After 2-3 years of trying several different social networks for my SEO copywriting business, I had a breakthrough in the past 6 months where most of my biggest web projects came from one source: LinkedIn.
I’ve come to realize that my LinkedIn connections have been more fruitful for my business, BY FAR, than any other marketing method I’ve tried. Here’s why I believe it’s a terrific resource for you too:
- Your LinkedIn connections are truly business-focused connections.
People are using LinkedIn primarily for business conversations, sharing business tips, finding business contacts and opportunities, and asking questions about business success. I have not found this to be true with the other social media.
- LinkedIn connections are often from companies with decent marketing budgets.
The clients who reached out to me via LinkedIn were mainly from companies looking for a skilled SEO Copywriter to help improve an existing website or launch a new site. This work was in their marketing budget for the year and they were ready to go. They were happy to find me and were willing to pay my fees for quality SEO Copywriting. The same can happen for you too.
- Linked connections represent all types of opportunities for your business. Over the last couple of years, I’ve connected with more than 600 people I know personally from my career and my school days. I have connections with former colleagues, associates I met through business groups, college classmates and friends, high school friends, graphic designers, web developers, ad agency people I’ve met, fellow copywriters, industry leaders like Heather, and many, many other types of people. Any one of them can be a great source of referrals or business. You never know!
It’s not just me that’s having better luck with LinkedIn than some other social networks when it comes to finding business clients. HubSpot’s 2011 State of Inbound Marketing report shows that, “the effectiveness of particular social media channels varies according to the type of business.”
In a survey of over 600 professionals, they found that “LinkedIn is clearly more effective (than Facebook) for B2B businesses.”
So why not try it and see for yourself? It’s incredibly easy and it’s FREE. Try these 5 ways to dive in and create a powerful network for your business, all from the comfort of home:
1. Create an optimized profile of yourself.
For example, include the phrase “SEO copywriter” in your SUMMARY and in the description of current business. Include all past work you’ve done as a virtual resume under EXPERIENCE, but be sure to showcase the work you’ve done that’s relevant for today’s potential clients. You don’t need to do it all at once, but eventually you’ll want to create a robust profile with relevant content in each prompted section.
2. Start connecting with the most obvious folks on your list.
This will include current employers (if you’re still working at a company), current colleagues, past colleagues, college friends, local business folks you know… anyone who comes to mind. You might make a big list on paper and then search for those people in LinkedIn’s SEARCH area. When you send a request to connect, always add a little personal note to say “hi” and let the person know what you’re doing. Here’s an example, “Hey Bob! Great to see you here. Just letting you know I’m now a Certified SEO Copywriter focusing on improving website performance for clients. Perhaps you know someone who could use my help? In the meantime, I’d love to add you to my LinkedIn Connections. What are you up to these days? Cheers, Pam”
3. Continue connecting with “People you may know.”
As you begin building a network of connections from all your past jobs, etc., LinkedIn feeds you a list of people who you may know based on your new connections. This list is a goldmine, so make the most of it! You’ll find people you completely forgot about or you haven’t seen in years. With a quick invitation to connect, you suddenly strike up a new relationship that could lead to a great referral or project. I check out the “People you may know” at least once a week and send out at least 10 invitations each time. It adds up quickly.
4. Join Groups that are relevant to your business.
If your SEO copywriting work is for a particular niche market (which I highly recommend), join groups in that market. For example, I’m focused on the pet industry, so I’ve joined Pet Business groups and Veterinary groups. Joining groups helps you keep track of questions and topics that are important to your specific market, and when it makes sense, chime in on a discussion (without promoting your business of course, because no-one likes spammy participants).
5. Be an amazing contributor.
Whenever you can, use the “Share an update” box on your home page to post helpful tips, links, ideas, questions, answers, sources, industry news, etc. that your connections may find helpful. Try not to be overly promotional. Just be helpful. That’s the simple rule of thumb for all your social media efforts. And don’t forget to use relevant keywords in your posts! This helps potential clients find you in LinkedIn search.
Bonus tip: Ask for recommendations and give recommendations.
LinkedIn makes it very easy to reach out to folks and ask for a personal recommendation of your work. By clicking on the Recommendations button, you can send a simple request via email. Be sure to add a personal message and offer to return the favor. Not everyone will stop and write a recommendation, but it’s great when some people do take the time. I’ve accumulated a nice list of testimonials through this feature.
This gives you a solid start on making the most of LinkedIn. There are many other ways you can make the most of this free resource once you get your foundation going.
Keep linking and good luck!