LinkedIn has been referred to as Facebook for grown ups. There are over 1.6 million South Africans on the platform. Unlike Facebook or other social platforms LinkedIn is a place for professionals looking to do business with other professionals. Globally there are over 140 million people on LinkedIn which there is no other place or network that gives you a better chance of being able to connect with and influence a decision maker.
This makes it an ideal place for any sales professional. Having a strong presence on LinkedIn is branding for your company and for you, as a professional.
There is a misconception that LinkedIn is for job seekers or recruitment professionals. If you have this limited view you will miss important business opportunities. Recruiters make up less than 1% of LinkedIn users.
However to use it successfully requires you approach it with the correct view and mindset. Being a social platform means, by its very definition, you have to be active participant. If you think of it as a networking event. All very well to show up but if you sit in the corner sipping cocktails you aren’t going to meet any interesting or important people. LinkedIn is a means to network with, rather than market to, business professionals.
Thinking in terms of networking LinkedIn provides you with:
- A way to communicate with direct connections
- A way to access the connections of direct connections – people who are themselves on LinkedIn to find new opportunities for business
- A free listing on the world’s largest directory of businesses and professionals
- A platform like none other to connect with decision makers
- A unique source of business intelligence. This is possible because so many professionals sharing so much information which can be searched through LinkedIn.
Having a complete profile and being an active member of LinkedIn offers the following benefits:
- You can build a targeted professional community
- Because of its open nature this allows for excellent engagements with interested people
- Increased visibility for your business or brand through LinkedIn Groups.
- The same networking potential of a trade show or event but 24 hours a day, every day.
If all employees (not just sales) are active on LinkedIn each one can have an effect on sales. This would require LinkedIn to be open and available all the time (some organizations have restricted access to this and other social platforms).
To have success with LinkedIn for your sales and finding new business requires
- A detailed and complete profile
- Active use of the tools of LinkedIn such as groups, company pages, recommendations and key words for your industry
- Participating on the platform with a definite plan.