Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last decade, you’ll know that social media has become a huge phenomenon. What started as a way to keep friends connected has snowballed into one of the biggest marketing channels of the 21st century. As social networks become more advanced and intricate, it can be hard to know which ones are most effective for your firm. But there’s one social network that’s entirely dedicated to the world of business: LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is perfect for consultancies dues to its network of millions of professionals.
In this blog we’ll explore how start-up professional services firms can use it to build relationships and maximise opportunities.
Create a Business Page
Unlike Instagram or Twitter, you do not need to create a separate account for your firm. Once you’ve set up your personal account, you then need to create a new business page. Title it the same name of your business, e.g. ABC Consulting. You can post updates from this page as well as your personal account. Look at the page as a way of showcasing your firm’s services, news and parts of the firm you can’t show easily on your website. For example, you might want to promote a link to a blog, or share a photo from a recent event. This allows your audience to see the human side of you and your firm. But remember, while the tone of LinkedIn is more formal than for example, Facebook, still be you.
Get Connected with the Right People
Like all social networks, LinkedIn is based on the importance of connectivity. The social platform is more engaging and useful the more people you ‘link’ with, so get connecting. The key part here is making sure you connect with the right people. You can’t send connections from your company page, so you’ll need to send them from your personal account. You can then invite people to follow your firm’s page. Think of connections in three sections: past, present, and future. So, send requests to people you’ve worked with previously (past), and anyone you work with now (present). This is a great way to stay in the loop with everything that’s happening in your industry. You should also connect with future customers. Pick wisely and don’t go overboard, or your LinkedIn will be overrun with people you don’t know.
Make a Group
As well as having a page for your business, you can create a LinkedIn group where people post updates, share articles and discuss important matters on a certain topic. Don’t use this as a place to pitch your firm, but as a space to generate conversation and stay connected with people who work in your industry, in a private environment. When creating your group, title it a subject that’s linked to your company without including its name. For example, rather than calling it ‘ABC Consulting Group’, call it ‘UK Talent Chat’. Invite people who are in your sector into the group. In this case, you’d invite people who work in HR and other related industries. How does this benefit your firm? It’s a less obvious gain than showcasing your services and having someone instantly convert into a paying customer. However, it allows you to become an authority figure in your area. People will recall that Mr Smith runs the ‘UK Talent Chat’ page and always posts great articles or provokes interesting discussion. Then when they’re looking to use a consulting firm, you’ll be on their mind.
In the 2000s, people made sales using cold calling. Now we’re nearing the 2020s, we’ve realised that there are many other sales methods out there. One of these is LinkedIn. We’re not talking about spamming people with messages about how amazing your firm is – you’re better than that. Instead, use it as a platform to be connected with people who are potential customers (thinking back to point 2). Send them the occasional message to say you enjoyed an article or blog they shared, or to congratulate them on career changes. In an ideal situation, you’ll build up a relationship with them. The conversation might naturally steer towards your business – or you can engineer it to happen that way – and then you can begin talking about what you do. You’ll have a pre-existing relationship with them, so it’s more like friends discussing work rather than a stranger pitching their business idea.
LinkedIn is a fantastic resource for staying connected and maximising on opportunities to promote the fantastic work you do. It gives your firm a human side, and allows you to make the right connections with people you might not otherwise get a chance to meet, so sign up and get started today.