Maximise your LinkedIn Presence Today

By Guest Blogger, Gus Bhandal

When I started in business, some great advice I had was to spend 90% of my time (online) where my ideal clients hang out.  

For many of us (especially the business-to-business among us), the obvious choice is LinkedIn. 

Yes we all still pretend to love Facebook, and we are falling back in love with Twitter, and we are really trying to love Instagram… but LinkedIn is the most likely place to find your ideal clients. 

And best of all, most of the best features of this platform are free (for now).

So how do you make the most of LinkedIn?  Here are a few top tips to kickstart your LinkedIn profile.

1) Have a professional photo

Sounds so obvious, but you’d be surprised at the number of blurry, badly-cropped, cocktail-holding business people there are out there!

2) Write a scroll-killing headline

The headline (the bit under your photo) should follow the Ronseal marketing strategy – it should be able to tell your ideal/potential clients exactly what you do… i.e. “exactly what it says on the tin”.  Don’t use words like ‘founder’ or ‘business owner’ – they don’t tell the reader anything about you, and they will just scroll past.

3) Have a consistent plan

Whether you schedule 15 minutes a day or an hour a week, use your diary (written or electronic) to create a plan of engaging on LinkedIn – whether that be writing your own posts or commenting on those of others.  A fixed schedule can be interspersed with day-to-day details, so do not focus too much of having to post for the sake of it, which leads me on to…

4) Be engaging

Whether you post once a month or once a day, do not post for the sake of it.  If you post quality, engaging or knowledgeable posts, then there is no bad time to post.  If you are posting to simply try to beat the algorithms, the short term gain will cause your profile long term pain (and this also applies to ‘engagement pods’ – avoid at all costs).  There are over 600 million users on LinkedIn, so do your best to cut through all that noise!

5) Talk to your ideal clients

Do you know who your ideal client is?  Like, really know them?  If so, that’s great – talk to them directly.  Everything you post should be centred around their needs; addressing their pain points.  This will make it easier to focus your marketing efforts.  And don’t think that you will be excluding other types of client – if someone needs what you offer, and you sound like you know what you are doing, then they will get in touch regardless.

6) Ask for testimonials

Don’t be afraid to ask for testimonials (or ‘recommendations’ as LinkedIn calls them).  They look good on your profile and an excellent form of social proof, especially for potential clients (and a poke in the eye for your competitors).  So if you know you have done a good job for someone, send them a link to your profile and ask for a testimonial.

7) Be social

The key word in ‘Social Media’ is social.  Sounds obvious, right?  Well, not to everyone.  Your LinkedIn activity should be used to create two-way conversations with those around you (whether it be clients, competitors, suppliers or simply business contacts).  And if you can provide value, that’s even better – get involved in conversations, answer questions, offer help – all subtle ways of showing off your knowledge while being a good person.  That way, you create long-term business relationships, you show authority, and you create a group of brand ambassadors.

8) Be yourself

Do NOT create an online persona that’s different to who you are.  Online networking is great, but when you meet people in real life, the last thing you would want them to think is that you have a split personality, which ultimately makes you look untrustworthy.  Be kind, be helpful, be friendly.  Just like you would when we meet.  Simple, eh?

This blog was written for Connexions by Gus Bhandal, the Marketing Guru.  For more information about how Gus can help your business to grow online, please visit www.theMGuru.co.uk or follow him at www.facebook.com/mguruuk

7 Top Tips for Networking

Even in a world where online marketing is used more and more, face to face networking is still important. Not just to make contacts and connections but also for company and conversation, particularly if you work on your own.  For some, however, networking is far outside of their comfort zone.   Having to speak to strangers, standing up and introducing yourself in front of a room of people or having to “sell” yourself or your business?  Oh the horrors!   

At our Connexions meetings our Leaders work hard to make sure that everyone feels welcome and our informal style of meeting and introductions is designed to make you feel at ease.  Here are our seven top tips for you to get the most out of network meetings:

Tip 1 – Arrive Early

Nobody wants to arrive at a meeting feeling a bit flustered or panicky because they have arrived late.  Always give yourself plenty of time to get to the venue and find a parking space (if it’s the first time you have been to a venue or meeting then check out the parking situation beforehand).  Most networking meetings start with open networking so arriving early also means you can be one of the first people to say hello and start a conversation.  If you are a little shy it is so much easier to start a conversation than to arrive late and feel like you have to interrupt conversations that have already started. 

Tip 2 – Remember Your Business Cards

An obvious one but make sure you have your business cards with you.  Always keep spares in your car or bag just in case you need them.  If you strike up a conversation with someone offer to swap business cards.  Even if you can’t see yourself doing business with them personally they may know someone who could use your services or vice versa so you could form a referrer relationship. 

Tip 3 – Smile!

Smiling and making eye contact can feel scary but it is one of the best ways to make connections.  Smiling will not only make you feel more relaxed but it will also make you more approachable to others.   Would you rather approach someone who is smiling at you and making eye contact or someone who looks unhappy and is looking at anything but the other people in the room?

Tip 4 – Circulate

You don’t have to speak to everyone but you should circulate.  When you start a conversation with someone or you see someone you know it can feel more comfortable to just stay where you are particularly if you are feeling a bit nervous. Ideally you should move around when you can (the type of meeting may make this easier or more difficult) but at the very least involve other networkers in your conversation when you can. 

Tip 5 – Be Yourself

When uncertain of a situation it can be very tempting to pretend to be someone you’re not because you feel embarrassed and shy.  Good networking is all about making honest connections so you need to be yourself.  People still do business with people and they are much more likely to do business with you if you are genuine and honest. 

Tip 6 – Ask questions

Nerves can make you either not talk at all or only talk about yourself but to really figure out if someone is a potential customer or collaborator you need to ask lots of questions and be interested in them and their business.  Never assume that someone is or isn’t your customer until you have found out more about them.  

Tip 7 – Be Positive

If you go into a network meeting thinking that no-one will talk to you and that you won’t find any customers then that’s probably what you’ll end up with! Plan what you want to say about you or your business before hand (but don’t recite it verbatim as that sounds robotic) and set yourself small goals.  If you are nervous or new to networking then you could aim to speak to 3 new people or aim to swap four business cards.  When you are feeling a little more confident aim to get one follow up conversation or a follow up meeting.  

If you want to join other women in business for conversation, connections and some great speakers then check out our groups and upcoming dates.   We look forward to seeing you there.