This is a Guest Post by Akhila Ashraf, a Social Media Consultant and Marketing Manager at Kreative Sparkz
If you are looking to market your product or brand in the Social Media, then comes in mind a few networking sites.
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest are a few of them on my personal list. But, what would be your strategy if you needed to improve your Business or to build a professional relationship in the B2B (Business to Business) Industry? I personally recommend LinkedIn to be the best choice which had helped me to grow my network by building the right connections.
Only LinkedIn helps you to generate over 80% of B2B leads than any other Social Media even though it is considered to be smaller than other Social networks.
In comparison to other Social Media’s, LinkedIn users are looking to learn more about products, gather knowledge about their industry and they do not come in to this platform for sharing their personal happenings.
Most of the B2B Companies writes Blogs to promote their business, but I strongly believe LinkedIn provides you with more traffic and leads in comparison to other channels if marketed properly.
Above mentioned graph demonstrates the power of LinkedIn.
Today LinkedIn counts over more than 400 million Users, now that is something really amazing. With such a strong network of professionals all over the world how could someone serving B2B customers stay away from this network?
As I had mentioned LinkedIn to be the better choice for B2B customers to generate business, learn to educate your connections with your Industry value knowledge rather than directly reaching out your connections and selling out your products. LinkedIn doesn’t suit you if you are looking to sell your products to Consumers.
Tips for Using LinkedIn to improve your Business:
First start to grow your network on LinkedIn.
We all know that professionals over the world join LinkedIn to build a smarter network which could directly benefit their business but before starting out to generate premium leads (which leads to Sales) learn to
get connected to the right professional.
I firmly believe that following this post would definitely help you build the right quality relationships and a bigger network on LinkedIn.
1. Find out who would be the right fit to get connected
If you do some research on other sites and blog about how to market yourself on LinkedIn, most of them provide you with two opinions.
First one is to reject the invitations of the request you receive from an unknown person or someone who is not right for your business, as it helps you to maintain your profile as “high quality” one.
Unlike other networks LinkedIn doesn’t have any kind of a limitation for the number of connections you make, so definitely it will not affect your results even if you have a large network of “low quality” connections.
Second Opinion is to add as many as possible to improve your network and it seems you are more active in this platform.
In my scenario I would definitely love to follow the second method:
(i) Accept the Invitation even if you receive a request from someone from a different Industry, in future they could be of any help for you.
(ii) Even if the person is not the right for your industry, it doesn’t mean that his connections are not. Getting connected with the person will show your profile higher on their connection searches, if you would have the noticed the link with “People You May Know”.
(iii) The higher your connections, you are more likely to be show up in the “Most Viewed Profile” which eventually leads to attract more connections.
Implement this following strategy before you start getting connected with people who you don’t know well with just a few simple steps.
Step #1- Learn to Observe spam profiles:
Once you start hitting with a decent number of connections, your profile begins to receive a lot of Invitation requests.
Many a times you might even receive requests from Spammers. So once you accept those connections you start getting promotional mailings about their products into your mailbox or through messaging platform of LinkedIn.
These unwanted mails from your low quality connections may hurt you. There is a chance to lose your potential customers if they see that you are connected with the spammers.
It’s almost easy to identify these fake profiles. Always make it a point that before accepting a request from someone you don’t know, review their profile.
- Don’t have profile pictures.
- They commonly use fake photos of attractive men or women.
- Use a company name instead of personal name.
- Use a logo instead of a profile photo.
- They have very limited information.
Spammers commonly create hundreds of accounts at a time, which looks similar.
Just go through the invitation before you accept, you will be able to find the fake profile in just seconds.
Just reject such Invitations and then move on…
Step #2 – Your first step is get connected with People You Know
After creating LinkedIn profile, start getting connected with the people whom you have worked.
If you have a lot of experience you will get much connections, and it is not easy to get potential connections if you are not familiar with LinkedIn yet.
It is easy to build connections from 250 to 300 rather than 50 to 100.
That’s why it’s better to start getting connected with people whom you know.
Before building up connections with the professionals from your industry, get connected with your Family, Friends and Colleagues.
Your Profile would be reported as spam if you send tons of invitations, this is the only thing you should be aware of before getting connected with the people you don’t know.
