIn is all about building connections and networks. Its ability to tap into already existing connections and let your business progress through word of mouth only makes it indispensable when it comes to the perfect marketing strategy.
However, a drab personal profile with a bare-bones, out of date resume will not help you grow your audience and drive positive business results. You’d need a properly streamlined and detailed company page. Efficiently done and completed company pages are likely to receive twice as many visitors than incomplete profiles.
If you wish to attract top talent to your business, there’s nothing more suitable than LinkedIn. The company pages offer a dedicated careers page and direct potential employees to your business. It is a great place to look for top prospects. Here’s why LinkedIn Marketing is increasingly important for your business.
When it comes to business owners, LinkedIn is widely popular. A 2015 state of marketing report by Salesforce suggests it is now the third most used social networking site. More than 62% of business owners are active on LinkedIn.
Keen prospectors are already looking out for rich seams of untapped potential and unearthing heaps of B2B marketing benefits from LinkedIn. It is responsible for successfully driving over half of all social traffic to B2B blogs and websites.
Naturally, LinkedIn company pages add a lot of credibility. You also establish additional credibility to your personal profile.
LinkedIn is now hailed as more important than Facebook for B2B companies. Around 21% of B2C marketers additionally maintain that it is their most preferred platform. Also, Twitter and Facebook’s recent changes in algorithm while significantly boosting user experience, also limit the organic reach of posts from brands.
With these changes, B2B marketers have been worried about their ability to generate leads on these sites.
It is an effective platform for lead generation
The biggest challenge faced by any freelancer or business owner is generating good quality leads that can be effectively transformed into faithful customers. Initially, LinkedIn emerged as a platform solely dedicated to professional networking. However, now it has evolved into a strategic, powerful tool for lead generation and brand building.
Traffic through LinkedIn referral tends to have the highest and best visitor-to-lead conversion rate. Thus, strategically using LinkedIn for business development will lead to a thriving, flourishing business.
Additionally, it offers Search Engine Optimization benefits. Be sure that your description is lead with powerful, keyword-rich copy because Google previews up to 156 characters of the page text. By doing this, you can easily turn your LinkedIn profile into a lead generating, brand-building machine.
With LinkedIn however, SEO is just the tip of the iceberg. The success of your inbound marketing via LinkedIn, as with your business website depends on conversion optimization in addition to traffic.
If you tend to put all your efforts on SEO instead of fully optimizing your profile for conversions you will not make the most of the traffic coming in.
Enables you to build the company brand and employer brand easily
The importance of an effective employee recruitment process cannot be undermined. If you don’t hire the best talent, your company simply won’t be able to deliver the products or services your consumers expect. Before recruiting take into consideration modern workforce expectations.
Recruiting talent has now been made significantly easier by digital media. Today’s marketplace is highly digital. With a LinkedIn profile, you can create talent magnets for it is one of the first places professions/experts go when they are job hunting. If your people happen to use LinkedIn very often, they will become visible to everyone seeking employment opportunities.
While using LinkedIn for business development, utilize the platform to the fullest to connect effectively with your workforce. You can now easily hire a workforce who will make sales, meet deadlines and build the brand via positive customer interactions. This will in turn help determine weaknesses, strengths and potential managerial gaps.
It will also create a positive working environment. It is important to have a well structured comprehensive recruiting and selection program. Employee performance is critical to the overall success of the company hence business owners need employees who can get the job done. Optimized hiring also eliminates a lot of financial problems.
The principle purpose of a company page is to highlight who you are and what are willing to do to build your company brand. You can easily attract and engage the top talent with job recommendations and targeted content (featuring employee testimonials, videos, etc).
The digital natives and choosy millennials will find your company to be the ideal employer. Nothing appeals to them more than social savviness and they spend most of their on the internet to assess that. 47% of millennials believe an employer’s online reputation matters as much as the job it has to offer.
LinkedIn Groups and Advertising options
If you want to escalate the lead generation process and widen your audience, you can join all the relevant groups on LinkedIn. Restricting yourself only to groups that exclusively pertain to your niche will not help. LinkedIn groups help you expand your horizons and grow your business especially if you contribute frequently to group conversations with relevant content.
LinkedIn also allows you to include links to your landing pages to heighten website traffic. Now you can easily position your brand as an industry expert.
LinkedIn additionally allows you to take control beyond your existing followers and connections by offering you various advertising options to explore. You can simply create sponsored posts leveraging your most valuable and engaging content.
By doing this you will strategically position yourself and cement your image as an important influencer in your field of interest. The quality of leads is far superior and the process is faster than other lead channels. Also, LinkedIn facilitates highly precise and specific targeting so that you can reach out to the right audience.
How to Use LinkedIn for business development?
Various social media platforms including LinkedIn have transformed networking by offering online venues for demonstrating relevant experience, thought leadership and of course building relationships in the long run.
When used with a little strategy, foresight and of course know how LinkedIn emerges to be a powerful business tool leveraged by decision-makers and company directors to increase their reach within the market. Having said that, however, there are few things you can do to ensure a strong BD presence on LinkedIn.
Review your company page and your profile
Take a critical look and analyze your own company page and business profile on LikedIn. This is after all the first thing your clients will notice. They are in fact doing it right now if you have already handed out a business card, therefore this should be thoroughly optimized.
Make sure you include your latest promotions to keep it up to date with relevant information. Your customers won’t have time for spammy links, hence incorporate links to your contact details and your offsite content that are accurate. Logos and images can be tricky.they have to be optimized to display correctly on LinkedIn and since this is not automatic, you might have to invest in a stellar graphics package.
