Networking is a critical part of running a business. It allows you to form relationships with other companies in related fields. You can find more leads and grow your business more effectively.
One of the top benefits of networking is that you can gain new customers through referrals. Did you know that 84% of people trust referrals? Or that the conversion rate for referrals is three to five times higher than other forms of marketing?
Along with referrals from your existing customers, you can get referrals from other businesses and freelancers in your network. They can recommend their customers to you, and you can do the same for them. It’s a win-win situation, and each of you helps to support the growth of another business.
There are a variety of ways to build a network in today’s world. You can take part in local events, join business organizations, or attend networking events. Another option is to take to the internet. Social media provides a whole new avenue for building relationships and growing your business network.
LinkedIn offers a perfect networking platform. Here’s what you need to know about how to network on LinkedIn to grow your business.
Complete Your LinkedIn Profile
Your LinkedIn profile is essentially your online resume. It allows you to highlight yourself and your business. Don’t just fill out the different spots to complete your profile, though — use each section to make your business stand out from the crowd. Here are a few tips for creating a stellar profile:
- Use a professional headshot as a profile picture.
- Craft an attention-grabbing summary that demonstrates what makes you stand out from others in your industry.
- Fill out your industry, location, current position, and past positions.
In today’s digital world, most businesses make their first impressions online. When networking in person, a great first impression is a must. When networking online, your LinkedIn profile stands in for you. Make sure you fill out everything and leave no noticeable gaps.
Reach Out and Make Connections
Once you’ve completed your profile, it’s time to start reaching out and making connections. While having more contacts will help you to appear more established in your industry, don’t add people just for the sake of having them on your list. What you want are quality connections. You want to build a network of people you believe can help you grow and whom you can benefit in return.
One of the first places to start is with the business cards you accumulated at past networking events. Go through those cards and see if those professionals also have LinkedIn profiles. To make a connection, just click “connect.”
You’ll have the opportunity to add a note to your connection request — be sure to take advantage of this feature. Personalize every request by introducing yourself and pointing out the common ground you share with a new connection. Let them know why you’d like to have them as a part of your network.
Aim to send 5-10 connection requests a day and your network will compound over time.
How To Add Value to Connections
Making connections isn’t enough, however. To network effectively, you need to build relationships with those you add. The best way to start relationships is by first providing value. Follow Robert Cialdini's first principle of persuasion, which states that human beings are wired to return favors and pay back debts. It’s simple, offer value first, then pitch after.
Before you message a connection, study their profile and figure out something that can make them better at their job. For example, if you see them hiring, refer someone in your network who may be a good fit. If you’re not sure what can bring them value, strike up a conversation by asking them a question related to their line-of-work.
Lastly, stay top of mind by commenting on and liking posts. Share your prospect’s content from time to time. People feel good when their content is shared, resulting in a positive association with you.
LinkedIn groups offer an excellent networking opportunity. Joining those related to your industry puts your profile in front of hundreds, if not thousands of people working in a similar space. That’s a lot of people to network and build relationships with.
Just as you want to build relationships with your connections actively, you need to be active in your groups to grow your network. Answer questions and participate in discussions. Share relevant content and demonstrate your expertise. One of the most important things to keep in mind is that groups are a community. Be sure to add value with everything you contribute.
Along with being active in your LinkedIn groups, you need to be active on LinkedIn in general. Post engaging content to present yourself as an industry expert. Sure, you can share an article you’ve read recently, but a more effective strategy is to share one that you’ve written yourself. Using hashtags when you publish on the platform can make you easier to find, and they can help you attract others into your network.
Build Your Network on LinkedIn
When leveraged correctly, LinkedIn helps businesses like yours to generate new leads. It also provides a perfect platform for you to build your professional network. With a strong network, you can reach more prospects that you might never have reached otherwise. If you’re looking for ways to grow your business on LinkedIn, Cleverly can help.
Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.