Unleashing the Power of LinkedIn for Business Development
It’s no secret that LinkedIn is an incredibly valuable networking tool. However, like all social channels, LinkedIn isn’t simply about the number of connections. Business owners that know how to leverage LinkedIn can build it into their business development strategies, helping them to create strategic partnerships with people who have compelling experience or interesting skills to help grow the business.
Business owners who want to use LinkedIn for business development efforts may accomplish this in a variety of ways. LinkedIn offers areas for sponsored content, which means that if you can provide interesting content specific to your industry, you can use paid LinkedIn marketing to grow your business and your personal brand by solidifying yourself as a thought leader in your area of expertise.
However, while paid placements can be tremendously valuable, the platform is really about the engagement.[quote]It’s more than simply posting updates and interesting articles, though that’s a great starting point.[/quote] If you want to be truly effective at using LinkedIn, it’s important to incorporate it into your overall business development initiatives.
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One of the easiest ways to get started using LinkedIn to help grow business is to develop a strategy. This way, you can create goals and desired outcomes, and can even create a playbook of best practices.
Because LinkedIn is a professional social media outlet, as opposed to Facebook or Twitter, which are designed more for general interest, it’s easy to overlook the effectiveness of creating a LinkedIn campaign the way you’d create a Facebook or Twitter campaign. But, if you’re planning to attend a conference soon, you can develop a creative LinkedIn campaign to do outreach, with an attempt to set up meetings prior to the conference or introduce yourself to noted speakers. Or, if you’re pushing out a new product, you can reach out to your network on LinkedIn for feedback and validation. Hearing from people in your related field can prove much more valuable than the feedback you might get from friends and family. Active involvement with LinkedIn groups and engagement with your favorite companies is a great way to make the most of LinkedIn.
In using LinkedIn as an effective business development tool, it’s important to consider the value proposition you’re offering. You don’t want to waste anyone’s time, and this holds especially true if you’re reaching out to a person in a powerful position to help you achieve your business goals. If you’re asking someone for a meeting, think about what you can offer him or her. Is it as simple as a cup of coffee, or can you offer to introduce that person to someone else who might be in a position to help them? Having an idea in mind of how you can help them is a great way to facilitate contact, and creates a more tailored experience than just a sales pitch.
Like any campaign, using LinkedIn as an outreach tool requires testing and optimization. Experiment with InMail subject lines and outreach strategies. Creating goals can help you measure the success of your campaign, and can help you revise future campaigns to make them more effective.
If you’re having trouble managing your contacts due to the sheer breadth of them, look into using tools such as Contactually to help store and manage your contacts. This program provides easy ways to keep in touch, so that your contacts remain on your “hot leads” list until you close a deal.
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