Beyond being a springboard to find a job, the social network LinkedIn has become a tool to boost marketingof any company of any size, promote labor ties between professional colleagues and even train and increase employability by acquiring new skills.
Its use is available to anyone, but the strong competition that is breathed within it makes it difficult for most beginners to gain a foothold. Especially now, when the covid-19 has complicated the way of relating in a traditional way in favor of digital methods and, therefore, the number of users of the platform does not stop growing
About 32 million more during this year, until reach 722 million profiles, according to data from Microsoft, the owner of the social network since 2016. As entrepreneurs, it is important to develop an adapted strategy to the platform, for that very reason, in recent years specific consultancies have been born that show the path that businesses should follow to get the most out of it.
“It’s a gold mine,” underlines Javier Gómez, an expert in LinkedIn and social selling ( social selling , in English), a commercial method that consists of forging strong labor ties during the sales or contracting processes through social networks .
Gómez does not doubt the effectiveness of this network, but stresses that to obtain a greater benefit from it, one must know how to extract this precious metal with several basic concepts.
One of them is that it is not a sales platform, but a website to weave labor relations, that is, networking . “If you’re going to use LinkedIn to sell, forget about going to just talk about the product. Social selling should be used ”, explains Gómez.
That is, to generate relationships with potential customers so that, when they need a product or service, the company is the first that comes to mind.
The also specialist Ángeles Carsi, from the consulting firm Triunfa with LinkedIn, emphasizes that this network is a gigantic database of professionals and that Spain is the fourth country in Europe in number of subscribers (more than 13 million), according to the estimates of its company.
Being inside and knowing how to deal with it will be essential to survive in the business world of the future. What are the first steps these experts recommend?
Six tips to get started
1. Take care of the brand. Clarity and simplicity are the best pattern to follow. The first thing that will be seen will be the profile, so it is essential to take care of the user’s photograph, as well as the banner , that is, the rectangular image that heads the LinkedIn page.
Everything must breathe professionalism. Theirs is that these images are made specifically for this network. You also have to be careful with the description (both personal and business) and contact details.
2. Connect with the right people. Before adding contacts, you have to narrow down what you are looking for on LinkedIn: find out about what is happening in the sector, do public relations, hire or be hired, among other issues. Knowing this will guide the employer or company when looking for the users that interest them most.
To find them, it is best to do a selective crawl with keywords: by economic sector, by location and even through a specific company. Experts advise using Boolean operators (also called logical) to be more efficient.
This search system is based on including symbols or words to discard the results that do not interest. For example, if you are looking for a company specializing in Mustang cars (a sports model of the Ford brand), you should write “Mustang not animal”.
This “not” will exclude all possible results that refer to the breed of the horse that also receives that name, so only automobile results will appear.
Having a greater number of contacts does not mean having a better chance of success. Gomez is blunt. Quality must prevail over quantity to gain visibility.
“Having a thousand Korean contacts will not only not benefit you (unless you are actively doing business with Korea and publish in Korean), but it will also prevent other Spanish contacts from seeing your activity,” says Gómez.
3. Share interesting content. LinkedIn is a perfect platform to advertise products and services, always taking into account the keys of social selling and interspersing this type of information of a more commercial nature with news or articles from the sector that arouse the interest of contacts.
“You don’t just have to share the link. You have to add an opinion or make an analysis about it. Seek interaction, debate. That will benefit you with the LinkedIn algorithm and will make your publication reach more people, ”says Gómez.
4. Focus the publications. The network is so extensive that it must be taken into account that not all contacts have the same interests. Therefore, attending to what each one is looking for can serve to focus the publications and improve the professional relationship with them in a more individualized way. That is, segment the digital marketing campaign on the platform.
Additionally, LinkedIn helps you communicate with different audiences, explains Carsi, from potential shareholders to employees . The latter is important, since if all the workers are on the platform, team spirit can be enhanced and the company’s presence improved.
5. Be proactive and relate. After posting content or generating a constructive discussion on your profile, the next step is to connect with the people you have interacted with. In many cases they are potential clients who will send an invitation, but if not, it is convenient to anticipate.
Along with the request to add that person to the network, it is advisable to write a presentation for the occasion. Many users copy and paste the same text for all their invitations and that gives a feeling of artificiality that can be detrimental when you connect with that person or company.
6. Deepen the relationship. After a first contact through the network, Gómez insists that it is important to close a “non-commercial” meeting with those who are potential clients, that is, to get a more impersonal chat where to strengthen trust beyond LinkedIn.
It is best if it is in person and taking advantage of an event (such as a fair or a congress), but the context of the covid-19 has made this option atypical. At least for now. The alternative is a video conference .
“The objective is not to sell, but to put a face and voice to the LinkedIn profile,” emphasizes Gómez. This type of meeting will boost sales and deals with these people, and, at the same time, it is a good way to get a good network of contacts.