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The Ultimate Guide to LinkedIn Business Development: Grow Your Business on LinkedIn

The ultimate guide to growing your business on LinkedIn in 2022.

If you use it strategically, LinkedIn can become your key top-quality lead generation channel. Not only does LinkedIn allow you to generate awareness about your brand, but it also gives you the opportunity to connect with the majority of your peers, industry leaders, and audience members.

As a well-known author, Lewis Howes says: 

Among the social networks, LinkedIn can be one of the most useful when cultivating critical, lucrative business opportunities since it has a high concentration of business decision-makers.” 

Yet, despite the advantages, the challenge is often knowing how to use it effectively to grow your business. While networking is one of its primary purposes, effective LinkedIn use goes beyond choosing between personal profiles and company pages and reaching the coveted 500+ connections.

In this article, we’ll discuss the strategic approach you need to grow your business on LinkedIn. You'll also hear from professionals who successfully used analytics tools to propel their LinkedIn success. Learn from them, apply the theory, and succeed!

How to Use LinkedIn to Grow Your Business

Before we dive into the depths of LinkedIn, remember that there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Depending on your circumstances or requirements, you could use one, more, or multiple methods to engage your audience and generate leads.

Primary LinkedIn Channels

The main ways to grow your business on LinkedIn include:

  • Networking. Networking is what LinkedIn is designed for and could be one of the easiest ways to market your business.
  • LinkedIn Groups. You can join these private, industry-related discussion groups with your personal profile. 
  • Thought Leadership. Besides posting content on your pages, LinkedIn also allows you to post long-form articles that can help you establish yourself as a leader in your field. 
  • LinkedIn Advertising. LinkedIn provides several ad formats that you can use to reach your audience, including text and dynamic ads, sponsored posts and messaging, and more.
  • Sales Navigator. Sales Navigator is a premium offering that allows you to discover more leads, track and contact them, and send direct messages through InMail.

Despite the plethora of channels, you must use a strategic approach before venturing to connect with your audience and leads. 

Step One. Start With Planning

Here, your planning serves two primary purposes. Firstly, planning lets you outline specific goals for your engagement with the platform. Once you understand your goals, you'll know which tactics meet the mark. 

Unlike others who fall into the LinkedIn rabbit hole, you won't waste time.

For example, suppose your goal is to grow your business by generating brand awareness. In that case, you’ll likely share informative content to connect with your audience and identify new opportunities. 

Likewise, if your main focus is to source new clients for your business, one tactic you might consider is showcasing your skills and experience through gaining recommendations and referrals. You may focus more on cold outreach, and then use your optimized profile to prove your claims. 

Step Two. Create A Personal Profile

Once you’ve considered your goals and tactics, begin implementing your strategy by creating your personal profile. Ensure that it’s complete and optimized. 

Personal profiles have more engagement potential and make connecting with others on the platform easier, an aspect we'll deal with in detail later in the article.

To ensure your profile is optimized and complete, you need to include:

  • A high-resolution, professional headshot taken against a neutral background with sufficient lighting.  
  • A headline that shows others who you are, what you do, and how you can help them. Combined, your profile photo and headline are the things people will see in search results, so you should optimize them. 
  • An easy-to-read "About" section that gives more context to the information in your headline and shows your unique value proposition. You’ll also add your contact details in this section to ensure that people outside your network can contact you. 
  • Your qualifications and professional experience, listing every role and its description.
  • The skills you believe to be your strengths and endorsement you’ve received from others on the platform. 

Karen Abbate’s profile is the perfect example of a profile well done. Instead of copying her peers, she’s chosen to speak in her own voice. You never want to fit in with the others vying for your prospect’s attention. 

Your goal is to stand out and provide profile content that your leads can relate to and connect with in a few seconds. 

Step Three. Create Your Company Page

Once you’ve created your personal profile, create your company page. It’s on this page that you’ll provide more information about your business, what it does, and how it can help your audience solve their problems. 

As with your personal profile, ensure that your company page is complete and optimized. As such, you should:

  • Provide more information about your business’s location, size, services, and how long it’s been operating. 
  • Add links to your business’s website or blog on your company page. 
  • Link to your personal profile. 

The importance of completing your company page properly can’t be understated. For example, on average, complete company pages get 30% more weekly views than incomplete ones. 

Step Four. Optimize Your Pages

Search engines like Google index LinkedIn pages. As a result, you should include keywords in the descriptions on your pages. Using keywords allows prospects to find your pages and content even if they're not browsing on LinkedIn. 

AppleOne understands that LinkedIn company pages primarily serve a PR purpose. Leads will have difficulty connecting with the content you share as they are subconsciously looking to understand who the author is. However, your company page can still be an asset to amplify your content and credibility.

If you do business globally, adding translations to your company page is also a good idea. In this way, creating a separate company page for every country where your business operates is not necessary. 

LinkedIn allows you to have up to 20 different languages on your page to make your name, tagline, and description more accessible to prospects from other countries. 

Step Five. Share Your Content

With your pages in place, you can start creating and sharing content on the platform. This content includes everything from blog posts to articles, videos, or even a combination of these formats. By sharing content, you’ll achieve two main goals:

Firstly, you'll create value when your content is relevant to your audience and solves their problems. And when you create value, you increase engagement and grow your network. This, in turn, attracts leads and convinces them that you are capable of solving their problems.

Secondly, valuable content will start positioning you as a thought leader in your industry and demonstrate that you’re an expert in your field. Flowing from this, you’ll build credibility and trust. No one wants to buy from the second best (unless you're Avis).

Highlight your perspective and expertise in your LinkedIn content. In the example above, Chris Walker (a CEO of a MarTech company) shares both an interesting story and his expert opinion on the overarching trend.