However, populate all the fields of your company page and profile.
Connections that matter are the only ones worth holding on to
While using LinkedIn for business development, you must remember quality should be the only defining factor when it comes to connections on LinkedIn. It is always important to have 50 meaningful, authentic connections than 100 out of date, random ones.
Since everyone on LinkedIn is likely to receive invitations to connect from all manner of people, including friends, relatives, and hopeful recruitment agencies often with little or no relevant business connection, you should add only those people who are directly relevant to your business.
Muse over the reciprocal value you can give each other if you are a LinkedIn connection- supply sources, shared knowledge, new business, contacts?
Join LinkedIn groups
Groups are an ideal meeting place for like-minded decision-makers to generate business, share opinions and ultimately forge the best practices. Since in B2B sales, there are always multiple people who will influence the buying decision, before choosing groups, you must decide who actually is in your target audience you wish to reach.
How to broaden your reach? Join groups that strategically appeal to each of the people who play a significant role in the decision-making process.
Look at the profiles of prospects and clients to ideally determine the groups in which your key influencers participate, they may list the groups to which they belong- scroll down to the bottom and expand on their interests. Also, it is important to join groups that are thoroughly active. To gain visibility initiate a discussion and never be self-promotional.
Additionally, you can start your own LinkedIn group(s). Set up one that’s relevant to your industry to discuss postings and comments. This will establish your credibility and your authority as someone who cares about the overall prosperity of your industry and not just your own company profits.
It should not be an extension of your business, but an entity on its own — a source of value for all its participants. It’s okay to want to set up a purely promotional group but be specific about it and create it exclusively for your audience. This “soft-sell” approach can generate a lot of additional business.
The LinkedIn Tool kit
Once your profile and connections are set up and taken care of what do you do to drive traffic to your business? Intelligibly use LinkedIn tools like the LinkedIn developer site. They are ideal when it comes to enhancing traffic because they optimize your website by providing the ability to link to your profile from the bio page of your site.
You also may need social proof that clients and potential customers recommend your business hence do not forget to include the “recommend with the LinkedIn button” on your site. Additionally, you can check out the ‘share on LinkedIn’ plugin that will enable visitors to share your website content. LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator delivers up to 700 search results at a time thus allowing you to search more efficiently.
More traffic leads to more conversions
If you are in a group you'll notice visitors directed to your website from the group discussions. Posts that stimulate conversations are likely to drive a considerable amount of traffic to the source of the content and to your website. If a prospect does complete the search for an ideal provider with the perfect solution, your company’s leader(s) may rise to the top of the search results.
Next, the searcher is just a click away from your site if his profile includes a link to your website as it should.
Likewise, the content you are posting on LinkedIn news feed will be read by your connections who may click through to your website. If you are willing to invest, take advantage of the pay per click ads or LinkedIn’s sponsored updates that will help you specifically target your audience better.
People who visit your site from LinkedIn do so only with some prior familiarity with your company. Hence, if they arrive they are more likely to convert to a qualified lead. To get a better idea of what your audience wants to see, you can take a look at what they share and what receives the most likes and comments. Use Google Analytics to see how much traffic comes to your site and how much of it is converted into leads.
Use the All Updates area
When a user logs in, LinkedIn shows a list of network updates. This diligently displays posts, information, and updates from all your connections with the most recent appearing at the top. After a user logs in, this is likely to be the first place he goes on LinkedIn hence you must sue it to your own advantage.
Build authority and awareness by having a stream of relevant information that will appear on the LinkedIn homepages of your existing connections. How to maximize your exposure while you’re at it? Post information or updates frequently and at strategically planned intervals but at the same time please do not spam - ensure your customers are not overwhelmed with your content.
Using LinkedIn for business development thus makes a lot of sense, don’t you think? Historically speaking, professional firms have heavily relied upon referrals to generate leads and drive profit. Now, however, prospects seldom ask a colleague or a friend for a referral since they are using other methods to find service providers faster.
It’s no secret that digital marketing has outgrown conventional marketing methodologies in more ways than one. It just so happens that one of the most important criteria, when a potential customer is evaluating a professional service provider, is understanding experience, expertise, and skill through past performance.
For a firm and those representing the firm, this experience can take the form of client testimonials, project examples, case studies, and references to name a few of course. Among a host of eclectic, stellar features, LinkedIn provides an ideal, convenient and effective forum for all these elements on a standard profile page and it’s wise to consider them while developing yours.
How should you get started? You’ll probably realize that layering different social media platforms together as part of a comprehensive digital strategy will create a mutually beneficial ecosystem and give you the best results in the long run.
However, it’s best, to begin with, a solid foundation on the number one networking platform for professionals service firms- LinkedIn. Why? Because it provides a platform for today’s workforce to offer networking among a targeted list of peers, thought-provoking conversations on the latest trends and deals and of course it’s the perfect source for this new age of referral marketing.
The value of LinkedIn to the development of your business cannot be undermined. In terms of B2B marketing, it’s a highly effective tool- one that you should get started with already. It’s safe to conclude that a LinkedIn company page will only add to your overall online credibility as a brand, create a meaningful network and glean insider expertise from established professionals in your industry.LinkedIn is also the most effective channel for professional content distribution.
It has gradually emerged as one of the most relevant and significant platforms for B2B companies. It’s perhaps one of the most valuable tools in your social marketing arsenal and you must ensure that you are adequately seizing every opportunity it provides.