How to Use LinkedIn to Grow Your Business

social networkI’ve had good success getting known and attracting clients as a result of my LinkedIn efforts. Spending time on LinkedIn doesn’t have to feel like a waste once you know what to do to get business.

The keys to getting clients from LinkedIn follow….

Be Sure LinkedIn is Where Your Ideal Clients Hang Out

To start, you must be sure that your ideal clients are active on LinkedIn. If they aren’t, no amount of effort will bring you results. LinkedIn is a great place for personal chefs to spend their social media time if they want to attract busy executives for instance.

Post Status Updates Consistently

I recommend you post a status update on LinkedIn 3 to 5 times per week to get the most leverage. When you post, make sure it is something your ideal clients want to hear about.

For instance, if your ideal clients are busy executives what topics would interest them that you know about? Perhaps topics of interest might be ones that have to do with balancing work and life; preparing simple, tasty and healthy meals in no time flat; or choosing a caterer for their next business function.

Most of what you post should be of benefit to your readers – something that will bring them value but will also position you as an expert in your field. Mixed in with all the valuable stuff you share you can occasionally promote your services or invite your followers to take some kind of action with you.

Business updates or news are fine to share on occasion too. For instance if you’ve just won a cooking challenge, share it. If you are cooking for a charity event, mention it. If you are celebrating 10 years in business, let the world know about it.

Join a LinkedIn Group and Become an Active Participant

See if you can join a local LinkedIn group – one that caters to people in your area especially if your personal chef business is local. Become familiar with the types of discussions that are started. Get a sense of the culture of the group and then start contributing yourself.

Better yet, start your own group. You get a lot of exposure when you are the one who is leading and managing a group. The people in your group will start to view you as a helpful resource. It’s a great way to stay top of mind and some of the people who are following you will reach out to learn more about what you do.

Personalize Your Connection Requests

Almost 100% of the connection requests I receive aren’t personalized. Most people use the generic request-to-connect wording that LinkedIn provides. Do not do this!

When you send a connection request personalize it. If you are sending the connection request to someone you don’t know such as a potential prospect, tell the person why you’d like to connect and why you think connecting will be beneficial. You can mention anything that the two of you have in common or have an interest in. Do not say anything that may be construed as promotional.

If you know the person, you should still take the time to personalize it. I use the person’s name. I mention something that we recently spoke about or something that we agreed to do in the near future. Sometimes I may mention how we met if the person is someone I don’t know well.

Start a LinkedIn Email Marketing Campaign

Once you and another person connect via LinkedIn, don’t drop the ball by never reaching out to them again. What good is having a bunch of connections on LinkedIn if you never interact?

An email marketing campaign is a great way to stay in touch especially with prospects. About 4 weeks after you initially ask someone to connect, send them a link to an article you think they would find very beneficial. In another 4 weeks tell them about a LinkedIn group that you joined that you think would interest them too. Think of something of value to send to them about 3 or 4 times before you finally ask them if they would like to set up a time to have a brief phone chat.

During this brief phone chat you get to deepen your relationship even further. The phone chat should be no longer than 15 minutes. Remember, you don’t want to sell anything to anyone at this point either. You are just networking and deepening your relationship. You want to express a genuine interest in the other person and if you can help them by suggesting a resource, a great networking group or a person who they should connect to, do so.

What’s amazing about using the email marketing campaign approach is that some of the people you reach out to will proactively want to learn more about you and your business and some of them will become clients.

This approach is such a great way to “sell” without selling.

Have any of you attracted a client using LinkedIn? What did you do to get that client and how did it happen?

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