Review industry trends or use LinkedIn's content suggestions when considering content topics. LinkedIn will show you what content your target audience members already engage with on the platform.

Provide examples in your content. Don’t make your audience take your word for it (they rarely do). Instead, give them clear templates they can follow.

Remember the golden rule: cover the news first. Continuously look for rising trends, new challenges your bigger competitors haven't responded to yet, and provide your perspective.

Irrespective of your content, be consistent and share regularly. Include relevant SEO keywords to ensure your content is indexed by search engines and hashtags that may expose your content to a broader audience. However, please don't overdo it by keyword-stuffing your content or using too many hashtags.

Step Six. Engage Consistently

While it should go without saying, you can't only post content to LinkedIn without engaging with other individuals. Unfortunately, many professionals forget the engagement rule on LinkedIn and transform their profiles into loudspeakers. 

Remember to step off the soapbox and engage.

As you build your connections, your primary method of being found will be through other people's content. 

For example, your news feed will show you the latest news from your network and trends in your industry. This opens a wealth of engagement opportunities, and you can like, comment, or share the content with the rest of your network. 

Comments, when well thought-out, go a long way towards placing your profile in front of prospective customers. Once you read a peer’s post, share your experience, offer advice, or ask them a follow-up question. Typically, you’ll get the most engagement if you are among the first ten commenters on the post.

It’s also worth using your notifications tab to keep up with your network.

Finally, reply to messages and questions you receive. When the message comes from a prospect, aim to respond as soon as possible to avoid the lead going cold.

LinkedIn groups, while once helpful, are no longer relevant for growing your network. Much like our anecdote above, they have turned into a virtual soapbox where people cross-promote. However, join the relevant discussions if you find a good, organic group where conversation flows (instead of only seeing re-shared personal posts). 

Step Seven. Grow Your Network

In addition to engaging and sharing content, you can actively search for people to connect with.

When growing your network, however, you should keep a few things in mind. Firstly, as with content and engagement, effective networking requires consistency. That means checking in on your contacts regularly, be that commenting on their posts or (if they're a potential lead) sharing valuable resources that made you think of them.

Also, connecting with people on LinkedIn is more about how you can provide value for them than what’s in it for you.  

Remember to follow up when you receive connection requests you want to accept, particularly if the individual fits your target audience. Ask them more about their business and mention how your services might help.

Best Practices for Growing Your Business on LinkedIn

Now that we have covered the foundations, it's time to consider the best practices that will rapidly lead to stellar results. 

Focus on Personal Profiles

We mentioned earlier that personal profiles are more effective at increasing engagement and connecting with others on LinkedIn. There are a few reasons for this. For one, people prefer human-to-human contact to interacting with businesses. As such, they’re more likely to engage and connect with other people on the platform. 

In addition, your personal profile allows you to send connection requests to almost anyone on LinkedIn. This isn't an option if you only use your company page.

It’s important to remember that your personal profile and company page serve different purposes and that you should use them both to get the most out of the platform. As a rule of thumb:

  • Use your personal profile to connect with leads and industry peers and share thought-leadership content.
  • Use your company page to share company news, re-share your personal posts, and amplify and manage employee advocacy.

Even when finding prospects through Sales Navigator, use your personal profile to organically reach out with a single goal in mind: provide value. If you are casting a wide net with a broad lead generation campaign, you can’t spread yourself too thin. However, when you find high-value prospects, take the time to understand their challenges and craft a thoughtful offer. 

Optimize Your Content

Apart from using relevant keywords and hashtags as mentioned earlier, you should also:

  • Always include an image, video, infographic, or other assets with your content. Since the human brain processes photos and videos faster than text, you'll get more engagement compared to using text only. 
  • Always include strong headlines and clear calls to action.
  • Tag people and companies you mention in your content to make it available to their audience and connections.
  • Start your content with a question or include polls that create more opportunities for feedback and engagement. 

Continuously learn from your industry peers and other social networks. For example, more and more LinkedIn users are now using Twitter thread format (complete with emojis) to increase their content engagement. 

Amanda Natividad of SparkToro often repurposes her Twitter threads as LinkedIn presentations. It’s a lesson in keeping an open mind when approaching LinkedIn. Despite being a platform for professionals, you are still talking to individuals who want to be entertained, taught, and understood.

As in the market, so on LinkedIn. As consumer preferences change, so must your approach.

Use Analytics To Improve Like Feras Alhlou

Finally, look at the numbers. LinkedIn's personal profile analytics is quite lacking, so we recommend turning to a dedicated analytics tool to analyze your LinkedIn data.

When Feras Alhlou from Start Up With Feras first started using LinkedIn, the benefits of personal profiles were clear. Unfortunately, he was unable to find the right analytics tool: 

Since I post on LinkedIn under my personal page and not a business page, I didn't find tools that provided analytics on my personal posts and activities.

This is where Inlytics came in. 

As an analytics platform dedicated to using personal profiles to grow your business on LinkedIn, Inlytics analyzes your personal profile and content performance. 

You get strategic insights on an intuitive dashboard, so you know which tactics work and which ones you should avoid. 

You'll know always know how to take your results one step further.

Inlytics also gives you enhanced profile statistics showing how well your profile performs. You'll receive practical advice that guides you to make your profile even better.

For Feras, “Inlytics was helpful in providing the historical data for posts and engagements, all in one place.

Personal profiles make a world of difference when you grow your business on LinkedIn. 

It’s time to unlock remarkable business growth on LinkedIn. Sign up for a free Inlytics account today.

WRITTEN BY

Lana Rafaela

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