Did you know that 80% of social media leads come from LinkedIn?
If you aren’t currently using LinkedIn as a marketing tool for your consulting, you’re missing out. Big time.
This is from the Sales and LinkedIn Study, which interviewed nearly 3,100 business owners, consultants and career salespeople.
Perhaps more useful than Facebook and Twitter combined, there are plenty of benefits for consultants to use it.
But, you need to have a clear reason for why, combined with the right tactics.
Lucky you, we have that covered. Let’s jump in.
Having a clear reason for why you are using LinkedIn for your consulting business will not only help you decide what tactics you use but also how to measure the outcomes to determine success (or failure.)
What is the end result you are trying to achieve?
Take 15 to 20 minutes and jot down the answers.
Unless you have a clear understanding of why you are doing something, it can be hard to make any real progress.
Are you having trouble getting started? Here are a few suggestions.
- Establish yourself as an expert in your field.
- Grow your list of contacts and potential clients.
- Increase the overall sales of your products or services.
- Identify possible speaking opportunities.
- Attract joint venture partnerships.
Consider who you are trying to reach, including what position they hold, what knowledge they may already have regarding your type of consulting and where they usually devote their time and attention.
Finally, think about their needs, specifically what their current struggles are and what they need you for. Use this time to identify potential keywords and phrases someone would search for when looking for your services.
Got it? Cool, let’s get into the meat and potatoes.
16 Tactics To Leverage LinkedIn For Consultants
Using LinkedIn for reaching an audience and converting them into leads and prospects is only becoming more useful and even possible.
But, staying active on LinkedIn requires a bit of a strategy in where you decide what to do, when and how.
Focused action yields focused results.
Here are 16 tactics you can pick and choose from.
Tactic #1: Before you do anything else, complete your profile’s Summary section
This is your opportunity to introduce yourself and persuade people to reach out to you.
Think of this as your “personal sales letter”. But: keep it short and to the point. This is not the place for “long-form” copywriting.
Some ideas for you:
- Write in the first person, while using complete sentences.
- Speak directly and convincingly to your audience, not to everyone and anyone.
- Clearly and concisely address your points without using slang or over-doing professional jargon that may prove to be confusing to potential clients or customers.
- Add the best way to contact you, even in the summary. Although it is listed elsewhere in your profile, you want to make it as clear and simple as possible for someone to reach you quickly.
Once you have started your profile, keep going until you have it complete. Of course, use keywords for what you do, but make sure they’re not awkwardly placed.
While everyone is telling you to have a complete profile, have you actually added everything you can to it?
Any content you’ve published? Volunteer work? Certifications? Awards? Have you asked for and gotten testimonials?
When you are finished, read it out loud several times to check for any unnatural phrases.
Tactic #2: Begin with connections, then form relationships
The goal of LinkedIn is to connect with other professionals, not just potential clients.
Focus on connecting with potential referral sources, other business owners, and strategic partners.
Then, make sure you’re nurturing your connection by providing value to it early and first.
Tactic #3: Look for highly targeted connections and customers
As a consultant, you can get very specific and expansive in your searches, so use that to your advantage.
You can focus on a specific industry, company size, and enough job function that would be most likely to purchase your service.
Use various search parameters to your advantage and target those individuals who would benefit you most.
Tactic #4: Expand your email marketing list
LinkedIn allows you to message up to 50 people at one time, and you can actually use this without spamming or being generally obnoxious.
It’s as easy as creating a message that thanks others for connecting with you on LinkedIn and inviting them to join your email marketing list. Include a direct link to make signing up as painless and likely as possible.
Out of 50 messages, you may get a handful of signups if the reason and offer is crafted well enough. After apologizing for the lack of personalization, detail what they will receive from signing up and offer to look at something of theirs.
Tactic #5: Stay on your clients’ radar
After introducing yourself to potential clients, stay in contact with anyone who expresses an interest in your consulting services. This may include daily status updates, weekly LinkedIn blog posts, and monthly emails that provide information about how your products/ services can benefit them. If you have the time and ability, offer a white paper or arrange a webinar.
Tactic #6: Take advantage of Sponsored Updates
Sponsored Updates allow you to pay to promote your post onto an individual’s LinkedIn feed.
While this “pay-per-click” or “pay-per-impression” feature is similar to other social networks, it does allow you to customize based on everything from company name to skills, job title and function, and more.
This is a great way to promote content ending with a strong call to action intended for your targeted audience.
By using a LinkedIn Sponsored Update, you can target a specific niche, increase the number of visitors to your website, and even generate sales leads, depending on how persuasive your content is.
Tactic #7: Create your own group
After creating your group, it’s time to find your ideal members. The most effective way to do this is by checking out the member pages of the groups you have joined. Filter through them, looking for those most appropriate and then send personalized invitations for them to join your group.
If you want to be sneaky, because you created the group, you have the power to block your competitors from joining, while also sharing valuable content that demonstrates your expertise.
