LinkedIn Best Practices For Business Development
By David Erickson - Updated 4/28/2020
LinkedIn has become a far more useful business (as opposed to career) tool over the years. These are 10 LinkedIn best practices for business development I've found useful:
1) Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile
Be sure to complete your profile as fully as possible using keyword-rich descriptions. Think about what keywords your prospects might be using to find someone like you or the services or products you have to offer. This helps make it more likely that you will be visible when someone is searching within LinkedIn to find people with the expertise or solutions you possess.
2) Claim Your Custom LinkedIn URL
If you haven't yet done so, you definitely should claim your custom URL to ensure it includes your name (e.g. http://linkedin.com/in/yourname) and removes the ugly numbers LinkedIn includes by default.
This is especially important for people who have a lot of contact with potential clients (this is mostly applicable to professional services and the B2B sector) because when meeting with someone they have not yet met, many people will search Google or search LinkedIn directly for the name of the person with whom they’re meeting in order to learn more about them.
Claiming your custom URL makes it more likely your LinkedIn profile will rank in the top of those search results.
3) Network. Network. Network.
Constantly build your LinkedIn network. The more people you are connected to on LinkedIn, the more likely you’ll be able to find someone you know who is connected to someone with whom you’d like to be introduced. Whenever you meet someone, follow that meeting up with a LinkedIn request.
Make a point of interacting with your prospects content. If they are posting status updates and/or sharing news stories on LinkedIn, find a way to interact with those posts in a meaningful way. These interactions will help your content get greater visibility with those contacts with whom you've interacted.
Include a link to your LinkedIn profile on your website biography and on other social media profiles.
4) Advanced Search
Search for prospective customers/clients. LinkedIn’s advanced search feature is a very powerful tool for finding decision-makers. Use a combination of industry keywords, job titles, company and geography to identify the most appropriate people to contact for your business.
Before you examine their profile be sure to adjust your privacy settings to set whether or not your prospect can tell you've viewed their profile.
Then you can visit their profile and determine if they are connected to anyone you know and who you might ask for an introduction. See if they participate in LinkedIn groups, or have a Twitter account or blog you can follow in order to find a natural way at building a relationship with them based on common interests.
5) Highlight Your Company
Build your company page. Complete your company page using keyword-rich descriptions of what your company offers, upload beautiful images and video that bring your company to life.
Post relevant status updates from your company page so that it looks active. There is nothing worse than a dormant page.
6) Expert Positioning & Top-Of-Mind Awareness
Use status updates to share information and links to articles prospective customers and/or employees would find valuable.
Likewise, use status updates on your personal profile to demonstrate your knowledge and expertise. Showing a command of your industry helps build trust in yourself and, by extension, your company.
These updates can be a traditional text update but you can also include images, a short video, and now, even documents. If you've written a relevant white paper, upload the PDF. If you've recently given a presentation, upload your slide deck.
7) Publish Or Perish
Publish on LinkedIn. Take it a step further and write articles that demonstrate your knowledge and expertise of your industry using LinkedIn’s publishing feature.
Include a call to action at the bottom of your articles to encourage further engagement, be it commenting on your article or contacting you for help.
8) Take LinkedIn’s Pulse
Study Trending News. LinkedIn features popular stories that are being shared or discussed on the platform on your feed page.
Each story is accompanied by the number of readers who have enaged with that piece of content. Look for stories that would be of obvious interest to the prospects you want to attract and engage in the discussion about those articles.
You can also subscribe to hashtags on LinkedIn so you can follow any content people post that includes that hashtag. This can help you keep your ear to the ground for specific topics as well as provide a signal to LinkedIn' algorithm about what content interests you.
9) Build Community
Participate in Industry Groups. Find some active, quality groups within your industry and start participating by joining conversations, answering questions, being helpful, sharing interesting third-party articles.
Once you establish yourself as a trusted community member, you’ll have built up the credibility to occasionally share your own content there. The more you participate in a meaningful manner in a group, the more overall visibility you’ll enjoy within that group.
10) Build Trust
Tell, Don’t Sell. No one wants to listen to sales pitches. If you use LinkedIn to blatantly sell, you’ll quickly tune everyone out.
Think about what is important to the audience you are trying to reach, what problems they have, what challenges they face, their aspirations and goals, and try and provide helpful information that both serves those needs and positions you as the go-to source to help them, when they need it.
Build trust by providing relevant, useful information and when the time comes when they need a problem solved that you can fix, they’ll think of you.
And keep an eye on your LinkedIn insights to see who has visited your profile. If one of your targeted prospects has visited your profile, that's likely a trust signal, so the time just might be right to spark up a conversation.