Does your business spend a huge chunk of its marketing budget on social media?
Is your business spending numerous man-hours on Facebook or Twitter, trying to attract new customers?
You are not alone. Giving you company are your competitors. The customers you target are just as likely to be targeted by them.
The Smarter Way to Quality Clients
Enter LinkedIn. Contrast it with Facebook and Twitter. While the latter are primarily ‘personal’ social relationships oriented, the former is completely professional. You have decision-makers, business owners and executives dotting its pages.
On LinkedIn you get quality clients. Everybody means business (spammers excluded). This isn’t true for Facebook and Twitter.
In this post, I’ll show you how you can attract new quality leads on LinkedIn, without spending a penny. All you’ve got to do is…
Optimize Your Profile
If you are a sales executive, a small business owner or an entrepreneur, the ten profile improvement tips given below will help you improve sales and increase your customer base.
Implementing these tips won’t take long, two hours tops. But, it will create a perpetual source of quality inbound leads. Moreover, the best customers are those that approach you, without you having sought them out.
#1 Upload a Professional Photo
What does your current LinkedIn profile photo look like? Is it professional enough? When potential clients land on your profile, your photo is one of the first things they see. Will they think: ‘Here’s someone I can trust with my business!’? If not, change your photo today.
Here are some pointers that’ll help you make a good first impression:
- Upload a good quality photo (no full-lengths).
- Formals work best.
- Be wary of what is in your surrounding. It’s funny how random stuff turns up in the backdrop of images. A blank, white wall or something equally safe is a good idea.
- Get a professional photographer to take a photo, if you feel the need.
#2: Write a Killer Headline
LinkedIn allows you to include up to 120 characters in your headline. Use as many as you can. Here are three reasons why:
- Descriptive headlines tend to make a greater impact. For instance, ‘Consultant’ doesn’t have the same punch as ‘Social Media and Content Strategist, Keynote Speaker, and Bestselling Author’.
- Keywords used in your headline help you show up in search results. More the keywords you use, better your chances of showing up in searches.
- Based on a heatmap study done in 2011, your headline gets more attention than your photo. In other words, your headline on LinkedIn is the most important part of your profile – use it to sell yourself. Feel free to tweet that statement.
#3 Create a Custom URL
LinkedIn allows you to set a custom URL for your profile. By default, your link is a long alphanumeric entity. You can, however, change it to anything you wish – preferably your name.
See the screenshots for help. This customization will allow you to share your LinkedIn profile in your email signature and on your business card.
#4 Get Creative with Website Links
LinkedIn allows you to share up to three website links on your profile. Most people use just one (or none). I’d suggest using the first one for your business website. You are free to use the second and third as you see fit.
From a sales perspective, I’d suggest changing it often. For instance, if there’s a survey your company’s running, use one of the links to link to the survey page or you could add your newsletter subscription link there.
Also, use these links as call to actions, by giving your potential customers something to do. ‘Download a case study’, ‘Take our small business survey’, ‘Subscribe to our newsletter’…you get the drift?
#5 Tell Your Story
Use the summary section of your LinkedIn profile to showcase your expertise. Again, don’t be afraid to be descriptive and use keywords liberally (don’t compromise on readability, though).
A great LinkedIn summary generally covers your background, your current position, your passion and ends with a call to action.
Most people forget to include a CTA. If someone has invested time in reading through your summary, they’ll be more inclined to answer your call to action. Ask them to connect with you or contact you for more information – use a CTA that’d drive sales.
#6 Update Your Experience
Fill in your past and present positions in the ‘Experience section’. Describe your responsibilities and successes at each position. People want to know that they’d be dealing with a person they can trust.
P.S. Don’t forget to use keywords.
#7 Add Your Education
Showcase your education. Include any extra courses you’ve taken along with your vanilla degree.
The biggest benefit of including your education is the ability to tap into your alumni network. Chances are that most of your institute’s alumni are placed in companies, or have businesses that could use your services. Adding them is a great way to attract and approach qualified leads.
#8 Ask for Recommendations
Recommendations on your profile increase your credibility to a prospective client who’s dropping by.
Most people have recommendations from colleagues and classmates and while these are good to have, the best recommendations come from clients. If you can get good recommendations from satisfied clients on your LinkedIn profile, you are golden.
#9 Select and Add Relevant Skills
LinkedIn allows you to add 50 skills to your profile. Adding skills to your profile helps you showcase your expertise. Don’t overdo it, though – adding 50 will make you look spammy. Skills also serve as keyword additions to your profile, thus improving your chances of showing up in results.
Another huge advantage of adding skills to your profile: you show up on the skill’s page. Every skill has its own page on LinkedIn and it features users who’ve added that skill. So, that’s another way to get found by prospects.
#10 Endorse Others
This one ties into point no. 9. LinkedIn recently introduced the Endorse feature, wherein LinkedIn users can endorse each other for their skills.
Endorsements are a great alternative to recommendations (though not as powerful). Go ahead and endorse others and they’ll surely reciprocate. However, be honest with your endorsements and only endorse people for the skills you know they possess.
What are your thoughts on these pointers? Is there anything else you do to improve lead generation via LinkedIn? Share it with other readers in the comment box below.
Share, tweet and spread the word. Also, subscribe to this blog’s feed to receive an update when I add another useful and awesome post for your business.