Score Great Returns on Top Tips for Success on LinkedIn
Small-business owners want to increase reach and engagement. The solution might be LinkedIn, although many entrepreneurs question the platform’s benefits.
James L Katzaman
Small-business owners want to increase reach and engagement. Online, the solution might be LinkedIn, although many entrepreneurs question the platform’s benefits.
Social sales expert Beth Granger didn’t immediately jump into LinkedIn, sticking at first with her first love, Twitter. They eventually parted as friends, still seeing each other for cocktails, but for the last decade, Granger is LinkedIn’s unabashed soulmate.
The consultant, trainer and speaker works with organizations and individuals who want to fill their sales pipeline, supercharge their prospecting and networking, advance in their career and build their professional brand, all by unleashing the power of LinkedIn.
She found a willing — if not as passionate — audience with marketing experts Ivana Taylor and Iva Ignjatovic to talk about LinkedIn’s pros, cons and possibilities.
Taylor owns DIYMarketers, which is “committed to helping small business owners get out of overwhelm.” Ignjatovic specializes in strategy and business consulting.
Granger actually keeps her fingers in several social arenas.
“I still like Twitter for chats, Facebook for the groups, Tik Tok for the distraction and Clubhouse for the conversation,” she said.
Taylor uses LinkedIn a couple times a week. Her goal is to connect with people who she can refer to.
“I’m really looking to create better connections with perhaps more of the medium-sized businesses rather than just consultants, expanding my connections and engagement,” she said. “I definitely prefer LinkedIn messages. Even though I get a lot of spam, somehow I seem to catch the good ones.”
Eventually, Taylor hopes to get into the LinkedIn app at least once per day.
Potent Live Streams
LinkedIn Marketing has found that brands get seven times more reactions and 24 times more comments on LinkedIn live streams than regular video.
“You know I use LinkedIn every single day,” Granger said. “It’s the extension of my networking, marketing and sales behaviors. You can find really interesting conversations by searching by keyword or following people who are not using it that way.
“Clubhouse is a great partner product to LinkedIn,” she said. “You can meet people in a conversation there and then connect on LinkedIn or vice versa.”
Ignjatovic acknowledges that even small but steady activity provides results, even as the platform induces a host of congratulations with each profile tweak.
“There is a setting that won’t announce profile changes, but unscrupulous advisors — or those who were taught poorly — will still find you via search or automated search,” Granger said.
As a business owner, Taylor has found that she gets so much spam that she sometimes misses valuable connections.
“Once you have a large audience with lots of connections — and their connections — the interaction gets complicated and saturated,” Ignjatovic said.
DIYMarketers helps to navigate through the fog with its article, “How to Generate Leads With LinkedIn Sales Navigator.”
“My clients tell me they don’t know how to use LinkedIn effectively and are fearful of hurting their reputation,” Granger said. “The good news is that LinkedIn is hiring someone to deal with the automated spam and fake accounts.
“You can bookmark the activity page for your favorite people to bypass and see what conversations they are having,” she said. “It’s also better to post less frequently than too frequently. Posts seem to be having a longer lifespan.”
Annoying behavior irritated people to the point that Granger did a webinar: “9 LinkedIn Landmines.” It deals with things to avoid doing on LinkedIn that can hurt reputations.
“Stop the connect-and-pitch behavior,” she said. “LinkedIn is not the equivalent of cold calling. It’s more the equivalent of networking. I like to say, ‘There are no shortcuts to relationships.’”
Granger advised that those who see interactions becoming “too Facebook-like,” they might want to cull some of their connections. Along that line, she has personal guidelines for accepting connections and reaching out to them.
“If I really know the person, I accept a connection request,” Granger said. “If I can tell they are fake or automating behavior, I don’t connect. For all the others, I take the time to reply and vet them via conversation.”
Ignjatovic admits that she likes LinkedIn.
“If I could, I’d spend more time there,” she said. “I’d put more thought into the connections I want to make.”
As a professional networking site, Taylor says LinkedIn is “OK.”
“I originally was very closed with my connections because I used LinkedIn to recommend people,” she said. “Now I’ve gotten more open. I’ve really got to get it together over there.”
