When you sit down to plan how to grow your business in the new year, should you be looking at investing more time in LinkedIn?
Do you have an account that you've not updated for a while?
Are you proactively posting content that establishes your business values and your expertise?
Do you have a strategic approach and an action plan to connect with the people and businesses that matter to you?
Are you drowning in notifications you aren't interested in and requests to connect with random people that you don't know?
To help you decide if there could be a better way to use LinkedIn in 2018, here are 10 reasons that have convinced businesses I work with that LinkedIn should be a key business development tool for them:
- Google LOVES LinkedIn, so it can be a top result in the search engine when people 'Google' your name - and you want to make the best possible first impression, don't you?
- That inbuilt search engine-friendliness makes LinkedIn a powerful tool to drive traffic to your website - and there are SO many places on LinkedIn where you can legitimately create links to pages on your website. Are you using them all?
- Would you welcome the chance to be in a room with the leaders of the businesses and organisations with which you dream of working? LinkedIn can help you reach them online and build collaborative relationships that pave the way for future work and projects.
- There are many features in your LinkedIn profile that can help you to be found by the people you want to reach and influence. Are you using them all? Are you using keywords in your headline and summary that demonstrate the difference you can make? Are you uploading rich media to add interest and relevance to your profile? Are you using all the aspects of the 'accomplishments' section, such as 'projects', 'courses', 'honours and awards' and 'organisations'?
- If you use all the options LinkedIn provides in its 'Settings & Privacy' section you can cut down (or cut out completely) lots of noise and notifications. You can also control how people communicate with you and what they can send to you.
- LinkedIn gives you access to lots of ways to measure the impact you are having with the content you create and share. It's very easy to set objectives and measure the return you are getting from the time you spend on the platform.
- Articles and updates on LinkedIn give you an opportunity to establish 'thought leadership', demonstrate expertise and experience and - importantly - to offer help and advice to others.
- LinkedIn is a business relationship builder. The benefits you get from it will be limited if all you use it for is to broadcast your own messages and content. It is the closest digital cousin to face-to-face networking and the same rules apply. You should take part in conversations, show interest and support for others and recommend and refer the businesses and people that you rate highly.
- LinkedIn is a useful research tool. It can help you discover breaking business news for your sector. You can follow the business leaders you admire and respect. You can find trusted suppliers who will provide the best value for your business. You can research the brightest and best potential employees and show them why working for you would be the right decision for them.
- The days when social media trainers advised people to connect randomly to as many people as possible on LinkedIn have (thankfully) gone. LinkedIn works best when everyone has a valid reason for requesting and accepting connection requests. There are some great ways of finding the people you need to connect with, and managing your connections. You should personalise requests to connect and look at a strategy for 'following' people to learn more about their issues and interests as a way of generating business leads.
During 2017 the businesses I have worked with to develop LinkedIn strategies and coach them on using the full potential of LinkedIn include:
- Construction companies
- Legal firms
- Business and life coaches
- Printing firms
- Web development companies
- Creative agencies
- Fitness coaches
- Education consultants
- Arists and creative businesses
It's hard to think of a type of business where LinkedIn could not help with the achievements of specific measurable goals and objectives.
On Friday, January 19, I will be running the latest of my public workshops on LinkedIn which offer three hours of high value training for just £37. It's a great way to learn about the 10 points above, and much more. For sole traders it can be all you need to kick-start a more productive way of using LinkedIn.
Larger companies may wish to send someone along to be enthused and learn about creating a LinkedIn strategy. The workshop can then be followed up, if you wish, with one-to-one bespoke coaching for your employees and the development of a bespoke action plan and creation of articles with impact aimed at engaging your ideal customers.
A maximum of 12 places are available on the January 19 workshop, which takes place from 10am to 1pm at Advantage House, Stowe Street, Lichfield, Staffordshire. For more information, and to book a place, contact me.
Here's what a few of the business owners who have attended workshops in 2017 have said about the experience.