by Richard Kirby, Executive Impact

When I joined LinkedIn (LI) in 2003, there were less than half a million subscribers. As of January 2013, they now boast over 200 million. LI has become, without question, THE online social network for business.

Are you and your business leveraging the phenomenal potential of LI? In this article, you will learn four key strategies that will gain you new customers and revenues you never knew were possible.

Strategy 1: Attract new prospects by increasing your online visibility. Similar to SEO for your company web site, a more “findable” LI profile will insure that more prospects find your offerings 24/7/365. With 90%+ of buyers researching online before making purchases, it is critical they find you in their LI search results.

So, what can you do to improve your “rank” in LI searches? First, broaden your network by inviting desirable contacts to connect and accepting such invitations when offered. Second, follow the recommendations LI offers when you log on and add information to complete your profile. Third, add to your profile keywords that prospects are likely to use when searching for your products and services (see my profile as an example).

Strategy 2: Encourage prospects to contact you by increasing your LI credibility. Once you have increased your visibility, it is critical that you create an attractive first impression. Major sources of credibility are endorsements and recommendations. Endorsements are likely to come organically from satisfied customers and positive business relationships. Recommendations, on the other hand, will require focused action.

Here is an action plan for increasing your credibility:  Start by making a list of your most satisfied customers and asking them to provide you a recommendation. Better yet, write a brief two- or three-sentence suggested recommendation, send it to them, and ask that they modify it or use it as provided. As you receive recommendations, elect to show them on your profile so visitors can view them.

Strategy 3: Establish and/or improve your LI company page. The previous strategies referred to your individual LI profile. If you are a solo entrepreneur or the principle in a very small company, this may be sufficient. If you are not, then you should create and fully populate a separate company page. You can find information to guide you through the creation of a company page by clicking on Help Center at the bottom of LI pages and entering “company page” in the search bar of the subsequent Help Center page.

Strategy 4: Identify prospective clients and reach out to engage them. You can find prospects on the Advanced People Search page utilizing keywords, company names, job titles, etc. With over 200 million users, you can find many people you desire to engage through these searches.

Don’t have the time or need some help to enact a more effective implementation of these or other business development strategies? Check with REV Demand to see how they may be able to assist you. Good luck and happy selling!

Since 2002, Richard Kirby, CMC, CPC, has been a full time career consultant (coach) to C-level and mid-level managers seeking improvements in their careers.  Richard’s expertise includes career assessments, goals definition, self-marketing strategies, business networking, strategic interviewing, and compensation negotiations. Richard is a member of the Georgia Career Development Association, the Society for Human Resource Management, and the Institute of Management Consultants.  You can learn more about Executive Impact at http://www.executive-impact.com.

Tara is focused on her clients and the need to get their messaging out in the best way possible. Her guidance and advice come from experience and expertise in effective communication to clients and prospects. Her advice to me over the years has been extremely helpful. Tara is a professional in every sense of the word! | David Shavzin

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