The strongest link

How to conjure up the magic of LinkedIn to grow your business.

In the world of social media marketing it’s not just the where but the how and what you do that translates to return on investment on time, branding, content and financial investment.

But where should you invest your social media efforts in all the noise and bluster? If you are a professional business, it’s a fait accompli that LinkedIn is the number one platform. In 2019, Australian members reached the 10-million mark, with 645 million globally.

LinkedIn presents a magic opportunity that many still do not embrace. Around 50 per cent of members access the platform regularly – daily or weekly – and 74 per cent of B2B buyers use it for purchasing decisions and social proof; 79 per cent of B2B marketers view it as the most effective marketing channel, and 91 per cent of executives rate the platform as their number one choice for professional content. And HubSpot still report LinkedIn is 277 per cent more effective at B2B lead generation than Facebook and Twitter.

But are you leveraging the magic to connect, network, sell, build your brand and expand? There is enormous traction to be gained if you do it well with consistency and commitment.

Keep your eye on quality and a laser-targeted focus to position your business with a mindset of expert authority positioning. Note I don’t say thought leadership or influencer? That is for those with a “get rich quick” mentality – you want to build subject matter authority while sharing your personality. Building trust is also pivotal but before you really dive in, make sure your profile is detailed, solutions-focused, inspiring and interesting – in your own voice. Be the best version of you, as reality must meet rhetoric.

To maximise success there are no shortcuts to CEC – connect, engage, contribute.

Connect

Don’t be lazy. Give thought to why you really want to connect with someone. Quality versus quantity is key based on your brand, industry and business strategy. And as ever, don’t fall into the trap of believing that a huge network equals value. Dunbar’s Theory (about deeply knowing 150–200 people) has validity. So while a strong number of connections is vital they must be mostly relevant, not for vanity metrics.

“LinkedIn presents a magic opportunity that many small businesses still do not embrace.”

Make sure you always, at the invitation point or first message after acceptance, share why you wanted to connect and add some value. (Okay, a little bit of genuine flattery and resonance of prior research is valuable.)

Engage

This is an important element to raise your profile in your ideal markets, build trust and add to the broader knowledge bank within your specific LinkedIn networks. There is so much great content and a rich learning opportunity to leverage. So engaging with other people’s content organically (i.e. don’t do it to game the algorithm) raises important conversations to the next level while drawing eyeballs to your profile.

Come from a mindset of generosity, value and sincerity.

Contribute

Content is key (but not the “Look at me I’m so successful, I’m smashing it at this event” type). Be on your brand 80 per cent of the time, and contribute a mixture of posts, articles, video, documents and podcasts in your voice and personality. Video is losing some traction in that there is a swing to richer learning content, and indications show long-form articles are gaining better reach. Articles are the permanent body of your work and are a repository for immediate referral. These are part of a golden connection strategy to also align expertise. You should therefore aim for at least four articles a month.

Enjoy LinkedIn, stay in your lane, be focused and commit the time to CEC and you will see the magic the platform delivers.

Sue Parker, founder, DARE Group Australia

This story first appeared in issue 26 of the Inside Small Business quarterly magazine.

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