“LinkedIn doesn’t actually generate business, though, right?”
You’d be surprised how many times I’ve been asked that question. It jolts me every time, because LinkedIn is my business.
I’m jolted for the opposite reason when people are offended because individuals do generate business through LinkedIn.
The (obvious) bottom line? Generating business via LinkedIn is 100-percent appropriate when it’s done the right way.
What is the right way?
I am going to articulate my “right way,” which isn’t necessarily another person’s “right way.” I market myself and my clients using a genuine, organic method. I’m not a fan of automated messages, bots to auto-connect, or pitching hard with the first outreach.
I believe in the human touch.
While that way isn’t always the fastest (though sometimes it is, as you’ll read later), it is like building a house on rock instead of sand. When done consistently, the groundwork is laid for regular leads to come in.
My “right way” has generated leads for me — some immediate and some more than a year after the initial connection — and consists of the following actions:
1. Writing An Effective Headline
This is your LinkedIn billboard.
I have one client who found me through my LinkedIn headline. I had commented on a mutual connection’s post and this client saw that I specialize in “LinkedIn profile optimization and visibility.” It was a need and she reached out.
Your LinkedIn headline is made up of 125 characters with the first 75 visible at all times. That means your headline is hugely valuable when commenting on other people’s posts.
Headline dos and don’ts:
- DO use SEO-relevant words
- DON’T fill your first 75 characters with prepositions
- DO catch the attention of your target within the first 75 characters
2. Having Fun with Outreach
This is part of my “be human” philosophy and why I’m not a fan of auto-connections. When I reach out to someone, I frequently look over his or her profile, noting anything that jumps out.
Sometimes nothing jumps out, and that’s okay!
Other times, I will see a mutual interest, a business name I think is clever, or a particular achievement that impresses me. I mention it when I reach out.
Doing this accomplishes a few things:
- It humanizes us
- It catches the attention of the recipient
- It shows the recipient you took care in reaching out
I have received immediate leads after sending a whimsical, off-the-cuff reach-out. First, I caught the attention of the recipient with my note, and, second, had the information in place within my headline and profile to lead them through the initial phase of my sales process.
3. Engaging Consistently
I know I’m not one of the “big dogs” with this statistic (I will get there!), but I receive – on average – between 150-250 profile views per week. At least once per month, I spike between 400-500 profile views per week.
I generate those profile views by consistently engaging on LinkedIn, and by having a keyword-heavy headline and profile that pulls me up in search.
“Going down the rabbit hole,” as I call it, also helps you as it pertains to the algorithm (the more you engage, the better your posts do), and puts your headline in front of more people. I see a lot of value in engaging on LinkedIn, even for those who are crazy-busy influencers or business owners (seemingly) without the time to do so.
The key question: do you have enough time to generate leads for your business?
If a potential client says they have zero time to respond to comments or private messages within LinkedIn, I will suggest they work with someone else.
Lending your genuine expertise to your LinkedIn network is what will sell you – generic comments from someone responding on your behalf just won’t cut it.
The (Obvious) Bottom Line
I mentioned earlier that the (obvious) bottom line is that generating business on LinkedIn is 100-percent appropriate when done the right way. Remember that this is my right way, and that others are effective using other methods.
If you are wondering whether my methods will work well for you, check out the following four categories and see if you fit into one of them:
THE INFLUENCER: Someone with a significant audience and following who has not yet taken advantage of LinkedIn and what it has to offer. These individuals can get a huge boost simply by optimizing their profiles. If they are sought after on other channels, they will certainly gain visibility by optimizing on Google-friendly LinkedIn.
THE NICHE: Someone with a B2B that is one of the first of its kind, or with a business type that doesn’t yet have a significant presence on LinkedIn. In addition to profile optimization (always the first step), this person can develop a defined strategy that will boost him or her to influencer status. With that will come more leads in less time, and potential business partnerships.
PLENTY-OF-TIME: Someone with a stable, successful six-figure-or-more B2B, with no fear of losing clients or incoming leads in the near future. An optimized profile and marketing strategy can build a funnel for this person in 3-6 months, depending on the sales cycle for the business. Personalized connection requests will add the right people to spread awareness and generate leads.
AMAZING CONTENT: Someone who is posting incredible things on LinkedIn … but no one is seeing those posts! After optimizing their profile (yes, it’s always the first step) and making — more than likely — small adjustments to their posts, their content will be seen by more people.
These four categories are my jam. Anyone who falls into one of them will generate traction on LinkedIn, often generating leads right away when working with me.