As a B2B business, if I could only choose one social media network to work with, I would choose LinkedIn. It is far and away the most useful platform out there for businesses to connect with other businesses.
Facebook and Twitter are great in their own respects, but LinkedIn can do so much to help your business blossom. Below are 21 different ways you can use LinkedIn to grow your B2B business.
1. Gather Insights On Prospects
Of course, it is good to know which groups your prospects contribute to and which companies they are connected with. Finding a common group makes getting a foot in the door a lot easier.
Unlike other social networks, LinkedIn was practically built for gathering insight. Company pages offer valuable information on companies like when they were founded, how many employees they have, and which LinkedIn members are key players.
– Use the Advanced Search function to locate prospects based on their relationships, groups, location, and industry.
– View these LinkedIn search tips to better refine your search results.
2. Reach Out To Prospects
Who likes cold calling anyway? Put down the phone and log into your LinkedIn profile.
When you reach out to new prospects, make sure you tailor your message. Melonie Dodaro, Social Media Examiner contributor, reiterates that, “A great first impression with your prospects on LinkedIn should leave them with an interest in your service and a willingness to continue communication.”
– Consider using InMail to reach out to prospects.
– Greet your prospects by name, and be clear and concise in the body of the message.
– Tailor your message to their preferences and entice them to seek more information.
3. Create A Company Page
This is a must. While you are looking at other company pages to gather insight, potential customers are looking at your company page for the same reasons.
Besides having up-to-date information, make sure you highlight your products and services, and take advantage of the company page Overview tab. It’s a place where you can give customers a taste of your brand.
– Make the most of your overview tab. This is the first impression users will get of your brand.
– Showcase your products and services.
4. Tell Your Company Story
Use your company page and the content you post to inspire customers and create a connection by sharing your company story.
Stories stick with people, even more so than numbers. Statistics alone are hard to remember, but stories can make a lasting impression because they evoke emotion. A great story can differentiate your brand.
– Develop your own “why?”. Be transparent about why you are doing what you are doing.
– Telling your company story is like an elevator pitch. Keep it short and sweet, and try to trigger emotion.
5. Search (And Connect With) Industry Influencers
Connecting with just one industry influencer can make a huge difference and open a lot of different doors.
Before asking to connect with them directly, consider “gently” reaching out to them. The more familiar they are with you the better, so join a group they are in or comment on a post—something to get your name out there.
– Use LinkedIn Influencers to find the top minds in your industry.
– After connecting, endorse your influencers to start building a relationship and to show them you value their expertise.
– You can both learn a lot from connecting with influencers, and you can boost your own brand’s reputation in the process.
6. Find The Right Vendors
If you need a new web designer or an SEO expert, you don’t have to rely on asking your colleagues if they know of anybody. LinkedIn makes it easy to track down vendors that can help you with both the smaller and the bigger business projects.
– Join groups like this one to join networks specifically made for hooking up businesses with quality vendors.
– Post an update asking for a referral.
7. Keep In Touch With Loyal Customers
As your business grows, it will become harder and harder to give each customer the attention that he or she deserves. It takes time and effort to maintain relationships.
LinkedIn makes it easier to stay in touch with loyal customers. They are literally just a click away. No need to go searching for contact information in a huge database.
Keeping customers is the name of the game, and reaching out via LinkedIn once in a while helps you do that.
– Make note of the important events/milestones coming up for your long-term customers, and on the day of the event, give them a shout out.
– When messaging a client, always address them by name, keep a conversational tone, and show your appreciation.
8. Answer Questions
Update your company status or post to a LinkedIn group saying that you’re available for any and all industry questions. Then see how you can help. Doing this could spark a conversation, and it could give you an excuse to demonstrate your knowledge on a topic.
Sometimes you have to give away free insight to get prospects hooked.
– Ask a question publically to a group or with an update.
– Or target specific people in your contact list to send a message to.
9. Raise Funding
If you need funding for a new project, LinkedIn is a quality place to go. You can either create a new company page for your project or you can promote that project from your current company page.
Either way, make sure you attract like-minded people and that you focus on building relationships. Treat it like any other advertising campaign and call customers into action.
– Research contacts that are most likely to contribute funds. Don’t waste your time sending InMail to people completely uninterested.
– Integrate your LinkedIn with CRM systems like Zoho to develop a system to track your outreach.
10. Ask For Testimonials
Need a few new customer quotes for your homepage?
Or maybe you’re looking to revamp your “customer experiences” section.
Having all your customers in one place is a huge advantage when you’re looking to grab a few quotes from businesses that have had great experiences working with you. You know right where to find them, and they don’t have to go out of their way to get back to you, increasing the chances of them giving you a few valuable quotes.
– Reach out to a loyal customer or post an update in a group that knows you and your services well. Then see how they respond.
