LinkedIn is a powerful social media platform for professionals to make new connections and expand their networks. But did you know that it's also great for generating new leads? If you're like countless other accountants, you've probably been using LinkedIn for years. And yet you still don't fully understand how to get the most out of it. So, to help you turn the platform into a lead-generating goldmine for your practice, here's a crash course for how to get business on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is the largest online platform for professional networking, housing over 830 million members in more than 200 countries! With access to over 30 million companies, it's undoubtedly one of the most valuable resources in your repertoire.
Because your profile provides you with the opportunity to:
- Showcase your knowledge and credentials, demonstrating your credibility
- Form and develop professional relationships
- Drive traffic to your website
- Attract countless contacts and prospects to both you and your business
In turn, you can build awareness around your business and personal brand, pursue prospects from all over the globe, and encourage your followers to sign up for your mailing list, improving engagement on your website.
But how do you stand out in such a saturated market?
Our 4-step guide for how to get business on LinkedIn
To teach you how to get business on LinkedIn, we're sharing our tried and tested techniques to help you generate new business.
These strategies have been essential to both our success and the success of our individual club members! So, if you're interested in expanding your audience and converting leads into clients, here's how to do it:
1. Set your intentions
The first thing you want to do is outline your intentions for your LinkedIn profile. These goals will determine your entire social media marketing strategy, so it's crucial that you have a clear idea of what you want to achieve.
So ask yourself:
- Who do you want to attract to your profile?
- What content do you want to produce?
- What are your marketing objectives?
- How do you want your audience to feel?
- What action would you like them to take after viewing your profile?
- What do you want to gain from these connections?
It's also worth thinking about what attracts you to other LinkedIn profiles. Is it their industry-specific content? Or is it because their values align with your own? Whatever it is, you want to try and create a similar effect with your own posts to encourage like-minded people to click on your profile.
Once you have answered all these questions, you should have a clear strategy that outlines how you intend to attract your target audience and engage them in your business.
2. Refine your profile
First impressions count. (Especially when it comes to online networking!) So how do you optimise your LinkedIn profile to make a positive and lasting impression?
Learning how to get business on LinkedIn is all about establishing your credibility. So you'll want to start by embedding your brand, values and credentials into your profile. A simple but effective way to communicate this is through your banner image. For example, if you have published any books, you could showcase those. Alternatively, if you're the founder of a small business, you could use this space to promote your company.
(Whilst we're on the topic of images, it's also worth noting that you'll need a high-quality profile picture. Why? Because it will improve your credibility whilst adding a personal element to your profile.)
Next, you'll want to review your professional headline. Your headline needs to grab your audience's attention. (Otherwise, they'll exit your profile as quickly as they entered it.)
But how do you hook your reader in just a few short sentences?
The best way to attract prospective clients is to address their needs. If you can identify your audience's major pain points (and offer them a solution), they will be far more likely to engage with your profile and reach out. So think about your client's personas and how you can address their needs quickly and concisely.
If your headline effectively engages your audience, you then have the opportunity to share more about yourself in your professional summary. Here you'll have the chance to share your story, so make it personal - show people who you are (don't just explain what you do). And again, take this opportunity to enforce your credibility by sharing recent accolades and achievements.
Is your LinkedIn profile losing you leads?? Use our 10-point LinkedIn Profile checklist to pinpoint exactly where your profile maybe causing you to attract the wrong type of new business (or any new business...)
3. Utilise the search function
Another important aspect of learning how to get business on LinkedIn is understanding how to seek out high-value connections.
In this instance, the search bar is your best friend. But only if you use it wisely! After all, there are over 830 million people on LinkedIn. So unless you have a clear idea of who you want to connect with, you may as well be looking for a needle in a haystack.
It's also worth thinking about how these connections will help you achieve your goals. For example, if you're trying to expand your network, you may want to connect with high-profile professionals within your industry. But don't forget, valuable connections should be mutually beneficial. So make sure you also have something to bring to the table - whether that's a specialist skillset or a list of leads.
Once you have a target audience in mind, you can begin searching for them. You can do this by typing specific names, companies or job roles into the search bar.
Here's an example of how one of our club members used the search function to find new clients:
EXAMPLE FROM ONE OF OUR CLUB MEMBERS
Catherine told us she was searching for limited companies who wanted to utilise technology to improve efficiency and expand their business. She specified her target audience included companies with 5 - 20 employees and £500,000 - £10 million in turnover. So, what did we suggest?
Well, the first thing to consider is the structure of these companies. Businesses with high turnovers almost always have an in-house accountant. So, we suggested she research who worked in these financial positions - financial controllers, management accountants, senior accountants and financial directors. Why? Because it’s much easier to find a mutual or first-degree connection with someone in the same industry.