Step #3 – Promote Your LinkedIn Profile through other sources:
As mentioned above LinkedIn is the best option for you to generate leads when it comes to B2B market, as it helps you straight out in getting connected to the right people who have been looking out for your product.
Here I would like to show you an example on how to build both On and Off LinkedIn network.
Add you LinkedIn profile link to your email signature and if you do send a lot of emails on regular basis you would be receiving new connections through this method.
Next in your message make it very clear that why would you love to get connected to the person to whom you are sending out the Invite. Be clear and precise.
Finally add your LinkedIn profile to each and every page of your Blog
2. Drive Traffic by sharing more and more Content
Your goal should not be only on building good relationships but to turn your connections into Prospects on the right time.
One thing you have to do is to always engage by posting or sharing contents on LinkedIn.
When you make a post on LinkedIn, it will be shown to your followers and connections, and if your posts are educational and informative people start following you.
Unlike other Social Media platforms your followers over here at LinkedIn definitely won’t miss your posts
There is always a right time to publish your post:
There is not much issue about the time when you post. Even though there is a best time, but it doesn’t make any difference in driving traffic.
The most important thing is you have to post regularly and engage your targeted audience in you post.
Next what comes into mind is “What do I Post”?
Although you can post about your personal job, or about something educated to tackle your targeted customers.
The posts content should be interested to your targeted customers.
You can post contents created by others, or share others contents.
Benefit #1 – You stay in front of their minds:
By regular posts you are right away positioning yourself as an expert in your industry.
When you consistently posts about industry, your connections and followers sees it, so whenever they are looking a help from your industry definitely you name would be coming first in their mind.
Let’s consider that you are a fitness consultant. One of the person in your connection who had been working in this Industry is looking for a consultant who could help their customer’s stay fit.
Guess what your post has done the magic?
This method of content sharing is a strategy which pays you off in the long run.
Benefit #2 – Traffic starts driving in to your profile:
When you post anything it immediately drive traffic towards your profile and if any external link given to your website or blogs.
Your posts should be very useful and interesting to the people in your connections.
If you copy others contents, you would not get more traffic and if it’s your own post you would get appreciation from you connections.
Definitely you won’t get benefits if you post others content.
Benefit #3 – Professional Engagement Increases:
One important lesson that I had learned is to build a strong bonding with your connections.
When you build a personal rapport with your connections, that’s the time when these connections of yours turn into customers.
If you need something necessary and you friend sells it; won’t you go ahead and purchase it from him?
So maintaining a professional relationship in personal level helps you to achieve your goal from LinkedIn.
And the right people are the ones who always likes you posts and who asks questions in your comments.
Once you are able to start a conversation with them through the comment of your post you could also send invitations to them.
Direct communications only improves the strength of relationship so avoid communicating private messages in the comment section rather starts a private conversation with them.
Benefit #4 – Your Content will help your connections turn into customers:
Some people may not know exactly what do you deal with.
A good and valuable content will help you to educate more and more about your product.
Do not continuously keep on posting about your product where you urge people to buy it but make it in such a way that the read should be both interesting and informational. Always try to educate your customers. It
helps people to understand more about your expertise.
3. Network through both Online and Offline methods:
If we go for a networking event we do make sure to distribute our business cards but sometimes it doesn’t pays off. Have you ever wondered why?
Don’t get hurt, its quiet natural.
It’s not the matter of meeting new people from your industry
The best part is to build a relation with whom you meet.
After a networking event you can send an e-mail or give them a call after the meeting.
This is how you truly add someone to your network, and that person becomes someone you can contact when needed.
How to do real networking on LinkedIn:
Lot of attention should be focused on getting more connections from LinkedIn.
Next step is to develop relationships with as many of those in your connections.
Educating contents will help them. We already went through the benefits of content writing.
Here are some tips to give value to your connections:
· Leave them a thoughtful comment on the posts they share.
· Share and like their posts.
· Send them direct messages asking them for your assistance.
Now, let’s say for an e.g. if someone post a question on LinkedIn regarding a problem that they face in regards to their work and is looking for a solution; won’t you try to solve the problem if you know the answer to the solution by typing in the comment, if possible you could also try to create a video tutorial which is considered to be more
expressive and informative.
I strongly recommend you to sit the whole day by providing solutions to the problems faced by people in regards to their work for which you got the perfect answer if you are having above 500+ connections.