Social media management company Hootsuite has found that 33 percent of business-to-business decision makers use LinkedIn to research purchases.
“I love LinkedIn,” Granger said. “I get to find and engage with interesting conversations, be part of communities and so much more.”
Gauging Return On Investment
Whether it’s LinkedIn or any other platform, businesses want to accurately track their progress.
“LinkedIn provides decent analytics for company pages,” Ignjatovic said. “For personal accounts, it’s not that easy. My best suggestion is to track your Google analytics.”
DIYMarketers has a helpful post, “How to Use LinkedIn to Network [with screenshots].”
“If your goal might be to have people leave LinkedIn and go to your site, but there is such strength in continuing the conversation on LinkedIn and then taking it to a phone call or Clubhouse room — but only when you’ve earned the right,” Granger said.
“If you are already on LinkedIn, it’s like being at a party and continuing to talk versus saying, ‘Hey, let’s leave and go to the diner,’” she said. “Even on the free app, you see the most recent five people who looked at your profile, as long as you are not set to ‘Anonymous’ when you visit someone’s profile.”
Business owners should avoid doing certain things on LinkedIn.
“I see too many personal posts,” Taylor said. “Yes, your network wants to know you, but I wish people would avoid politics and stick to business posts.”
Content Marketing Institute finds that 96 percent of business-to-business content marketers use LinkedIn for organic social marketing.
“I look for the type of experience people have and what companies they’ve worked for,” Taylor said.
DIYMarketers helps with such information in its post, “How to Write a LinkedIn Summary That Will Make Prospects Fall in Love With You.”
Why They Are There
“People on LinkedIn look for business opportunities, or to hire someone,” Ignjatovic said. “I like to think that they are also on LinkedIn to expand their professional network and knowledge.”
Reasons for being on LinkedIn vary from user to user.
“They could be looking for industry insights, competitive analysis, what’s up with prospects, networking and to keep up with referral partners,” Granger said.
To be most effective on LinkedIn, Taylor and Ignjatovic agreed that people and business owners should have engaging and useful profiles, share relevant content and always add a personal point of view when sharing something.
“Help me get to know you as a person,” Taylor said.
Granger also has tips for a good profile.
“Use all the real estate LinkedIn provides to tell your story,” she said. “It’s one of the few places where you control the message about yourself.”
Taylor added, “LinkedIn is the perfect place to feature your customers and clients.”
For gathering information, DIYMarketers has an article, “How to Use LinkedIn for Competitive Intelligence Like Sherlock Holmes.”
“The list is long for being your best,” Ignjatovic said. “Get your customer’s URL, complete the summary section and be mindful about your skills. Create your business page and optimize it.”
“I read a lot of content about LinkedIn,” Ignjatovic said. “People also share best practices that I adapt to my needs.”
Strive to Be Human
Granger emphasizes the personal touch for engagements.
“I treat them as if I was meeting people in person, asking myself if I would say that thing or take that action in person,” she said. “To further help engagement, there are lots of new LinkedIn features rolling out such as cover story, creator mode and personal pronouns.”
Granted a wish, Taylor would like to see more businesses have access to LinkedIn Live.
“More small businesses would try LinkedIn ads if they were not so expensive,” Ignjatovic said. “More would use the Sales Navigator, but it’s expensive as well, especially in this economy.”
Granger countered by noting return on investment.
“If using LinkedIn Ads successfully gets you one client worth more than what you pay for ads, it’s worth it,” she said. “It’s like a gym membership. It works if you go. Plus, Sales Navigator has a big learning curve.”
With all its good points, Granger as a list of LinkedIn desires:
- Ability to go live into a group
- Better group moderation features
- Consistency between mobile and desktop
- Ability to see someone’s stories from their profile.
“You can bookmark the activity page of people you respect and who share good stuff,” Granger said. “Then you can bypass the feed to see what they are doing.”
For more interactions, Granger has a Clubhouse room typically once a week where the group talks about all things LinkedIn. She also has a newsletter on LinkedIn and frequently goes live there through her profile.
James L Katzaman
Jim Katzaman is a charter member of the Tealfeed Creators' program, focusing on marketing and its benefits for companies and consumers. Connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn as well as subscribing here on Tealfeed.