Within four weeks of this conversation, Catherine had generated four decent leads - three of which converted! So when searching for contacts, remember the aim is to look for people you know (hopefully highly connected individuals) that can facilitate introductions with prospective clients.
4. Enhance your online presence
Developing your online presence plays a huge part in winning new business. Why? Because the more active you are online, the more people will interact with your profile. And the more people interacting with your profile, the better. So how do you boost your activity and engagement to attract a bigger audience and win new business?
Firstly, and most importantly, you need to be active every day. That's not to say you have to post original content every day. But you need to be present online. So we recommend creating a schedule.
Start by deciding how often you want to post original content. Most people aim to post five times a week (Monday to Friday) to ensure they remain at the forefront of their audiences' minds. But you also want to dedicate a few minutes each day to reading other articles, sharing relevant posts and interacting with other people's profiles. Why? Because interacting with posts is a simple yet effective way to get noticed.
It's also worth noting that comments are the quickest way for your posts to gain traction. The LinkedIn algorithm LOVES them. So encourage your readers to comment on your posts (and, of course, return the favour). Again, this will help you gain exposure and extend your reach beyond your first-degree network, helping you attract new contacts and clients.
With that said, there's no point promoting a post that holds no value. So make sure everything you share is relevant and beneficial to your target audience.
What not to do on LinkedIn…
Another great way to learn how to get business on LinkedIn is to understand what NOT to do. So to help you learn from other people’s mistakes, we’re going to talk you through four errors we often encounter on LinkedIn.
1. Posting insensitive or impractical content
It's important to remember that online interactions are NOT the same as having a conversation in person. Why? Because the internet lasts forever. So you must be mindful about what you write online.
You see, when you're posting a status, sending an email or writing a blog, you can't use social cues like eye contact and body language to clarify your meaning. In turn, jokes and cheeky comments can be ill-received and considered insensitive or offensive. So always review your content from the reader's perspective - if your piece could be easily misconstrued or lacks value, don't post it!
Learning how to get business on LinkedIn is all about gaining the respect of your audience - so make sure everything you post online is both valuable and respectful.
2. Treating new connections as sales opportunities
You wouldn't dive into a sales pitch the second you met a new contact. So don't do it online! It's off-putting, impersonal and a surefire way to ruin your chances of making a new connection.
Instead, take the time to get to know one another before you start discussing business. Because although you may be interacting online, there's still a person behind that screen! So stop focusing on sales and start developing genuine relationships with your contacts. Not only is it more enjoyable for everyone involved, but it's also a far more effective way to convert leads into clients.
3. Sending impersonal invitations
As we've said before, one of the most important aspects of learning how to win new business on LinkedIn is learning how to make a positive first impression. So don't send impersonal invitations!
To impress a prospective contact, you need to show them you've done your homework. So engage with their posts, read up on their career and identify any mutual connections. That way, your introductory message will be full of personal (and relevant) information.
You also want to explain what you can offer them. Now, this doesn't mean scripting a whole sales pitch - this is about identifying ways you can help them out. For example, can you offer them some new contacts or clients? Or do you have a specialist skill they could utilise in their business?
Most importantly, be polite! Express how eager you are to connect and how much you would enjoy getting to know them. However, if someone sees your message and doesn't connect with you, don't take it to heart. Everyone has a different networking strategy. But you'll always catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. (If you need additional help, download our conversation starters for free to speed up the process.)
4. Talking shop all the time
If you're all business, all the time, it can be hard to make a personal connection. So try to add some personality to your profile.
Whether you're a parent, pet owner or fitness fanatic - sharing these personal details about yourself will make you a lot more relatable (and approachable) to prospective contacts and clients. So try not to talk shop all the time. Not only will it make initial interactions much easier, but it will also improve your overall engagement! Trust us - the most popular updates always include a personal element.
The world is your oyster!
With LinkedIn, you have the whole world at your fingertips. So, what are you waiting for? Start developing your global network now! After all, you already have the expertise! So why not share your valuable knowledge and unique perspective? It will help you develop your online persona, expand your network, drive traffic to your website and convert more leads. (Not to mention, you may learn a few things along the way by reading posts from other industry professionals.)
So don’t neglect your LinkedIn profile. It is an incredible way to generate leads and bring in new business. Plus, it’s the perfect way to increase your credibility, which is essential if you ever hope to move practice or become a partner.
Is your firm losing out on leads from LinkedIn?
Use our cut and paste conversation starters to speed up the process of turning prospects into connections and then clients via LinkedIn.