For all our modern devices, apps and powerful technology, do you ever feel like you’re not really connecting to your clients or customers? Does your small business feel like just another drop in the internet ocean?
If you’re hunting around for business networking events in Adelaide or elsewhere, you’re clearly hoping to build your professional networks and reach more people. We all know the value of networking; building relationships helps new business growth and repeat business.
But it can also be time consuming, as most “coffee catch ups” and business meetings take at least an hour.
1 hour per relationship x multiple business contacts = no time left to run your business! That’s where LinkedIn networking comes in. Why LinkedIn? Read our blog post for 10 reasons why it’s essential for your business.
As the world’s largest professional network, LinkedIn is the ideal tool with which to super-charge your business networking. In this LinkedIn for Beginners blog post, we outline how to use LinkedIn to build your professional network and manage business relationships, while you save time and improve brand visibility in the process…
photo credit: photo-nic.co.uk
Grow your network
When you don’t have numerous staff to help get the word out there about your business, LinkedIn networking creates economy of scale. I interviewed Michelle Holland for Be The Drop recently and she revealed she uses LinkedIn to nurture relationships with old contacts and stay front of mind.
But first, let’s take a look at your LinkedIn profile. Have you done these two simple things to immediately grow your LinkedIn network?
1. Have you added your school or university?
If you haven’t yet, you can do this by editing your Intro or Education section.
Be aware that most major education institutions now have LinkedIn pages so, as you’re adding yours, watch your spelling and see if LinkedIn suggests the page as you’re typing in the name. If there’s a match, make sure you select it. This will create a live link from your LinkedIn profile and ensure that you’re listed on the institution’s page in alumni.
By doing the above, you create a strong connection to a recognised body that has its own network of current and former members. You immediately have something in common with these people (and you didn’t have to go to a school reunion to get access to them!)
2. Have you added previous experience?
This is especially impactful if you’ve ever worked for a brand that has a LinkedIn page.
Again, watch your spelling as you add in the name of the organisation, and select LinkedIn’s suggested match. This will create another live link that adds credibility to your profile and gives you quick and easy access to people with whom you share common ground.
Focus on building your professional network by adding contacts with whom you’ve worked at some point or another. This includes current and former colleagues and managers, contractors, freelancers, tutors, mentors, volunteers and anyone else with whom you’ve had a professional association.
You can search for LinkedIn members by name in the search bar, or head to ‘My Network’ and browse the ‘People you may know’ suggestions. Make sure your email account is synced with your LinkedIn account so you can connect with your email contacts.
Now this is the bit where you get to look your customers in the eye, digitally.
What do I mean? Well, you might have the most fantastic profile ever and implemented all our tips and LinkedIn SEO tricks, but if you’re not treating LinkedIn as a content platform, you’re not maximising its potential.
Like Facebook, LinkedIn is a forum for sharing news, blogs, infographics, links, video, in fact any kind of content that’s relevant to your network. It is the perfect tool for cultivating thought-leadership in your industry and positioning yourself as a go-to resource for your target audience.
This is how you build trust, credibility and brand loyalty, which is what will make your customers choose you and keep coming back.
Here are some top tips for developing thought-leadership using LinkedIn:
- Join LinkedIn Groups that are relevant to your industry/expertise.
- Monitor the conversation in those Groups; is there anything you can contribute to it?
- Develop your authoritative voice; don’t be afraid to share your experience and expertise.
- Proactively participate by sharing content you’ve created; no need to create specific content for these Groups.
- If you don’t create a range of your own content, share links to articles of relevance that you’ve read and value.
- If you’d like to create your own content but don’t know how, we can help (view our content services).
Want to know more about using LinkedIn to boost your business? Download our FREE Linkedin checklist by clicking the banner below. We also offer small business training workshops in Adelaide and other major Australian cities, including LinkedIn Training –> find out more HERE.
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