When a business first starts out, it’s important to leverage as much organic (free) marketing as possible- and social media is a great way of doing this. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube — these are often the most thought about by Startups at launch.
But there’s one major social media that can be leveraged organically — and it’s full of people ready to buy; Linkedin. Linkedin is known as the professional Facebook, because whilst it’s a social media it’s designed to be used by professionals.
It’s become increasingly popular in recent years, which has lead to a lot of spammy sales messages being sent out by untrained sales people desperate for their next sale. As such Linkedin has developed a bit of a stigma.
That said, it’s still a great social media to utilise and one that no business should miss out on — especially a Startup which needs to leverage everything it can!
Linkedin has a lot of other features that are hidden behind payment plans, but I’m just going to focus on how Startups can utilise it entirely for free — because leads, prospects and customers can be obtained via Linkedin without paying anything for additional features.
The guide is split into three parts that must be done in order to maximise results;
The guide picks off straight after you’ve created your profile, so make sure you do that first. Let’s dive in, starting with Profile…
So you’ve just created your profile and it’s blank — what can you do to maximise it’s potential?
- Profile picture & cover photo. Firstly, you need to put a profile picture and cover photo on your profile. The profile picture should be a professional photo of you, and the cover photo can be branding of your business. Note: Linkedin images have certain dimensions so ensure you understand them.
- Next you have a section about you to fill in. This should be kept relatively brief and should include what you bring for customers — what I call the afters. What ultimate results will you get for your customers? For me, I talk about getting more customers, sales and success. At this point I don’t explain how I do this (Marketing).
- Next you should change your linkedin URL and optimise it so it matches with any keywords your startup is using. For example, mine is simply /themarketeer because that’s my brand. People searching for me will find my profile.
- Next you need to add your current job — which will most likely be founder of X Startup. This position must be linked with a business page. For now, go ahead and create a business page for your Startup, and link your job to that. We will optimise the business page in part 2 of the guide.
- Where you’ve entered your position, you should put a summary of what the business does. The best format is to start with asking a few questions, that really target your audience. For example, one of mine is “Are you finding it hard to get more customers or sales?”. That’s because businesses struggling with doing that can be helped with my Marketing.
- Under the questions, briefly cover how you can help them — cover your experience, knowledge and so on. Also briefly mention how you’ll help them — the specifics. So again for mine, I talk about how I use Facebook ads, write copy, build funnels, consult and so on.
- Lastly, you want a brief but strong call to action — something that very clearly tells people what to do to get your help — i.e. to message you on linkedin, call you etc. Make it easy for them to take this action.
- Next you should add all of your previous work, education and voluntary history. Whilst not relevant because you’re not looking for a job, a lot of this will support why you know your stuff — so much so you started a business doing it!
- Around this point as well you want to add videos to testimonials — but as a Startup you may not have any. The key is to get as many as possible from your first customers and clients.
- Next you can enter a large number of specific skills that people can also endorse you for. Enter every relevant skill that reflects what you and your business offers and so people can see what you’re made of.
- Following this you can receive recommendations — even for a Startup with no customers yet, you can still get these for people you used to work with and for in your previous occupations. These will still help reflect your skill and personality.
- Lastly, you can set certain interests — again the key here is to have ones that are relevant to what your Startup specialises in. But it’s also a great opportunity to set some interests your target audience has too. For example if provide personal development services, your target audience probably has interest in figures such as Tony Robbins — so add him as an interest.
Note: If you have any employees at all, they need to do everything covered so far — it takes less than 20 minutes and is so important!
Now onto the Business page. You created it in part 1, but left it blank for us to now fill. A lot of these points are similar to the profile page, so I’ll cover a bit briefer;
- Set a display picture and cover photo — this should include your business logo and other associated branding.
- Enter a tagline which is a short description about the business — you can take this from point 2 from part 1 of the guide.
- Add some relevant hashtags that are used for posts applicable to your business. For example for mine, hashtags like #marketing #digitalmarketing and so on are perfect.
- Next you want to schedule occasional posts to the business page — which you and all of your team will share to your personal profiles too. A post every three days is fine, and should include a great image, be packed full of value and have a call to action where people can get in contact with you for help. Videos work well here too.
So now you have a personal profile and a business page — next we need to focus on getting people to view these by building connections.
It’s at this point there is a number of paid resources available via Linkedin directly or third parties — allowing you to message and request connections en mass automatically and do detailed searches to target only the best people. Sure this stuff saves time, but also costs. For now I’d recommend doing it yourself, just 20 minutes a day.
- Before messaging or connecting with anyone, your Startup needs some sort of free resource — a guide, checklist or eBook that your ideal audience would love to have. This can be made available as a PDF so it can be accessed at a click of a button.
- In addition and before proceeding further, ensure you’re connected with as many people as possible that you already know — colleagues/peers/ex colleagues etc. These connections are known as 1st connections — those that are connected to you.
- Our goal is to now connect with as many relevant 2nd connections as possible — people who are now connected with you just yet, but are connected with one or more of your 1st connections.
- It’s very easy to search a list of all 2nd connections — you also want to narrow your search down however so the connections are as close to your target audience as possible. For example you can search specific job titles and locations.
- You want to request connections with 20 2nd connections a day — with a custom non-salesy message attached. It’s important to take the time to write “To enternamehere at the start of your message, but you can paste the same generic rest of the message. It’s important that this is not salesy — simply say that you’re a Startup specialising in XYZ and you’re looking to build connections in X area.
- Don’t expect everybody to accept your requests, but a good number will and adding 20 a day will yield good numbers. All of the work you’ve done on your profile, business page, and doing posts will help sell you to these new connections.
- Plus once you’ve connected with people, take time to get to know them and offer them the free PDF you created earlier — but only if you think they’re your ideal target audience. Don’t directly sell — give value, help them, become friends with them.
- Relevant groups should also be joined — maybe 2 a week. These should be groups your ideal target audience hangs out around in. Members make great potential new connections, and you can also comment on peoples posts and make your own posts — even offering your PDF.
- All of these actions should be done by every team member at first — at absolute minimum each needs 100 1st connections, but ultimately more.
- The more you and your team build up your connections and engagement, you’ll start getting requests yourself too. Even if they seem to be from a sales person or somebody completely inapplicable to you, you should still accept it as they may be connected with your next customer!
The key here is consistently — doing these actions every day and not stopping. The power of consistency and the leverage Linkedin has with professionals mean you’ll start to find customers in no time.
- First you need to set up your own profile and add as much info as possible — and get your team to do the same!
- Next do the same for your business page
- And finally, start connecting with people and building up relationships — giving value and not selling directly. Be consistent with this.