As everybody who dabbles with the social media, you really have a number of options regarding the platform you want to network on. Compared to Facebook that is the big daddy of the world of social media, LinkedIn is far smaller but often a better choice for businesses to connect with professionals on a very personal level. For people who had no idea, it will come as a complete surprise to know that over 80% of the leads generated in B2B come from LinkedIn. One of the reasons for this is while LinkedIn has far less traffic; its users are more adaptable to learning about new stuff than the users of Facebook who seem to be engrossed with more trivial pursuits. With more than 300 million users and growing by the day, this can translate to a huge marketing opportunity for businesses that are targeting other businesses.
However, for lead generation and marketing to be effective it is necessary for businesses using LinkedIn to expand their networks so that there’s more potential for engagement that’s appropriate for customer acquisition. Some effective strategies to increase the LinkedIn network:
Figure Out Whom You Need to Target
Generally there seems to be two opinions regarding marketing on LinkedIn. The first advocates rejection of anybody that does not belong to your industry in some way or the other to keep the quality of the network high. However, quite unlike some other social media networks there’s no penalty to the number of your connections so even if there are quite a few connections that are of low quality, there’s no harm done. The other theory recommends including as many connections as possible, without trying to evaluate either their industry relevance or quality. The reason why this could be a better approach is even if today someone does not belong to your industry, they may very well do so in the future or even today their connections could be quite relevant to your business. Being connected will elevate you in the connection search by others and you could be as well figuring in the “suggested connections”. However, you need to be wary of spammers that could hurt your connections and potential sales.
Start Expanding Your Network by Connecting With Known People
Most people when making a start with their LinkedIn accounts reach out to people they know personally. These will either be their family, relatives or friends or colleagues or even persons that they have encountered in their previous jobs. If you are the sort that makes friends easily these known connections could number in hundreds but it is more likely that if you are relatively young and not worked in very large organizations, the number could very well be under 50. In this situation, you should actively try and reach to every person that you come in contact with and also try sending out invitations to those who might be in your industry. However, sending out invitations to unknown people must be done in moderation so that you are not perceived to be a spammer.
Actively Encourage People to Connect With You
Since it is established that as far as business lead generation is concerned, LinkedIn is among the most effective social media platforms,it makes eminent sense to tweak your strategy to focus on marketing on LinkedIn. While you need to stay on top of network building all the time, it is not necessary that your activities should be only on LinkedIn as network building can also be done in other ways. If you send out a large number of emails, you can consider including your LinkedIn profile in the email signature. It is surprising how many people will want to connect with you once they know you have a LinkedIn presence. If you make use of bulk email marketing services, you should definitely leverage the opportunity for expanding your connections by including your LinkedIn profile in your email signature. The exercise is greatly helped if you indicate that you are very happy to be connected with everybody and welcome connections invites. Businesses that have blogs (and there’s no reason why your business should not have one) should make it a point to add their LinkedIn profile to each and every page of the blog.
Post Content to Drive Traffic and Elevate Your Status
While network building is important it cannot obviously be an end by itself. You need to use the platform to build relationships with your connections and convert them into leads at an appropriate time. Whenever you post something on your profile, your connections are notified automatically. Ensure that your posts arerelevant to your connections and maintain a consistent posting schedule. Once you start posting about your industry, you are well on your way to positioning yourself as an industry expert. For best results you can adopt a mix of own content and that created by other people.
There are a number of benefits associated with regular posting. Not only you are perceived as an industry expert but also you are able to stay on the top of their minds. Each post is another reminder of your taking work very seriously and how you are proud of being at the industry’s cutting edge. Further, with every own-content posting, you are taking another vital step to driving traffic towards you and opening up opportunitiesfor engaging with them productively to create deep relationships. You need to make sure that most of the content that you post is educational as this will inform your connections about how they can benefit from the product. Needless to mention you need to cultivate the connections that you make to ensure that the relationship is mutually enriching and both of you find value.
Leverage the Power of Groups
While you need to actively push the number of connections that you have on LinkedIn, at some stage you do need to ensure that a very high level of these are of good quality. Among the best ways of getting quality connections is to join groups on LinkedIn. There are numerous groups on the platform on virtually every subject that you can think of. Groups represent among the fastest ways of interacting and engaging with hundreds of connections with a common interest at the same time, and by far one of the most productive ways of building productive relationships. However, for best results you need to find out the groups that are not only active but also have a high level of interaction between members.
For businesses that want to explore opportunities on the social media, LinkedIn represents the most rewarding experience for B2B marketing because its users are usually focused on professional improvement rather than lifestyle and entertainment. All you need to do is to consciously increase the number of high quality connections and engage with them with relevant and useful content to raise your profile. Sooner or later you will be able to convert promising leads to sales.
This guest post was written by SandeepVyas, a social media marketing consultant. As a consultant to several small and medium businesses, he recommends the use of bulk email marketing services in Mumbai as an effective strategy to increase the number of connections on LinkedIn.