LinkedIn is crucial to new business development

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There’s no avoiding it – we live in a LinkedIn age. It allows you to grow your professional network, promote yourself, and connect with future prospective clients. The networking tool is used so extensively by everyone that when someone doesn’t have a profile, you question if they’re a figment of your imagination.

As its use rises, the age of ‘little black books’ has shrunk and now getting in touch with someone out of the blue by e-mail or phone is likely to have as much success fostering a new business relationship.

Your LinkedIn profile is an extension of that approach, as it further promotes your business and personal brand. It’s also home to 19 million other people, businesses and brands in the UK alone.

With that in mind, here are a few things you can do to make the most of this little corner of the Internet and generate new business leads:

1. Your Personal Biography

After your current job title, this is the most likely section of your profile to be read by a prospective client. This presents an opportunity for you to showcase your skillset and talents. Beware that many agencies tend to be guilty of using the same jargon and copy. To someone you’re trying to get a meeting with it is worth providing something short and easy to read to stand you out.

2. Profile Picture

Getting this wrong can cost you a new business opportunity. Make your picture warm, approachable and professional. Don’t be overly serious, outré or lascivious, or your picture will be up on corkboard under a banner reading “LinkedIn Fails”. Even at an early stage, you want someone to think “do I want to work with this person?” and the answer to be yes. Steer clear of showing off your successes too much in your picture or your ego will drop you into the “No” column.

3. Thought Leadership

There’s a wealth of content out there designed to catch the eye. If you’re going to put your name to any of it – make sure it’s relevant. If you want to get in touch with the CMO of an airline, is what you’re sharing with them specific to their industry? Share white papers, blog posts and contributing pieces on your company page, and take time to comment on other statuses. It shows you’re active and thinking about the bigger picture.

4. Your Agency’s Network

If you’re a company of any size, you will have companies and individuals following you. By jove, they might be interested in learning more about you! You might have secret admirers! Make sure you regularly ask your agency teams to export their LinkedIn contacts and pick out any interesting people brand side that the agency should be reaching out to. It helps you to gauge who’s interested in what work you’re doing and presents new leads worth following up.

Using LinkedIn effectively for new business has become an art in its own right and with this in mind, The Future Factory is hosting our next quarterly breakfast session on this very topic in early November.

The session will cover topics such as how to use LinkedIn to get included on pitches, creating engaging content, being seen as a thought-leader and encouraging engagement.

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