Can an active Linkedin presence increase your small business’ sales? If your target audience is on Linkedin, then the answer is yes. According to the 2013 Sales and Linkedin Study, an independent survey conducted by Marketing Interactions, Inc., 84% of Linkedin users say they’ve generated business opportunities via Linkedin. Of the 3,100 study participants, 79% were small business owners. Some participants of the study claimed that Linkedin was their major weapon for new business development.
Those that were most successful, however, followed a few simple strategies that were well-thought out and focused – as opposed to a chaotic, hit-and-run approach. Yes, they engaged in traditional social media marketing activities, such as posting articles, links, and blogs, but they specifically sought out to engage prospective customers by focusing on their needs.
Below are some tips on how to engage customers to enhance your brand and increase your overall sales:
- Maximize your company page: Tell your company’s story, highlight products and services, share the latest news in your industry, and advertise job opportunities. Include pictures and videos to inform your audience as to why your products and services will meet their needs.
- Be searchable: Your prospects will search on your business type, specialism, company size, seniority, location and a certain radius. If you haven’t filled in all these parameters, you won’t be found.
- Be givers first: Give free advice, free e-books, and whitepapers. This demonstrates expertise, professionalism and thought leadership. Sharing content increases your company’s visibility and influence in the industry.
- Keep the conversation alive: Get involved with your core audience by posing probing questions that generate thoughtful responses. Facilitate the discussion, offer expertise, and probe some more. This shows you are interested.
- Listen and act on what you hear: Now that you have gotten free market research, you can modify your products, services and messages to address that information. Show your target market that you can meet their deepest needs and concerns.
- Share relevant content: Promoting other people’s works shows that you are more concerned with solutions than touting your own horn. Your peers in the industry will be more likely to share your expertise when they see you share theirs.
- Have a strategy and stick to it: Dedicate X hours a week on social media activity and campaigns. Use Linkedin Apps to link your blog, portfolio, and other content directly into your Linkedin feed. Make a simplified process that will leverage all your activity.
- Recommendations: Increase your trust and likeability factor by showcasing recommendations from customers, clients or business affiliates.
Linkedin levels the playing field for small businesses because they can truly present themselves as professional experts that are trustworthy alternatives to more expensive larger players. If you set clear goals, such as generate X new clients each month or increase web traffic by x%, and then focus your efforts on meeting those goals, you will have turned Linkedin into a secret sales and branding weapon.
– Research Optimus