LinkedIn is just MADE for networking. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not an online CV hub. But it IS a powerhouse for B2B connections. This article will show why it’s worth your time – and money if you have the budget – to invest in a dedicated LinkedIn strategy which will expand your network and generate leads for your business.
I know that even when covid restrictions don’t apply, lots of you hate networking events. Meeting new people, thinking of interesting things to say, making eye contact and being in a room filled with too many people can be very uncomfortable, and even more so if you are autistic or introverted.
So how about some online networking? No need to look anyone in the eye, no need to hold on to your cup of tea and your bacon roll while accepting a business card. All done in the comfort of your own home while sitting at your desk, or lying on the sofa watching Strictly on a Saturday night with a couple of Hobnob biscuits. Sounds good right?
Look no further than LinkedIn. The last 2 years or so have seen a massive shift in engagement on LinkedIn, and presuming that you follow the right people, scrolling through your LinkedIn feed can actually be a lot more interesting than scrolling through your Facebook feed now. Less pictures of kittens though, sorry.
The demographics of LinkedIn
So who is your average LinkedIn user? Well, LinkedIn themselves say that of its 770 million users,
💵 90 million are senior-level influencers
💵 63 million are decision-makers
💵 97% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn for content marketing, according to the Content Marketing Institute.
This means that if you’re trying to reach senior executives, LinkedIn is the place to be. LinkedIn is also the most popular platform among Fortune 500 companies.
Using content to network on LinkedIn
Just because LinkedIn users tend to be a business audience, it doesn’t mean they aren’t people who want to read interesting content. That White Paper might contain very important statistics, but couldn’t you present them in a more interesting way? If you make your feed a fun and informative place to be, a place which fosters interesting and meaningful discussions, people are going to want to connect with you. To find out more about how to create interesting posts for LinkedIn have a look at this.
The content you post should also showcase your expertise – but not in a show-off way, and please don’t start calling yourself a guru or maven. If you’re calling yourself a guru rather than other people saying it, then you’re not one.
I am going to presume that you know exactly who you want to target (and if you don’t, have a read here and get this nailed). What are their problems? How can you solve them? What questions are they asking you? Write some content around this. Always be thinking about what your target customer needs to solve their problems, before thinking about what you can offer them.
Remember that people want to share experiences, so share yours and invite them to share theirs. The LinkedIn algorithm (or Bob, as I like to call him) values engagement as much as the next social media platform.
Rather than immediately hammering your new LinkedIn connections with a messaged link to your latest blog, make sure that you post your blog as an Article and talk about it in your posts. Don’t be spammy. There’s enough spam in the world.
“The riches are in the niches.” This catchphrase only really works if you say niches the American way, to rhyme with riches, so if you’re British like me you need to say it to yourself in your head with an American accent. Or maybe not.
What does it mean? You may have more success on LinkedIn if you concentrate on a particular industry or group of people. Not only does this mean that you would focus your connection requests on this group but that the content you create will be targeted specifically at them. This is much more likely to resonate with them and therefore not only are your connection requests more likely to be accepted but you are more likely to receive requests.
LinkedIn is much more trusted as a platform than either Facebook or Twitter according to Business Insider’s Digital Trust Report. So it makes sense to build your network – your tribe – here. It also has a very good advanced search function even on the free package if you are searching for job industries or titles. So as well as connecting with people who engage on your posts or the posts on your feed, you can search your niche for useful and interesting second degree connections.
Just like in a physical networking event, it’s all about connecting and following up. So make sure that’s what you do, but don’t over-message people. A couple of messages a month should be enough to keep you in mind but not annoy people. A continuous cycle of this will keep you in a continuous supply of new connections and new leads. And hopefully you had fun along the way.