When it comes to getting your business across on social media, LinkedIn is a great bet for B2B business development. Recently, I attended a session by Rick Curry with the American Marketing Association of Richmond on LinkedIn strategies. Afterwards I began to wonder if my social B2B strategy was really working—or even existent.
Curry discussed some of the main pitfalls we tend to get into, which include the “set it and forget it” tactic. Essentially, this means people use LinkedIn to post information about their job, and then leave their profile alone to collect dust. This is the real-life equivalent of landing the job you want—and never attending another networking event. Not only could this hold back your career path, it certainly blocks the door to finding new customers for your current employer.
Remember that there are more than 350 million members on LinkedIn. That’s one giant cocktail party! But like a cocktail party or networking event, you won’t be able to connect with everyone. You’ll start by using the same tactics that help you in person. Often, that simply includes walking up to someone you know and asking for an introduction to someone else.
According to Curry, that’s precisely what you should do online. Don’t try to connect to everyone, but do connect to everyone you know. That way, the number of people who you could be introduced to increases. When you see someone who runs a business that might be interested in your product, you’ll have a large pool to draw from when it comes to introductions. If you have someone in common, ask them to break the ice for you virtually, just like you would in real life.
As you gear up for 2016 planning, keep these tips in mind for climbing to the top of the digital pile and finding new leads and networking online:
- It’s all about the headline:
- The headline is all you have to convince someone to look at your profile
- Instead of your job title, use it to share your personal mission
- Draft something that says who you are, what you do, and how you help others
- Move summary to the top:
- People don’t want to look at a resume– they want to know who you are
- It also shouldn’t just be a bulleted list, instead add some narrative paragraphs in there to break up the list.
- The goal is to give viewers an understanding of your overall business philosophy, which is especially helpful in catching the eye of someone whose business might benefit from your organization’s help
- Call to action:
- This should be the last sentence in your summary
- Tell the viewer how to learn more about you, your organization and how it can help them
- The particular call depends on your goals, but it should be easily visible
- Use keywords:
- Keywords are important features and important in getting people to find your profile
- If you want someone to find you, ask them what terms they use when they go to search for people like you. When you are in B2B, this might include asking current or previous clients how they look for companies like yours, and whether they do this on LinkedIn.
- You might conduct your own search, plugging in different keywords to find what easily pulls your business—and your competition to the top of the search
Add an interesting (but professional) photo, a few awards and educational background, and you are on your way to a profile that will keep working even when you walk away. Make sure you change your URL while you’re at it—they can be easily customized. Finally, set your LinkedIN game plan for 2016 and get ready to get in gear!
Curry recommends regularly connecting with five current or former business associates. You could do this daily, weekly, monthly, whatever works best for you. Then join several groups to spread your online visibility. Each time you join a group, start a new discussion in it for five days after you join. As you continue to add groups and do this your influence will steadily grow. Final step? Repeat!