Do you have a LinkedIn profile but want to use the platform more effectively? Do you know the best ways to network and nurture relationships online? Maybe our Leeds Trinity Business Network can help!
Our network is a thriving, informal and free network with an opportunity to make good connections, raise your profile and learn something new to grow your business. At our latest event, LinkedIn trainer Nigel Cliffe (pictured below left) shared his top tips for improving your LinkedIn profile and generating new business leads. Jess Sewter, Head of Partnership, Placements and Employment, shares her thoughts:
I thought my LinkedIn profile was pretty good – I had a decent (and recent) photograph, my bio explained what I did in my role here at Leeds Trinity, and I was using the network, although sporadically, to check out what was happening in my sector and locally in Leeds.
I attended one of Nigel's LinkedIn training sessions prior to the LTBN lunch, and I realised I actually wasn't using LinkedIn very well at all!
Nigel's first tip for LinkedIn success is to look at your Social Selling Index – everyone with a LinkedIn profile has one, and it's personal to you. You can see yours at: www.linkedin.com/sales/ssi, and you can be assured that no-one else can see it.
Everyone's SSI is a score out of 100 and mine (at the beginning of August) was 37…. Apparently I wasn't finding the right people on LinkedIn, not engaging with insights, and I only ranked in the top 20% in my industry – which I wasn't too happy with!
So I started on a mission to improve my LinkedIn profile and thanks to Nigel's tips (which I'll share below), I now have a score out of 67/100 and I'm ranked in the top 4% of my industry – all in four weeks!
Top tips for improving your profile
1. Be found
Decide what you want to talk about on LinkedIn – what are your areas of expertise? What do you want people to know you for? What are you mostly interested in? – And start talking about it!
Post updates, like other people's updates, reach out to relevant people and only accept requests from people you'd like to connect with – essentially be strategic about your social media and curate your LinkedIn profile to fully represent you and your business, expertise, product, service, etc.
2. Tell stories
As Nigel says, 'the concept of selling is sooooo yesterday' – we live in a world of influence and engagement where consumers know exactly what they want (because they've researched it before even thinking about making a purchase) and they really don't like to be sold to. So what can you do? Use LinkedIn to sell your professional story – why do you do what you do? What is the impact of your product or service? How does it solve other people's problems?
Search engines like Google and social media platforms like LinkedIn love story-driven content and if it's useful content, they'll reward you through their algorithms by making sure that it's seen by the most relevant people. It's a win-win situation!
3. Sort your profile
Make sure your photo is professional – wear the clothes you'd wear to work, have a plain background, make eye contact with the camera and smile!
Don't be tempted to put qualification abbreviations after your name – there are plenty of other opportunities to do this on LinkedIn.
Use your bio – or your 15-second digital elevator pitch (as described by Nigel) – to describe the impact of your product or service – not just your job title and what you do.
Make sure your location reflects where you want your business, not just where you live. And if you want to do business across the whole of the country enter 'UK' in the postcode box and it your location will default to 'United Kingdom'.
Utilise your background image and make it relevant to you.
You should have already decided what you want to talk about on LinkedIn and as a result your feed will display more relevant content for you. Your audience will also have a better understanding of your areas of expertise and what you can do for them. So now's the time to start engaging, and a huge thank you to Nigel for sharing his LinkedIn Engagement Funnel!
Start off by attracting people – increase your activity by liking, sharing and commenting on other people's posts, and publish your own content including posts, blogs, images and videos.
Then engage – create interest by providing knowledge, ask questions and be interested in other people. Add relevant connections and follow thought-leaders for intelligence gathering.
Thirdly, nurture – be credible, build trust, educate and be consistent. Never sell. Always engage and build awareness. This may be a slow process but when your target customers decide they're ready, you'll be the first person they come to.
And finally, close – develop new, relevant relationships that turn leads into opportunities. Take the relationship off LinkedIn and move to email conversations, phone calls and face-to-face meetings.
So what are you waiting for? Use Nigel's tips wisely and embrace LinkedIn as the social media platform for B2B sales!
A huge thank you to Nigel for delivering such an informative session – I look forward to seeing you at the next LTBN lunch in October where we'll be discussing video marketing. View photographs from our September event by joining our Leeds Trinity Business Network on Facebook - we're a very friendly bunch!