As a small business are you maximising your presence on LinkedIn? Our favourite B2B platform has now got more than 630 million members – 21% of the entire global workforce – yet, despite its huge number of members, many people are still not using the platform to its full potential.
Despite a growing number of small firms and independent consultants stepping up their social strategies; in what is an increasingly competitive market, many still have work to do.
Research shows that nearly 60% of people now consult social media before making their buying decisions. 70% of them use LinkedIn, so it really is more important than ever to ensure you have a strong, thriving network.
Building your community is all about making connections. So, this month we’ll show you how dedicating just 5 minutes a day to strategically building your first-degree connections can exponentially improve your access to new clients and professional opportunities.
So, whether you’re aiming for that 501st connection, or just want to make your profile work harder for you, read on as we show you how to grow your network by investing just 5 minutes a day.
1. Personalise and connect
Follow up with everyone you meet (or wanted to meet but didn’t) at networking events. You can only do so much at a conference, so use the power of LinkedIn to make those connections count. Before you hit connect make sure you send a personal message, explaining who you are and where you met (remember, this is not the time to sell your services). Dig out those business cards and get searching.
2. Update your status daily
Simply having a LinkedIn profile is not enough to keep those connections coming in. Like any social media platform, you need to engage and participate. As you would on Facebook or Twitter, make sure your content adds value, stays on brand and includes a call to action. Try sharing relevant articles, videos or blog posts.
Keep yourself present in your connection’s feeds to give them more opportunity to like and share your posts. This will get you introduced to their connections and offers a great opportunity to grow your network. When connections share your content it is social proof that you’re an expert in your field, which might encourage those 2nd-degree connections to reach out to you.
3. Participate in groups
It’s impossible to engage on a one-to-one level with hundreds of connections. Here’s where LinkedIn groups are a great way of making and maintaining those new connections. Join relevant groups and pick a handful to stay active on, but avoid marketing yourself or your business. Participate in (or better yet, initiate) group discussions.
If you are a member of any ‘real world’ networking groups look through their membership directory and find those contacts on LinkedIn. Remember to customise your connection request and reference the group you are both in.
You can also consider starting your own group. A certain level of kudos will come with this, and people are keen to connect with experts. When they join they are likely to connect with you.
4. Promote your profile
This is a great way to take advantage of your presence on other platforms. Make sure you have customised your URL, then place your LinkedIn profile link in your email signature, add it to your website, include it on your business cards and list it on your social media bios. This tip is easy to achieve and can really drive your traffic and therefore connections.
Keep an eye on your wall and be sure to share, comment on and like your connections updates and posts. There is always a lot going on with LinkedIn – new jobs, birthdays, job changes. Interacting with these important milestones is a great way to develop relationships as well as building new connections, as it will give you more visibility on the platform.
Give just 5 minutes of your day to one of these tasks and you’ll be able to track your success as your number of connections starts to grow. When you connect with the right people on LinkedIn you are truly taking advantage of one the best networking tools at your disposal, putting you one click away from meeting any one of those 630 million members.
If you would like some support with your LinkedIn or wider social media strategies, we’d love to chat.
A version of this post originally appeared on our good friends at South Thames Marketing’s blog.