Using your LinkedIn to build trust and credibility in a B2B world
Did you know 61 million LinkedIn users are senior level influencers and 40 million are in a decision-making position? From a B2B perspective, this means the decision-makers you are trying to reach are using LinkedIn. But this also means, that they may not be always going to the corporate LinkedIn profile, but to the personal LinkedIn profile of your executives, your experts speaking at conferences and your sales team.
If a potential customer or media (yes, editors also use LinkedIn to find experts to interview) were to visit those pages, would they contain the right information and portray the right image?
Why LinkedIn matters
In addition to portraying your professional image, there are numerous reasons why your LinkedIn profile matters. For example, it may come up if prospective customers use the LinkedIn search function when looking for your organization on the platform. It could also come up when doing a product search on LinkedIn or in Google. But most commonly, it will be the people and prospective customers you meet at tradeshows, meetings and other places who will see your profile.
Often, when your hand out your business card, those people will look you up online to see how long you’ve been somewhere and to find out more. Your LinkedIn profile will likely be the piece of information they will find. If you are speaking at an event, they may also look you up – especially if they liked your presentation – in hopes of keeping the connection going and to see what other items you post on the subject matter.
The media will also use LinkedIn for information on your company’s executive or your spokespeople, so their profiles should reflect the vision and mission of the company. An active profile that has shared industry articles and opinion pieces shows them as a leader who has a pulse on what is going on within their organization and their area of expertise.
A picture is worth 1000 words
One of the most common issues we see when looking at the LinkedIn accounts for executives and sales professionals is that their page has not been updated for years. In many cases, they have not updated their page since they accepted the job with the organization. The good news is giving the page a fresh look doesn’t take long:
- The profile photo: Choose a headshot that shows you looking professional and in clothing that reflects your job. For example, a suit or a button up shirt makes sense for a senior level executive, but it would look out of place for someone who works outdoors. Also, make sure the photo is about you at work. Photos of you with your pet, your kids or doing your weekend hobby are great for Facebook and Instagram, but LinkedIn is your digital business card.
- The background image: Many people forget about the background image on their profile, but having one that is relevant to your business can let people know more about your company, what your specialty is and that you are dedicated to your craft. The background image could show a specific product, it could have your company tagline and colours, or it might simply be the company branding.
Getting the most out of your bio
The “About” section on LinkedIn is, in many cases, the most missed opportunity on the platform. So often people have written their profile as if they are looking for a job, and once they have the job, they haven’t rewritten it to reflect their current position and how they can help potential customers find solutions.
Take for example, George. He is head of sales and marketing at a large plastics technology company. He has been in his position for 9 years.
The first few sentences of his bio reads:
My personal business objective is to hold an international commercial management position in a dynamic and ambitious organization. The position will determine the commercial success of the organization by the establishment and implementation of business strategy and commercial policies in order to achieve the business goals of the organization.
So…what do you think? As a potential customer, do you think George is the guy who will be dedicated to helping you find solutions to your business challenges, or is George looking for a job?
Now let’s read Mark’s profile below:
Can you see the difference? Mark’s profile is an extension of his business card that tells potential customers how he can help them. Unlike George, his profile is not focused on catching the attention of recruiters, but prospects.
If uncertain about what your “About” section should contain, follow these easy steps:
- A sentence explaining to the customer what you do
- One or two sentences on how you help your customers
- A couple sentences on your service areas that your customers are looking for, which might be product or solution related
- Your background
The final touches: Adding rich media
At the bottom of Mark’s profile, you’ll see two image blocks. Those are rich media items that he added to his profile. These can be article links, videos, SlideShare presentations, product sheets, etc.
Now imagine you meet a potential customer at a tradeshow and you hand the person your business card. Once they get home from the show, they take your card and visit your LinkedIn page where your updated profile explains how you help customers just like them find solutions. At the bottom of your “About” section, they will see your links to product sheets, press releases or product demo videos of the items you had at the show.
In short, rather than having them trying to find everything on your corporate website, you’ve curated the answers they need on your profile and have started to build the connection. If they reach out and want to “connect” on LinkedIn, your cold lead, just became a warm lead (or if you took their business card, you can send them an invitation to connect).
Keeping your skills updated
LinkedIn is continuing to grow as a place to communicate especially in the industrial technology sector. The social media platform is also continuously changing by adding more options for multimedia, updating algorithms and increasing the ways you can connect with followers and prospects.
We know it’s not always possible to keep up with the latest LinkedIn trends which is why at EMG, we’ve been working with our clients on customized solutions including short training sessions geared just for sales professionals, paid targeted campaigns and 12 week comprehensive brand building programs for executives and spokespersons that cover everything from creating weekly content to building their following.
As LinkedIn and the needs of our customers evolve, so are we. Your LinkedIn profile can be a valuable B2B tool and we’re here to help you maximize it.
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