4. An unused area which can help to grow your LinkedIn
As I mentioned above High Quality connections can be build easily from LinkedIn.
The only ways to find these types of connections are Groups.
Marketers join Marketing groups, a Travel Guide joins Travel and Tourism groups, these peoples joins these groups to know garnish more knowledge and insights about their respective industry whether it be technology, news updates, latest trends etc.
Groups are the easy way to connect with hundreds of people and a platform where you could easily get engaged with others.
Eventually conversations are converted to leads through these groups.
How to use groups to expand your network and generate leads:
If you create a group and request everyone to join, it would take a lot of work and time to build up.
My opinion is to simply join in a large group which is already active as it becomes much easier than the above process to get followers and connections.
To find these groups you can search for the topic on the search bar, or you can search for only for groups by picking the group option from the drop down menu to the left of the search bar.
Please review the group posting before joining as some of these large groups are full of spammers and ultimately the posts that you share won’t get any like or views from these groups.
So there is no use of joining in a group where you do not get any likes or comments for your posts.
Join the group that have at least a comment or two on every article in the group. It shows that people in this group do communicate with healthy discussions and postings.
Sometimes instead of joining larger groups, search for those groups that have less members and more post engagements.
This sales force group is having a few numbers of members but this group has more engagements.
So you have to go through the posts engagements of every group before you join.
The best group usually asks permission to join. Click the button on the group to ask to join; usually you would be approved by the Group Owner or Admin within a day.
You can always leave a group if it’s of no benefit for you.
How to engage and network in groups:
Every group be it large or small, always have both active and inactive members.
Your target is to get connected with the active members of the group.
The members who actively post content, share, like on it are the highest leads you will ever find from your network.
Then you can further go ahead and use all of the strategies that I had shared above to build a relationship.
What’s the best way to build relationship from groups?
Don’t post content as soon as you join the group, it may take you as a spammer.
So, for a week or two just try to cover up most of the articles in the group, shared by other people of the group by giving a “comment”, “like” and “share” for a bonus.
Don’t just comment as “very nice post” “very useful”. Just comment meaningful comments about the content or ask doubts on it.
After you had a short discussion through the comments start connecting with them.
From there, look for opportunities to add value using the methods I mentioned above.
Once you get engaged in the groups then start posting your own contents, connect with the people who comments on your post.
You should know that you can join multiple groups, so send requests to 5-10 active groups per day.
5. Get connected to Influencers and they can help you grow:
The only one who have tons of connections and followers are influencers.
Because they have plenty of fruitful connections, they have a better and in-depth knowledge and understanding in LinkedIn.
These are the two ways with which you can grow your network.
Find at least 10 – 20 influencers from your industry and try to get connect with them, or start following.
That will add their posts to your homepage.
Followers will always get an update when an Influencer shares, comments or like an article or presentation.
So if you leave a comment on you influencers post you get a great opportunity to get you name in front of a lot of users.
But again, don’t say “nice comment”; just leave a thoughtful or doubtful comment.
Why would an Influencer help you?
This strategy is quiet difficult to produce results fast, but can generate some great results.
Ask the influencer to whom you are connected to help you out by introducing you to a few people from your industry. But before you do so you must have build up a good relationship with your influencer.
For example, if you ask the influencer that you are looking to expand your network of small business owners, He could easily give you a list of 10-20 with whom he is already connected.
You could then send them a message that you have been recommended by the Influencer to connect with them. You are not only getting a chance to grow your network but also impress them by getting a referral from an influencer.
Hard part is to get recommended by the influencer.
To be authentic, without a doubt you will be getting a lot of rejections.
Definitely you should find a way to provide them with some kind of value in advance, whether based on something they have posted on LinkedIn, website or wherever.
Don’t get upset while hearing this but I believe this is the only way to grow you network when it comes to getting connected with an influencer.
This strategy is not compulsory to grow your network on LinkedIn but its helps you to build a “high quality” network.
You will be definitely getting success in LinkedIn if you follow the ones we have looked at.
LinkedIn is a vast social media platform to grow you B2B business.
Everyone in this platform is here to improve their professional lives.
Grow your network with quality connections and build relationships sooner or later that lead to sales.
Disclaimer: This is a Guest post. The statements, opinions and data contained in these publications are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of iamwire and the editor(s).