You heard it here first: LinkedIn is the social network of the future. A while back, LinkedIn was seen as the business platform you had to be on to get a good job or network with other professionals in your area. While this still holds true, utilizing LinkedIn can be a powerful weapon in your business repertoire.
At Accelity Marketing, we've made LinkedIn an integral part of our marketing strategy. Part of that includes building out our personal brands, as they reflect greatly on the business, as well as demonstrating the knowledge we each have in our different work. Our CEO and founder, Jackie Hermes, is blowing up the LinkedIn game to the point I’ve dubbed her, "LinkedIn famous." Our most important takeaway so far? The importance of telling your story.
I compiled a list of five ways that B2B SaaS entrepreneurs can build valuable connections.
1. Tell your story!
Business people tend to focus on selling their product and go about doing so in a very sales-y way. Audiences are so used to it and pass it up. Instead, try telling your story. Don’t focus on the product or the service, but tell your audience why it matters to you and your industry. It humanizes the process and in turn, makes you seem more personable instead of just someone trying to make a sale.
How did you end up in this industry? Why do you think your business matters? These are extremely important details people tend to skip. You’ll be surprised how many people may share a similar story or can relate to your situation. Invite people to tell their stories on your LinkedIn content in the comment section. This is particularly advantageous as the more people that comment, the broader your reach. Be sure to comment back on those people too for a better potential to connect.
2. Start shooting video.
LinkedIn video is taking off—get on board. LinkedIn has an algorithm for getting first-time videos out to your connection base. Although it’s still figuring itself out, the reach for your first video will be huge. In particular, if you have never posted a LinkedIn video prior, your views and reach will skyrocket (LinkedIn also wants you to make more videos). So make it count!
Your first video doesn’t need to be a super formal video. In fact, don’t make it overly serious. It’s not a commercial. Be yourself, speak from the heart and film it somewhere you feel comfortable, like in your office or at home. Talk about something you feel is pertinent to your industry. Not only will this make you come off more personal and less sales-y, but people will now have a face to associate with your brand.
Not every video has to be about business either. You’ll likely have people that are so burned out on seeing content like “10 tips to sell, flip and hustle your way to top” that talking about personal experiences will be the ticket to build more connections.
While LinkedIn is a professional building tool, not everything needs to be blue suits and brown boots. Talk about things in your life that are helping build you as a person, or provide insight on an issue or trend. These videos tend to do well and still increase your reach. As an example, you could talk about something as simple as a business that’s doing something you’d never seen before and what you thought about it. Just keep in mind that LinkedIn is a business tool and not a place to post pictures of your dog (unless it's relevant!).
3. Be an expert.
Tout yourself as a master of your industry. I see so many basic descriptions of people’s LinkedIn bios. “I’ve worked as a CPA for so and so many years...etc.” Yes, this demonstrates your industry experience, but it’s boring and doesn’t make you stand out. Instead, make yourself an expert in something. “B2B [Industry] leader, changing the way you experience your day to day life” stands out much more and gives you clout.
Don’t be afraid to promote yourself on LinkedIn. I’ve seen some big name influencers use emojis in their descriptions to further stand out. Do what feels best for you. At the end of the day, LinkedIn is still a social media, so express yourself.
4. Comment on industry leaders’ and influencers’ posts.
This can definitely be tedious, but the benefits are worth the extra 45 minutes you can take out of your day. Someone with 1.5 million connections has a huge amount of pull and engagement. (Check out this blog for some strong profiles to follow.)
If you decide to simply comment on their posts, keep it on topic; don’t go flaunting how your SaaS solution can do more than the other person’s, but still name drop a bit. Simple comments like “I really like this mentality, it aligns with my company core values too” will gain some traction but nowhere near as much of traction that a thoughtful or reflective comment might. Be honest, be original and don’t be afraid to stir the pot. The goal is to get people to engage with your comments too.
Use these people to your advantage as they are influencers for a reason. It’s easy to like someone’s post, but it’s much more beneficial to comment. If you make this a habit, your name will be synonymous with industry leaders (and you'll be on your way to becoming one yourself). If you really like someone’s post, feel free to go further in depth. If you don’t necessarily agree with what someone says, post your opinion, but always do it respectfully. There are enough people on the internet bashing people’s ideas already.
5. Boots on the ground gets business done.
There are plenty of ways to build your connections on LinkedIn via the Internet that most people tend to forget the primitive way of actually chatting with people in person. Go to as many networking events or panels as you can. Not only is this a fantastic way to have a one-on-one conversation with people about your business but there is a fantastic little tool that LinkedIn has to help you grow your network at these events.
Through the LinkedIn app, there is a QR code that allows people to scan and instantly become connected to you. This is a great trick that I use at every networking event I attend. It’s a great way to get another business card, but you also now have a direct line to chat with that person.
Another great tool to use is “proximity connection”. LinkedIn has the ability to turn on a proximity sensor that allows you to connect to anyone in a room instantly as long as they have it on as well. At networking events, be sure to tell people about this as it’s a fantastic way to gain 30 connections without trying very hard.
There you have it! Five ways you can easily build your connections on LinkedIn. Be proactive, talk about your brand, your experiences, things you see in your industry and don’t shy away from connecting with people you may not know. That’s what LinkedIn is all about, after all!
What are some of your ways to build out your connection list as an entrepreneur? Let me know in the comments below! Looking for additional LinkedIn tips? Download our B2B SaaS LinkedIn Ads Checklist.