LinkedIn can be an invaluable sales tool if you know how to use it to its full potential. Most sales people do a pretty good job of using the site for research and prospecting, but few take full advantage of utilizing LinkedIn as a way for prospects to find YOU. Here are five simple ways that you can increase your visibility and increase your chances of a prospect finding your profile on LinkedIn.
Status Updates are a great way to create immediate visibility, and credibility, for yourself. An interesting status update will not only be viewed by your existing connections, but in many cases will also be shared or like by people in your network. This in turn will be viewed by their network, who could also end up sharing the post. My status updates regularly receive 300 or more views, and a few of them have been viewed over 1000 times, with about 30% of those views outside my 1st level connections.
So what should you put in your status update that will get noticed and shared? Look for interesting articles that will resonate with your connections and potential prospects. Or if you write your own blog, those tend to get the most attention from your connections, and ultimately establish the most credibility for you.
LinkedIn is all about connections. The more connections you have, the more visibility you have to others in the network. But it also works the other way. The more connections you have, the more likely you are to show up in searches, People You May Know, People Similar To, and Other People Also Viewed. The goal is to be so connected on LinkedIn that your beautiful smiling headshot is showing up everywhere.
Max Out Your Groups
Most people on LinkedIn belong to a handful of groups. Unfortunately they are missing out on a great sales tool. You absolutely without question should belong to the maximum number of 50 groups (You can actually go past 50 by belonging to sub-groups). Why? Because it gives you exposure to people that are not in your immediate network. If you are in a group with someone, LinkedIn essentially treats you as first-level connections when it comes to searching. If you aren’t in a group with that prospect and aren’t a first or second-level connection, you likely won’t show up in a search they are running.
Another way to increase your visibility with groups is by posting discussions in the groups. Just like your status updates, these should be of interest to your prospects.
If you have a premium account (and if you are serious about selling on LinkedIn, you should), then you have the ability to make your profile an Open Link. This is different than being a LinkedIn Open Networker (LION), who basically will connect with anyone. Open Link means that you are allowing anyone to reach out to you through LinkedIn without spending an Inmail. I’ve received many emails from prospects because I’ve made it easy for them to contact me due to my Open Link status.
You know those ads that are on the right-hand side of your LinkedIn pages? Those are LinkedIn Ads, and they can be an extremely effective way of getting your brand in front of your targeted prospects. These are known as “pay-per-click” ads, which is essentially just what it sounds like. You only pay if your prospect clicks on your ad, which takes them to your website, company LinkedIn page, or your LinkedIn profile (whichever you choose). What’s great about these ads is that they can be specifically targeted to show up only to your prospects. The other not so insignificant benefit is that until they click on your ad, it costs you nothing to get consistent visibility in front of your prospect. These are known as “impressions”, and you can have literally millions of these while only paying for a few hundred clicks.
These are just a few of the ways you can gain more exposure in front of your prospects on LinkedIn. The key is to make a commitment to use LinkedIn as an integral part of your overall sales strategy.