I can guarantee that at some point during every working day I will be using LinkedIn. Now, not everyone uses LinkedIn quite as extensively or for the same reasons but LinkedIn has become part of many companies' sales toolkit in recent years
When using LinkedIn it can open up many different avenues and can create links to the people you want to talk to within companies you want to do business with. I will do a lot of prospecting through LinkedIn to find companies I want to talk to. Once I have found that company, I can then delve into their list of employees and select the ideal person that I need to speak to. LinkedIn provides an amazing way to connect directly to decision makers and provides a channel to speak with them one to one.
Make the best of your profile
It's all well and good scouring LinkedIn for the people you want to target but if you're using LinkedIn to promote your business then your own profile needs to be similarly professional and also engaging in order to build lasting, and importantly valuable connections. Fill it with interesting information - professional and personal - but don't overdo it. Take a note of job title, this is one of the first things people will see about you so make sure it stands out for the right reasons. Now it's a personal choice whether you add a picture to your account, but adding a picture is a definite positive in my view. People are more likely to go on to a profile that has a picture than one without. I think it's a great way to make you more approachable and having a face to put to someone's profile is always a benefit. This being said, think carefully therefore about the picture you use!
Get out what you put in
Start connecting with likeminded business people that are linked to your industry and with people that you eventually want to approach in a sales sense. When you connect with people from a similar area you can share relevant ideas and posts, it's also a good idea to join groups and start getting your name into the mix. The more people that see you for good and insightful content the better so don't just share other posts, create your own and publish them for people to read and share. Don't make your posts all about you, it can get very tedious to see a person just post content about their company and how great it is. Make sure to share other people's posts and join conversations on relevant topics where you can have some interesting and valuable input.
Focus on the right peopleThere are millions of people on LinkedIn (364 million to be precise) so making sure you target the right person is key. Don't waste lots of time waiting for people to connect with you, go straight to them and start connecting. Focus your energy on people you can see are worth your time in the relevant area of business or someone you could eventually do business with. Look for clues that they are actually using their account so you don't waste your time waiting for people to connect or send wasted messages. A few clues to get a better idea if someone is using their account are;
Once you have connected with someone you can then send them a message directly. When you want to send a message make sure you think about it, speak to the person and don't just speak about yourself and what you have to offer them. From putting more into your actions on LinkedIn you can start to create real business connections and gain real benefits for you and your business.