Are you ready to supercharge your efforts on LinkedIn?
Want to use LinkedIn in a way that actually results in more clients, leads, and sales?
In this post, I’m going to show you exactly how to use LinkedIn for business, in 2021 and beyond.
(By the way, if you’re brand-new to the platform and have no idea what LinkedIn is or where to start, check out my post What is LinkedIn Used For?).
How to Use LinkedIn for Business: 10 Effective Strategies
There are so many great LinkedIn features and strategies you could be using…so where do you start? Following are 10 of the most effective ways to use LinkedIn for business.
1. Make Sure Your Profile is Professional-looking and 100% Complete.
We need to start by going back to basics.
Your LinkedIn profile is the hub of your account. It’s where people are going to go to learn more about you. Think of it as your digital resume.
There is some evidence that LinkedIn favors profiles that are completely filled out, so it’s definitely worth your time and effort!
Some basic tips: Use a professional-looking headshot for your profile picture, and create a custom cover image. Choose a killer headline to grab people’s attention, and make sure you provide links back to your website (preferably to a custom landing page just for your LinkedIn visitors).
I also strongly recommend clearly articulating who you work with, and how you can help them. For instance, here’s a section I have on my profile:
These tips are just the beginning! For a complete walkthrough of setting up your profile, check out my post, 10 Steps to Your Perfect LinkedIn Profile.
2. Optimize your Profile for Search.
It’s rare that you would Google someone’s name and not have their LinkedIn profile show up near the top of the search results.
But ideally, you’ll also want to get found in both Google and LinkedIn Search for keywords related to your business.
For instance, if you’re a social media manager, you’ll want to make sure you’re including key phrases potential clients or employers might be looking for: like social media manager (obviously), social media management, community manager, Facebook specialist, etc.
Use these keywords in your current position summary, headline, custom URL, and then of course throughout the other sections of your profile.
For more guidance on this, check out my post, How to Choose the Right Keywords for Your LinkedIn Profile.
3. Create a Company Page.
Just like on Facebook, you can create a page for your business on LinkedIn. Your page will be the hub of your business on LinkedIn, and will allow you to communicate directly with your followers as your brand.
To create your page, simply click on the “Work” icon at the top of your screen, and then scroll down to “Create a Company Page +”.
You’ll then be guided through the process of setting up your page. You’ll be able to customize everything from your logo, company description, specialties, type of company, year established, industry, blog URL, and much more.
As with your personal profile, you can use your business page to gain new connections (they’re called Followers on pages), share valuable content, and become known in your field. As you read through the rest of the tips in this post, just know many can be used for both your personal account and your company page!
4. Make Strategic Connections
Building a strong network of connections is one of the most important things you do on LinkedIn.
Many people focus on adding as many connections as they can. They do this by accepting all connection requests, and sending requests to pretty much anyone and everyone they come across!
This can be a good strategy, as you never know where these connections could lead.
However, there’s also something to be said for being strategic about who you’re connecting with.
One of my favorite strategies is to identify companies I’d like to work with, and then connect with key players at those companies.
For instance, if I wanted to make a connection at the Bank of America, I’d start typing Bank of America into the search bar, and then select “In People”. This will show me a list of people who have identified as working at BOA.
To dig down even deeper, you can also include job titles in your search: for instance, “bank of America” VP.
You can now send connection requests to those people, and start getting on the radar of your dream companies or clients!
5. Get Recommendations and Endorsements.
Great testimonials are still (and will always be) the key to the kingdom!
Prospects are more likely to buy from someone who comes recommended than someone who does not. In fact, people will even go out of their way to work with someone who comes recommended…simply because of the endorsement.
On LinkedIn, you can get both recommendations and endorsements. Recommendations are written testimonials, while endorsements are when people verify that you have a certain skill.
Try to build a diverse range of recommendations, from clients and customers to joint venture partners and other industry experts. LinkedIn actually lets you request recommendations: simply go to the recommendations section on someone’s profile, and click the “Ask for a recommendation” link.
You’ll then get a popup box that lets you personalize your request:
In terms of getting endorsements, start by selecting a bunch of skills to show on your profile. These are skills you’re competent in: for instance, public speaking, management, HR, social media marketing, etc.