The biggest complaint people have about LinkedIn groups is that they turn into spam and pitch-fests. Keep a high standard in what gets shared, posted and who joins. If you can build a group that has the opposite reputation of the norm, you’ll end up with more traffic to your site and better conversions.
Tactic #8: Craft your content for maximum impact to increase chances of it going viral
Great content generally has two goals:
- It teaches others a better way to do their job or solve their problem.
- It establishes you as a leader and will grow your business, if your content has real value.
When a post gains momentum, LinkedIn will spotlight it in one of their categories. This expands your visibility to tens of thousands of readers or even more.
It may be tiring, but always be sure to put out the highest quality content. If you do not have to time to create this content, consider outsourcing to a freelance writer.
Also, you can re-post your own content here, without penalty (so far.)
Tactic #9: Keep an up-to-date consulting firm page
It should go without saying that keeping an updated page is crucial. Have your images, colors, and content be consistent with that on your website and social media pages. Work regular updates into your schedule. Use it for commenting on other posts.
It’s not even necessary to do this every single day, but if others see your company page and it has nothing on it, or a random post from 2011, it will detract from their impression of you.
Tactic #10: Claim your custom URL
Make certain your URL contains your name. This is important because many people do a Google search before they meet someone in the business world for the first time.
Claiming your custom URL increases the chances of your LinkedIn profile ranking near the top of the search results.
Tactic #11: Are you viewed as a specialist?
When you are seen as a specialist, you attract more interest on LinkedIn. To do this, you need to know who you are going to help and what you are going to do.
Don’t be a general “business consultant.” It means nothing to anyone. In your description, titles, summaries and job experience sections, be detailed and specific in what you do and for whom.
You need to be able to tell someone exactly what you can help them achieve. Do not make the mistake of referring to yourself as a “business coach” and leave it at that. It’s simply too vague.
You must be able to clearly outline what results you can help them achieve or what feeling you can help them experience. Every advertisement should include the result of your offer.
Tactic #12: Start with their problem before moving on to your solution
Another common mistake involves concentrating on yourself. A potential client wants to feel confident that choosing you is the right decision and this requires more than just talking about yourself.
Make yourself stand out by identifying that you understand the problem they are experiencing before discussing how you can fix it. This is crucial for interest and engagement.
You do this in your posts, updates, group discussions, summary section and elsewhere on your profile.
Tactic #13: Share content that is both educational and offers a “results in advance” angle
Offering articles, blog posts, videos, and free webinar events gives your readers the chance to learn more about their problem and how to solve it, while setting you apart from the competition.
This also makes them see you as an expert authority that can be trusted. Always opt for entertaining content that is easy to understand.
Tactic #14: Offer more help at the end of your content
This gives a prospect the chance to get more value from you. You can offer an invitation to a workshop or seminar or even a one-on-one consultation. Don’t be hesitant because you feel you will be perceived as pushy. Believe in what you have to offer and put it out there with authority and confidence.
Tactic #15: Always take the time to answer questions
If someone asks you a question, answer it thoroughly in a timely fashion. This is the perfect opportunity to show that you are truly an expert who knows what they are talking about.
Provide an answer that is informative and offers plenty of value. After sending a public response, so that others can see that you take the time to answer questions, reach out to the person who sent the question with a private message offering additional support.
Tactic #16: Take full advantage of the post feature
A LinkedIn post is similar to a blog post. It gives you the ability to automatically notify all of your connections each time you post something new. (You can do this relatively often, such as once a week.)
Readers will have the opportunity to leave comments, as well as like and share your posts. It is also a good idea to follow up with a quick thank you any time someone leaves a comment.
As an added bonus, LinkedIn automatically tracks the number of views, likes, and comments your published post receives, which is definitely a good thing to know.
Using LinkedIn For Consulting Starts With “Why” And Continues With “How”
Your success in using LinkedIn comes down to a few key areas. Let’s recap some of what we’ve talked about.
- This is the equivalent to your online resume and it’s perfect for showing off your experience.
- Let others recommend and endorse you for your skills and past work.
- Show off projects, pieces of work you’ve completed.
- Get traffic to your website.
As for Personal Updates:
- Get visitors to your new blog posts.
- Build relationships with others who update their profile.
- Constant reminder to your connections about your presence.
Using LinkedIn Groups:
- Traffic to blog posts.
- Access to experts in other areas.
- Extensive network to connect with.
And for your LinkedIn Connections:
- Email up to 50 people at a time.
- Use the “Find Connections” feature.
- Export connections from Linkedin to get email addresses, but be careful not to spam.
- Introductions – Get introduced to people you wouldn’t have access to.
- You can use inmails to send mail to someone you aren’t connected with.
As a consultant, it’s time to add LinkedIn to your weekly marketing strategies.
You have everything to gain and pretty much nothing to lose.