3 Tips for LinkedIn Marketing for Small Businesses and Non-Profits
LinkedIn marketing is a great way for small businesses, non-profits, and really any organization to develop quality leads. There are currently over 467,000,000 prospective customers, donors, and clients on LinkedIn! If you’re looking to develop solid connections over social media and find yourself lost in the sea of social media marketing, LinkedIn is a great choice to focus your efforts on.
If you’re not sure how to get started, however, check out our 3 tips for LinkedIn marketing below.
Why LinkedIn Marketing Is a Great Way to Reach People
Many smaller organizations focus on Facebook because it’s familiar to them and is still the most popular social media platform. Facebook is a great tool for creating awareness, brand engagement, and paid advertising, emphasis on the paid. It’s very difficult to reach people organically on Facebook. It’s becoming a paid advertising platform where you have to put money in if you want to reach new leads.
LinkedIn also has a paid option, which is surprisingly cost-prohibitive, but because of the way it works as a social media network, it’s relatively easy to reach new people for free. Basically, you ask to connect with prospective customers, donors, or clients, and once they agree to connect, you start interacting with them. It’s that simple. As your network expands you’ll gain additional access to new groups of people and pretty soon you’re off and running.
See below for 3 tips to start your LinkedIn marketing efforts off on the right foot.
Tip #1: Identify Your Ideal Customer, Donor, or Client
The first step in successful LinkedIn marketing is identifying your ideal lead. You need to know the kind of people you want to connect with before you start connecting or you’ll waste your precious time barking up the wrong tree.
To start out, sketch a profile for the type of person you’re looking for. Keep in mind that LinkedIn doesn’t give you information like buying habits or past searches like other platforms do. Include information in your profile like the following:
- Job description
- Seniority level
- Physical location
So, if you were trying to reach parts suppliers in the automobile industry who are regional managers and live within 100 miles of you, for example, you’d write all that down ahead of time so that you know who to search for. Of course, it’s okay to have more than one profile if you have more than one type of person you’re trying to connect with.
Tip #2: Use Advanced Search to Find Good Connections Within Your Service Area
Next, use LinkedIn’s advanced search feature to look for people who match the profile of your ideal lead. You might want to flesh out your profile based on LinkedIn’s search fields, which include Current Company, Past Company, Profile Language, etc. The yellow LinkedIn symbols indicate fields that are only available to premium members. If those fields are important, and often they are, you might want to consider investing in LinkedIn premium, which starts at around $30 per month.
If you’re not sure if your current search criteria will find the right people, do a search and see if the people that show up in the search results look like your ideal potential customers, donors, or clients. If not, change the search criteria and try again until you’re seeing the type of people you want to find.
Then, simply send them connection requests and see who responds positively! To help win more connections, send a brief, personalized message like: “You showed up as a potential connection and I thought you might want to join my network. All the best, Your Name.” It’s the small details in social media marketing that often make all the difference.
Tip #3: Message All New Leads to Keep Them Engaged
Once someone connects with you, it’s important to send individual messages to them. You want to engage them in conversation about shared interests, challenges they’re facing in their industry, etc. Once you get to know them a bit, try asking for a brief introductory call to discuss something that’s come up in your conversation with them. Don’t be afraid to create a script of the different messages you’ll send. It pays to be systematic with LinkedIn marketing.
Don’t jump the gun. Let a few weeks pass before you try to get a call with them. Don’t worry if not everyone agrees to a call, either. If you’re not getting enough calls, try tweaking the way you interact with your leads until your connections-to-calls ratio goes up.
LinkedIn Is Just a Tool; Like All Tools, It Has Its Limitations
LinkedIn is a great way to generate organic leads for your small business or non-profit, but no social media platform is perfect. One initial hurdle to meeting people on LinkedIn is the limitations of your network. LinkedIn tries to stop you from connecting to people you don’t know by asking you to prove you have some relationship with them:
When you first start out connecting with people, this can be a real hurdle. You should start by connecting with everyone you know who’s on LinkedIn. When you first sign up for LinkedIn you can also import your e-mail contacts to find people you already know. You should definitely do that to increase your starting network. As your network gets larger, you’ll be able to connect with more people, because you’ll develop more shared connections.
The overall point, though, is: LinkedIn is just one tool in your social media arsenal. It helps you do some things really well (connecting with potential leads), but other things are more difficult (building your initial network; finding low-cost paid advertising options). We have personally found that LinkedIn is a great solution for our marketing needs, but there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to marketing that will work the same for every type of organization. We definitely recommend trying to market your organization on LinkedIn to see if it’s a good solution for you.