While there’s no built-in way to request endorsements, one very effective strategy is to endorse other people’s skills. When you do this, they’ll receive a notification, and are then likely to return the favor.
Getting endorsements isn’t just about patting your own back or looking good! We know that as you get more endorsements, LinkedIn’s algorithm actually gives your profile more weight. And this means people who are looking for your skills are more likely to find you. And who doesn’t want that?
6. Be a Helper in Industry Groups.
Joining and participating in industry groups is a fantastic way to make new connections and become a trusted expert in your field.
While most groups won’t allow you to blatantly promote your business or products (something I wouldn’t recommend anyway), they can be a great channel for sharing information, answering questions, and just getting to know people in your niche.
I recommend joining two different types of groups in order to increase leads and sales.
First, think about where your ideal customer or clients hangs out on LinkedIn. What topics are they interested in? What problems are they struggling with?
For instance, if your target market is parents, search for “parenting”, and then select “Groups” from the “More” dropdown list. You’ll now see a wide range of groups you could join.
I also recommend joining industry groups where you can get to know other professionals in your niche. For instance, as a parenting coach, you might want to join a group specifically for coaches or parenting educators; or as a marketer, you may want to join groups specifically for marketers, social media managers, or even just a general group for entrepreneurs.
7. Share Valuable Content.
A recent LinkedIn Live I did
Whether you want to share valuable information within a group or with your connections, give people something worth their time.
LinkedIn is a great tool to help you showcase your expertise and share your knowledge with business owners who are seeking what you know. Become the go-to person in your niche!
There are currently 3 ways you can share content on LinkedIn:
Posts: These are text, image or video-based updates you share with your connections. Posts are best for sharing shorter content, like quick tips or a link to a blog post.
Articles: If you want to share a full article with your connections (instead of putting it on your blog), this is the way to go.
LinkedIn Lives: This is my favorite format these days! You currently have to apply to have this feature. However, if you’re lucky enough to get it, USE it! It’s an AMAZING tool for doing Q&As, getting to know your audience, and directing people to your paid products or services.
8. Move Leads Offline ASAP.
If you’re serious about using LinkedIn to get leads, clients and sales, pay attention!
Social media is amazing, but to land big contracts and get lucrative offers, I strongly recommend moving your communications OFF LinkedIn as soon as possible.
This could mean setting up a phone or Zoom call, a meeting at your office, or even just a casual lunch meeting.
This is one of the best ways to stand out among the many conversations and connections your prospects will have on LinkedIn!
9. Use InMail to Reach Out to People You’re Not Connected with.
Imagine finding your IDEAL client or customer on LinkedIn, but then not being able to send them a message?
Unfortunately, LinkedIn only allows you to send a private message to people you’re connected with.
One way around this is to use InMail. When you upgrade to a premium LinkedIn account, you get a certain number of InMail credits per month. For instance, with the Business Plan you can send up to 15 private messages, and with the Sales Plan you can send up to 20.
Use these messages as an opportunity to introduce yourself, start a conversation, and potentially set up a meeting or call (see #8).
Some best practices for InMail, according to LinkedIn, are:
- Do some research on the recipient and then personalize your message based on their interests and experience
- Use an attention-grabbing subject line
- Keep it brief: Aim for 150 words or less
- Use a strong call to action: For instance, “I’d love to set up a brief meeting next week. Do you have availability on Tuesday or Wednesday?”
10. Give Before Receiving.
This isn’t so much a specific strategy as it is an overarching best practice: give before asking others to help you out.
Similar to other social media platforms, your success relies on your ability to make true connections.
There’s nothing worse than getting a brand-new connection request, and then having that person spam you with offers or other promotional content!
Remember that your goal is to build relationships and serve your audience. Make it clear that you’re ready and willing to help others by sharing their content, giving them endorsements and recommendations, and giving them referrals when you can.
If you consistently serve your audience on LinkedIn, it WILL pay off in terms of leads, clients and sales!
I trust this post has inspired you to start using LinkedIn for your business. I would love to know: Are you using Linked for business? Why or why not? Share below!