Expanding your network is arguably the most important aspect of marketing yourself on Linkedin. This blog post is designed to help busy business owners understand how to develop their personal Linkedin network.
In our blog post Introduction to Linkedin for Manufacturing companies we looked at the benefits of being on Linkedin profile and how to optimise your profile.
Linkedin works with a tiered connections system, which expands with each new connection you make.
Your communication options vary depending on how closely connected you are to them. Connections are separated into three tiers and two other sub-categories:
- 1st tier are people you are already connected to – You can send them messages directly on Linkedin.
- 2nd tier are people who are connected to people you are already connected to – You can send them an invitation to connect by clicking the “Connect” button on their profile page, or contact them via InMail if you have a Premium account.
- 3rd tier are people who are connected to a wider network – If their full name is displayed, you can send them an invitation to connect, but if only the first letter of their last name is displayed then the option is not available. You can, however, contact them through InMail.
- Linkedin Group members – You can contact the people who share the same groups you are a member of, and you can send them a message via Linkedin or through the group.
- Linkedin Member who is out of network – Linkedin members who do not fall into any of these categories can only be contacted via InMail.
Invite and accept connections
The more connections you have, the more connections will become available to you. For this reason it benefits you to connect with more people across Linkedin, including colleagues, peers, clients, leads, prospects and those who match your company’s buyer personas or ideal customers.
Be strategic about who you connect with, though, if you are aiming to use Linkedin primarily as a marketing tool. Don’t simply send connection requests just to increase numbers. Target people from the companies from the industries you cater for.
Make Linkedin part of your daily or weekly tasks and processes. Connect with everyone you work alongside, and send requests to the people you meet and form a connection with at business events and lunches. Personalise a message for each new connection, reminding them how they know you and telling them why you want to connect (and your reason should not be that you want them as a client, of course!).
Join relevant groups
By searching Linkedin Groups for people to connect with, you can seek out potential customers from within relevant fields and with relevant interests. While you may not be allowed to send a connection request to everyone who seems to be a promising lead, you should be able to send messages to people in the group.
The more specific the group topic is to your buyer persona’s interests, pain points and targets, the more likely you are to find better qualified leads to interact with.
Marketing through Linkedin
Like any other social network, one of the most popular uses of Linkedin involves sharing content. Professionals from all industries and positions will write posts, articles and blogs, sometimes specifically to share on Linkedin.
Sharing content you have produced as well as useful material from other thought leaders reflects the fact that you are a brand striving to be helpful, that you’re an expert in your field, and that you care enough to be sharing useful information with your audience.
However, with 100,000 articles being shared on average every week on Linkedin, the emphasis should be on quality, not quantity. You want to stand out.
The most important content that you will share is the content produced by your company. Blog entries, posts you put on other social media sites, photographs and videos, and team updates each speak directly about the kind of business you are. This is branding that goes far beyond an advert here or there, and your main aim should be consistency of quality, tone, and relevance.
Read shared articles, interact with other users by commenting and “liking” their posts, and stay alert for any opportunities that arise.
We were recently contacted by the owner of a Manufacturing company who wanted to improve her website & generate more interest online and consolidate the systems she was using. I offered her help and advice, drawing upon our company’s creative experience and knowledge of Digital Marketing in her sector. This had led to not only a fantastic customer but also potential referrals from other companies and a great future case study.
In 2018, it pays to be helpful, forming relationships that offer real value to both parties.