How can LinkedIn improve my professional network? How can LinkedIn improve my professional network?

How can LinkedIn improve my professional network?
30 Sep 2014

If you work with professional services firms or with any other type of client then it’s possible that you could be missing the boat by not properly engaging with LinkedIn and other social media sites. Building solid client relationships requires effective networking and communication strategies, which are not always easy to implement during a busy working week. Cue LinkedIn, your time-saving, relationship-building saviour.

If you are responsible for any aspect of business development or client retention within your firm, then here are some ways that LinkedIn will improve your professional networking outcomes:

Locate hundreds of new business opportunities

Just because you might not accept a connection request from a stranger on LinkedIn, don’t assume that others won’t. Individuals and business development teams can use LinkedIn’s advanced search function to connect and engage with hundreds of new B2B prospects - as long as your invitation to connect provides a valid reason for connecting in the first place.

Locate the ‘advanced’ search option to the right of the main search bar at the top of your LinkedIn page. Here, you can search within 300 million professionals on LinkedIn and locate potential new clients by industry, company, job title, company size, geographic location and many more search criteria.

Raise the firm’s brand awareness

Professional services firms and most other professional businesses have newsworthy content to share that would help their clients solve many of the business challenges they face. By sharing this content directly with important first degree connections, you are adding value to their business and themselves personally.

You can achieve this by posting an update on your homepage news feed so your network can view it or share a discussion in the LinkedIn groups, where your target audience hang out. Each or all of these approaches can be really useful ways of raising the organisation’s profile as well as your own.

Just imagine, if one carefully crafted piece of content (a case study perhaps) is shared, in your business and across several employee’s LinkedIn profiles and networks, the reach is potentially enormous.

Build collaborative relationships

Who are the professional door openers for you? Who do you currently have business relationships with that refer you to new clients? How do you locate such contacts at the moment? LinkedIn has 300 million plus professional members in 200 different countries and territories globally, some of which could be your next invaluable new business door opener.

Promote thought leadership

Are you the firm’s expert? Do you hold a senior position and do you write papers or blog articles that are well respected and read by many of your peers, clients and other business contacts?

The LinkedIn publishing platform enables any user who creates great content to publish this alongside the likes of Richard Branson and other eminent business leaders. Good content is also readily accepted in LinkedIn groups. By sharing your content with targeted connections, you will instantly raise your (and the firm’s profile) and expertise with interested members.

Enhance client relationship management

Most businesses are notoriously poor at keeping in touch with their clients, except when it comes to more formal or scheduled company communications.

Imagine if one of your suppliers periodically sent you a personal message on LinkedIn, asking how you are and if you were happy with the service being provided. If you were one of her most valued clients, it would definitely be worth her time doing this – get it?

Keep informed about industry trends

Do you read LinkedIn’s Pulse application? There is a wealth of professionally created news content from experts around the world and from many varied industry sectors.

This news can be specifically tailored to your requirements. With many hard copy publications struggling to survive, professionals are increasingly turning to Pulse and other similar sources to keep up to date with the latest trends in their industry.

Network with hundreds of known and unknown professionals

Finally, in this time constrained world in which you operate in today, LinkedIn enables you to maintain contact with those you meet at networking and other professional events locally, nationally or internationally. There often isn’t time to pick up the phone, write a letter and it could be months before you attend the same event with someone you met at a recent convention.

Keep in touch, and share some useful content or simply say hello. Most importantly ask them when it would be good to meet.

New clients and existing repeat customers are the life blood of your company, so why not take full advantage of some of the tools available to you today, that will help make this job a whole lot easier and more effective too.

Steve Phillip is managing director of Linked2Success Limited. Since 2009, he has helped hundreds of professionals around the UK and in Europe, such as FedEx, The EDHEC Business School and many universities and professional service businesses to raise their online profiles and generate hundreds of new client opportunities, using tools such as LinkedIn and other social media.

If you work with professional services firms or with any other type of client then it’s possible that you could be missing the boat by not properly engaging with LinkedIn and other social media sites. Building solid client relationships requires effective networking and communication strategies, which are not always easy to implement during a busy working week. Cue LinkedIn, your time-saving, relationship-building saviour.

If you are responsible for any aspect of business development or client retention within your firm, then here are some ways that LinkedIn will improve your professional networking outcomes:

Locate hundreds of new business opportunities

Just because you might not accept a connection request from a stranger on LinkedIn, don’t assume that others won’t. Individuals and business development teams can use LinkedIn’s advanced search function to connect and engage with hundreds of new B2B prospects - as long as your invitation to connect provides a valid reason for connecting in the first place.

Locate the ‘advanced’ search option to the right of the main search bar at the top of your LinkedIn page. Here, you can search within 300 million professionals on LinkedIn and locate potential new clients by industry, company, job title, company size, geographic location and many more search criteria.

Raise the firm’s brand awareness

Professional services firms and most other professional businesses have newsworthy content to share that would help their clients solve many of the business challenges they face. By sharing this content directly with important first degree connections, you are adding value to their business and themselves personally.

You can achieve this by posting an update on your homepage news feed so your network can view it or share a discussion in the LinkedIn groups, where your target audience hang out. Each or all of these approaches can be really useful ways of raising the organisation’s profile as well as your own.

Just imagine, if one carefully crafted piece of content (a case study perhaps) is shared, in your business and across several employee’s LinkedIn profiles and networks, the reach is potentially enormous.

Build collaborative relationships

Who are the professional door openers for you? Who do you currently have business relationships with that refer you to new clients? How do you locate such contacts at the moment? LinkedIn has 300 million plus professional members in 200 different countries and territories globally, some of which could be your next invaluable new business door opener.

Promote thought leadership

Are you the firm’s expert? Do you hold a senior position and do you write papers or blog articles that are well respected and read by many of your peers, clients and other business contacts?

The LinkedIn publishing platform enables any user who creates great content to publish this alongside the likes of Richard Branson and other eminent business leaders. Good content is also readily accepted in LinkedIn groups. By sharing your content with targeted connections, you will instantly raise your (and the firm’s profile) and expertise with interested members.

Enhance client relationship management

Most businesses are notoriously poor at keeping in touch with their clients, except when it comes to more formal or scheduled company communications.

Imagine if one of your suppliers periodically sent you a personal message on LinkedIn, asking how you are and if you were happy with the service being provided. If you were one of her most valued clients, it would definitely be worth her time doing this – get it?

Keep informed about industry trends

Do you read LinkedIn’s Pulse application? There is a wealth of professionally created news content from experts around the world and from many varied industry sectors.

This news can be specifically tailored to your requirements. With many hard copy publications struggling to survive, professionals are increasingly turning to Pulse and other similar sources to keep up to date with the latest trends in their industry.

Network with hundreds of known and unknown professionals

Finally, in this time constrained world in which you operate in today, LinkedIn enables you to maintain contact with those you meet at networking and other professional events locally, nationally or internationally. There often isn’t time to pick up the phone, write a letter and it could be months before you attend the same event with someone you met at a recent convention.

Keep in touch, and share some useful content or simply say hello. Most importantly ask them when it would be good to meet.

New clients and existing repeat customers are the life blood of your company, so why not take full advantage of some of the tools available to you today, that will help make this job a whole lot easier and more effective too.

Steve Phillip is managing director of Linked2Success Limited. Since 2009, he has helped hundreds of professionals around the UK and in Europe, such as FedEx, The EDHEC Business School and many universities and professional service businesses to raise their online profiles and generate hundreds of new client opportunities, using tools such as LinkedIn and other social media.