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It is widely acknowledged that LinkedIn is THE social network of choice for business people globally. With new features and functions being added on a regular basis and user numbers growing at a phenomenal rate, it has become a highly attractive platform for people in the business-to-business (B2B) marketing game. Here are five things you should do more of to improve your interaction and engagement with clients or prospective clients on LinkedIn.
1. Ensure your profile clearly articulates your value proposition
Before you start connecting with anyone, ensure your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date and contains relevant information. Whether you are a recruiter, subject matter specialist, job seeker, business owner or a representative of a company, make sure your profile clearly articulates what you do and how you add value. If you are a supply chain specialist who has been consulting to the top five consumer goods companies for the past twenty years, then make sure this appears in your summary. Ask your current and past clients to provide recommendations and endorsements and include any awards and achievements to add more credibility.
2. Give the person a reason to connect with you
I receive many connection requests from people who use the standard LinkedIn “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn” message. This doesn’t tell me what I will get out of the “connection”. Your success rate will improve significantly if you put a little more thought into the introductory message. Articulate why you are connecting and how the person will derive value from the connection.
3. Find reasons to follow up or respond
LinkedIn provides you will numerous opportunities to follow up with connections. Here are some examples:
When a person accepts your connection request, reply to thank them for connecting and invite them to subscribe to one of your communication channels (e.g. weekly email, your blog, your Twitter account, your Facebook page or your LinkedIn group)
When someone who you are not connected to joins your LinkedIn group, send them a note welcoming them to the group, ask them what information they are interested in, send them a connection request and/or invite them to subscribe to your other communication channels
If you are posting content on a regular basis, keep an eye on who is liking, commenting and sharing your updates. If you are connected with the person, you can send them an email to thank them and to send them additional content that may interest them.
4. Introduce connections to your network
If a CIO of a mining company connects with you, take the time to identify others within your network to introduce the person to. This can also include subject matter specialists within your company. If you are responsible for marketing or sales, the subject matter specialists within your organisation will appreciate these introductions. It has been proven time and time again that business executives will more readily accept a meeting invitation when the request comes from a person they are connected with on a social network.
5. Ask for introductions from existing connections
For every new connection you make, you have access to new 2nd level connections. As you develop your LinkedIn network, it becomes easier to access 2nd level connections through existing connections. It is a simple exercise to ask for an introduction and your connections will generally assist, if you ask them nicely and provide a good reason why you would like to be introduced. This also provides a reason for you to connect with existing connections and a reason to follow up to thank the person for facilitating the introduction.
Here are a few ways you can get more out of your LinkedIn investment. The golden rule for all social networks is providing good content and regular interaction. If you constantly post relevant, topical, interesting, value-adding content, your connections will continue to share, like and comment, providing you with the opportunity to engage and interact, invite them to interact on other platforms, present additional business content, provide introductions to other like-minded individuals and invite them to engage off line.
There are many other ways to engage and interact on LinkedIn. What LinkedIn tools, features and functions do you use?