LinkedIn is the perfect place for business-to-business (B2B) engagement. However, you need to know the right way to approach doing business on LinkedIn, otherwise you could end up on spam lists rather than closing deals.
As with all social media interaction, content and context is important. You need to have something to say and you need to know to whom and when you say it. Social media gives you an opportunity to actually engage prospects in conversation rather than just shout at them through an ad, so why would you abuse that privilege?
Understand that people are on LinkedIn for either reasons related to their personal professional development (looking for new jobs, keeping up with colleagues, etc) or for work-related research and tasks. Spamming them with a crass sales pitch will rarely work. Finding common ground and presenting useful information will.
LinkedIn has become the number one forum for B2B research and exchange. It is a great place to display your wares and let potential customers know what you do. Follow these four simple guidelines and you’ll be on the way to boosting your B2B engagement through LinkedIn.
Customise your message
Generic comments, bland posts and spammy inmails just don’t cut it. People see through that type of thing straight away and will have you pegged either as a desperado or some kind of spambot. If you’re going to engage someone in a conversation, it has to be relevant to their concerns. If you want to leave a comment on something someone has posted, make it worthwhile. If you’re writing a post, address a pain point or share real lessons.
Authenticity will always win out. It may be harder work than just copy-pasting the same generic message to a thousand different people, but your chances of actually striking up a conversation and qualifying leads will increase tenfold when you cultivate connections.
Start producing broad and narrow content
LinkedIn has become a massive publishing platform. This means you have the chance to share your company’s message as well as your knowledge and ideas with a huge audience. It also means there’s plenty of competition for eyeballs on LinkedIn, so make your content count by writing about what your clients want to know about.
Sure, you can write broad-themed posts about your industry trends and the like, but make sure to also drill down into very specific areas of your expertise. This is where you are more likely to strike gold because you’re demonstrating your unique insight into a problem or field. You might get more “likes” for a broader themed topic, but specifics that speak in concrete terms about a problem will resonate more with potential clients.
Tap into your network
You might be surprised by who is in your network and how they might be able to help you. Spend some time looking at the connections you have and the mutual connections they have. There might be someone you can reach out to who can introduce you to a prospective client. After all, LinkedIn is about networking. Do you think you might be of value to this mutual acquaintance? If so, don’t be afraid to tap into your network to make introductions happen. Look for the mutual value in your LinkedIn network.
Bring value to the exchange
Most of all, try to bring value to your exchanges on LinkedIn. When you show value in your LinkedIn activities (comments, posts, articles, etc) you show that you’re a person who brings value to everything you do. That’s the type of person people want to do business with. Don’t waste people’s time. Show them what you’re about in a respectful and useful manner. Once you start doing that, you’ll find the contacts and leads will start rolling in.
You can help us (and help yourself)
Small and medium businesses and startups have never needed credible, independent journalism and information more than now.
That’s our job at SmartCompany: to keep you informed with the news, interviews and analysis you need to manage your way through this unprecedented crisis.
Now, there’s a way you can help us keep doing this: by becoming a SmartCompany supporter.
Even a small contribution will help us to keep doing the journalism that keeps Australia’s entrepreneurs informed.