LinkedIn for Business Series, Part 1.
Just as the right business phone system can offer a unique, competitive edge, so too can the right business-enabled networking tool. Among the many tools at every business leader’s disposal – especially within small to mid-sized businesses (SMBs) – is LinkedIn, a social platform proving to be one of today’s most powerful for advancing operations from every angle. And best of all, it’s free to access.
Running a successful and profitable business is all about working smarter, not necessarily harder. Here are some smart ways to leverage LinkedIn to stay ahead:
Sales and Prospecting
Your team has likely moved beyond the days of Rolodexes and Post-it reminders to advanced CRM and sales automation software. These technologies can be easily complemented with an aggressive sales prospecting LinkedIn strategy. Here are some quick tips for generating more leads and locking in more sales using the social platform:
- Always work to improve your connections: Stay engaged with your existing LinkedIn connections and work to extend connections past family and friends. Go after those “reach connections” to improve upon your connectedness.
- Send a personal message through LinkedIn: It’s a great way to get to know the “gatekeeper” – or the person protecting the senior decision-maker of a company who doesn’t have time to read an email let alone hop on the phone with you for a sales pitch.
- Do frequent checkups on your prospect’s company: Someone leaving a company, or a new-hire announcement, could be just the push a salesperson needs to get in touch and capitalize on a potential selling opportunity. When you “follow” the company’s page, you’ll even receive notifications of when these types of changes happen.
If you’re willing to spend a little cash, consider LinkedIn Sales Navigator, a tool specifically designed to take prospecting to new heights through the art of social selling.
Marketing and Branding
LinkedIn has always been a great platform for marketers and brand advisors, but now it boasts more power than ever with the roll out its all-new publishing platform.
This new innovation provides a powerful way for companies to build their professional brand as individuals can now post blog entries – including those posted on their company’s blog – to their LinkedIn profiles. Today’s marketers can marry their corporate content marketing strategy with their personal branding efforts and, in so doing, double their company’s blog exposure. To explore the wealth of possibilities afforded by LinkedIn’s new blogging capability, create an editorial calendar outlining the type of articles or messages you will disseminate on the site weekly. Then start crafting a macro-marketing strategy, figuring out how LinkedIn can be used to augment your go-to-market strategies and bolster your brand awareness.
Click here to learn more about LinkedIn’s new publishing platform.
Customer Service and Client Relations
A core pillar to enhancing customer service is to understand your target audience. To begin, log onto LinkedIn to gain insight into the unique needs and behaviors of your prospects.
As of February 2014 there are an astounding 277 million LinkedIn users and 84 million users in the U.S. alone. The platform also boasts a geographical reach of 200 countries and territories. Chances are your customers are on LinkedIn, so get in there and start listening to and participating in the conversations taking place. Take note of common pain points, industry frustrations and consumer sentiment – and begin determining the many ways you can use the platform to learn and better serve your clients.
Recruiting and Hiring
Don’t forget that one of LinkedIn’s main strengths is its recruiting power. A 2013 survey commissioned by recruiting software vendor Bullhorn shows that the network is still the most dominant platform for job searches and recruitment. The survey of almost 2,000 staffing professionals revealed that the majority of recruiters use social media when hunting for job candidates, and 97 percent said that they use LinkedIn as a recruiting tool.
LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network and yet it remains an untapped goldmine for many. This hugely impactful tool is readily available for advancing nearly every facet of your business, so think about how you can use LinkedIn to work smarter and gain a competitive edge.
Do you use LinkedIn within your business? How so? Keep the conversation going in the comments section below. And look for the next article in our LinkedIn for Business Series soon.
About Dave Morris
Dave is a content strategist and writer at Vonage Business Solutions, working with teams across the company to build communication programs that enable our customers and assist our prospects. He enjoys living in Atlanta and is an avid gardener, restaurant enthusiast and live music fan.
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