It doesn’t matter if you’re a freelancer working out of your home office, a consultancy firm with international offices, or somewhere in between. You need to be using the LinkedIn network to find new customers, build business relationships, and close deals.
But getting started with LinkedIn can be rather confusing. It’s not like Facebook, Twitter, or any other social networking site. It has rules and etiquette that tend to be more businesslike than the rest. There’s also that ever imposing warning that you shouldn’t contact anyone you don’t already know.
This three part series will help you not only understand how LinkedIn works, but also how to leverage it to find new clients and business. With over 60 million active users in the United States, it would be a mistake to skip it at all.
What Should You Expect from LinkedIn?
Using LinkedIn effectively requires you to understand the kinds of business that you’ll find there. While you certainly can use your LinkedIn relationships to bring new customers to your Milkshake Shack, it’s unlikely that the investment of your time will be worth the return.
Instead, focus on building relationships that will help you close deals on large ticket items. If the average revenue you earn from a client on a yearly basis is over $2,000, then you should definitely be focused on marketing through LinkedIn.
You can also use LinkedIn to build your popularity and credibility in the industries you serve. This can help to lead to new business outside of the LinkedIn network, too.
How Does LinkedIn Work?
It’s mostly like the kinds of networking you’re used to doing outside of the office, in the real world. The biggest difference, though, is that you can do it without ever leaving the office. If you’re a freelancer, you can even spend your mornings networking in your pajamas.
You start by creating a profile and then establishing your connections. While LinkedIn does encourage you to only contact people you already know outside of the network, people you’re “linked” to can make recommendations to new individuals that you might want to get to know.
You can also just ignore the instruction altogether. Most people feel completely comfortable reaching out to those they don’t know, so long as there is a potentially mutual benefit to establishing the relationship. Hey, it is all about who you know, after all!
Through the LinkedIn network, you can publish information about your work history, current employer, and what you’re up to (in a professional sense, of course – please keep the kitten posts on the other networks). You can also create and share pieces of content, join groups specific to your industry, participate in Q&As and a lot more.
So, how do you use all of this effectively to prospect and fill your funnel with new leads? That’s the focus of the next post in this series. You’ll learn how to set up your account to improve your chances of finding success with LinkedIn, how to start growing your connections, and how to effectively prospect once you’ve established a few of them.