11. Share Expertise
This one isn’t exactly a secret. If you can demonstrate to your connections that you know what you’re doing through status updates and group posts, you could snag a few new leads. At the very least, you will start building a solid reputation—which always pays itself off in the long run.
– Create posts that are industry specific.
– Curate interesting content around themes and topics using a tool like Spundge.
12. Monitor Competition
Just like gathering customer insight, you can monitor what your competition is doing.
Follow your competitors’ pages to see what they’re talking about and to browse their connections. Track down sales reps from your competitors and see who you have in common. You can even see if your clients are connected with any competitors.
– Before scouring through a competitor’s profile, change your viewing settings to anonymous.
– View connections, groups, recent hires, and the company statistics page to gain a wealth of valuable information.
13. Grow Your Network
Especially when you’re first establishing a brand, the more people you can connect with and have in your network the better.
Constantly look for connection opportunities and participate in groups. Be intentional with when you are active on LinkedIn. Members tend to be more active in the afternoon than in the morning, and they are more likely to use mobile in the evenings.
– Begin updating your status frequently and consistently.
– Focus your online efforts during times when you have the best chance to be seen.
14. Establish A Group
Establishing a group of your own can be beneficial in many ways.
It helps you build thought leadership. “Based off of perception alone, the owner is the thought leader for that group’s niche,” says Lewis Howes, online marketing expert.
In addition, Lewis talks about how establishing a group can drive traffic to your site and that it helps build more connections. “I get roughly 15-20 new invites to connect (as a 1st degree connection) everyday. Most of them come from my group. Why? People love to connect with the community leader.”
– Create a name with relevant industry keywords.
– Design a logo that fits the small, standardised logo sise.
– Invite coworkers, colleagues, and customers to join the discussion!
15. Upload Presentations
Not only is it a different, more visual way to share content, you can tag your presentations to attract a certain audience, and you can monitor basic analytics to see which presentations are most popular.
– Create a presentation on a topic you are an expert on.
– Drive viewers to your presentation even after its initial launch.
16. Create A Poll
If you ever need new blogging content or have run out of ideas about what to post, ask your connections what they want to see.
Creating a poll is easy. It can provide valuable insight, and it encourages connections to engage with you. While LinkedIn Polls are no longer supported, you can use other surveying tools like SurveyMonkey or Pollsnack.
– Design a survey and update your followers with the link or post it to a group.
– Get creative with your polls and don’t be afraid to ask a fun question that lets your brand’s personality shine.
17. Request Recommendations
“Recommendations offer a type of ‘social proof’ that shows potential customers that you can be trusted, since other users support your business,” says Maureen McCabe of McCabe Marketing.
In real life, it may seem rude to ask clients to recommend your products or services, but on LinkedIn, it’s completely acceptable. In fact, you should request recommendations from your clients.
-Send a message to your connections to encourage them to review your products or services.
– Start recommending other people and they’ll be more apt to return the favor.
18. Perform Background Checks
Hiring new employees is stressful because we all know how costly a bad hire can be.
If you’re stuck between two candidates, browse through their contacts and consider reaching out to a former boss that wasn’t necessarily listed on the candidate’s references. You could get an unscripted response that could help with the decision.
– Search like you would to find a competitor or an influencer and screen the employee yourself.
– Or use LinkedIn to find resources like Choice Screening to give you a more thorough analysis of your candidate.
19. Promote Products And Services
Of course, like with any social network, LinkedIn is a platform you can use to promote your products or services.
Do so sparingly though and only if it is relevant to a conversation. People see enough ads as it is and don’t necessarily want their connections pushing products at them.
– Pick and choose when to plug in a promo, but keep focusing on great content.
– Include visuals as much as possible. LinkedIn isn’t a very visual network, so splashes of color can help grab attention.
20. Target Your Posts
The better you can narrow down a target audience for your posts, the better your reach will be.
With LinkedIn you can target an audience based on company sise, industry, function, seniority, or geography. Be careful not to target too narrowly and miss potential audiences, but certainly take advantage of being able to select the kinds of companies you are trying to reach.
– Use LinkedIn Showcase pages to reach more targeted followers.
21. Thank Your Customers
A single thank you can go a long way.
Here at Louder.Online, we have had the pleasure of working with many great businesses. Not only do we thank them for the opportunity to get to know them, we also want to thank you, a loyal blog reader.
It feels great to be a part of an awesome online community of people who are nuts about SEO, social media, and all things content marketing . . . just like we are.
– Show your customers how much you appreciate them!
LinkedIn was made for businesses, and you can see why. The network lets you do everything from raising funds for a new project to targeting specific people with your posts. These 21 examples are hardly an exhaustive list, so give the topic some thought and see what you come up with.
How is your business using LinkedIn to stimulate growth?
Share your thoughts in the comments.