LinkedIn provides a platform for construction professionals to connect with each other and increase their networks by providing valuable business tips and advice. LinkedIn is used slightly differently compared to other social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. It has a professional reputation and should not be used as a selling tool. Smart construction professionals will avoid excessive self-promotion and instead sell themselves and their services by being a valuable knowledge source in the community which they serve.
Join groups that are relevant to your industry and connect with the people within them by starting your own discussions and contributing to others by adding value to those discussions. This participation allows you to increase your network and your company’s visibility, whilst also adding credibility. If you are focusing your social media efforts on increasing your network or building a community then LinkedIn is just the platform for you. By answering questions about your industry and holding relevant discussions, you can easily prove your expertise and knowledge to potential business leads. It is a way of promoting your business to target audiences without directly selling to them.
So here is our list of the top 5 ways to use LinkedIn:
1. Demonstrate and share industry knowledge
Being able to share your knowledge to industry peers and business prospects, and demonstrate expertise and provide information which is of value, is a great way of marketing your business. LinkedIn is full of professionals from around the world who want to network and connect with each other. By participating in discussions you can increase your visibility because the more people read what you have to say and what services/products your company provides, the more likely they are to approach you if they need your help in the future. See it as a ‘word of mouth’ tool in which you can get other LinkedIn users to refer your services or company. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or answer other people’s queries because hosting and participating in discussions can be good for winning new business as people can find your answers through LinkedIn’s ‘advanced answers search’ option. A stimulating debate is a great way to engage with like-minded people and hear some interesting perspectives on topics that are relevant to your industry.
2. Reach targeted audiences (groups)
If you have a blog, then share your posts within relevant groups. This drives targeted traffic to your blog as every member of that group shares some similar interests. For example, the CIMCIG group on LinkedIn is full of business owners, marketers and sales employees who want to further their knowledge on marketing to the construction industry, therefore sharing information on marketing to the construction industry within the group drives targeted traffic to your resources.
LinkedIn helps you search and find targeted prospects. You can search for people, companies, groups and jobs so no matter what (or who) you are looking for, this segmentation ability should make it easier. Join groups that are relevant to your industry and connect with the members by getting involved within discussions. Alternatively, you can create a group around your company, its products or the industry itself to give you access to a wealth of inside information. This would positively influence your reputation because you have created a community where architects, specifiers, contractors can all interact, discuss issues and generate ideas that are important to them. This group can increase targeted traffic to your website and blog, whilst giving you the ability to generate new leads from high-end decision makers.
- A little tip: add keywords to the description of your group so that it increases your search rankings in LinkedIn’s search directory as well as other search engines such as Google.
If you want to further segment business leads, customise the web links that are available on your profile. You are allowed up to 3 different links so give them relevant titles such as ‘Advice for Architects’ or ‘Building product reviews’ which lead to specific landing pages on your website that are designed for the different target groups. This increases the quality of your website traffic which hopefully pushes prospects further along the purchase decision making process.
3. Analyse your competitors
From a strategic point of view, LinkedIn also gives you an opportunity to ‘check out’ the competition. Most big organisations have company profiles or otherwise search results will easily reveal data on new hires, events that other company execs are attending/organising as well as looking at employee profiles to give you a unique insight into your competitors’ company. So as the saying goes “keep your friends close and your competition closer”
Use LinkedIn answers to get involved in relevant discussions and you can also monitor what advice your competitors are giving to prospects so that you can learn and improve on some of the complaints or issues customers/clients are having within the sector you operate. Yes this all sounds a bit sneaky but I’m sure other companies are doing it. You have to stay ahead in this game and benchmarking your business against competitors is just one of many activities.
4. Acquire new customers through online recommendations
Testimonials are one of the most valued business tools and speak louder than pages of content describing how great you are. People want to know that others have had good experiences with you and that you deliver on what you promise. Therefore up-to-date case studies and testimonials are essential. LinkedIn is one of the strongest recommendation engines and it is all on an open platform so potential clients can see what others have said about you and your business. But not only that, they can click through and check out the referee’s profile to see whether they are legit and in turn also view their recommendations.
New prospects will be encouraged to seek out your products and services of they can see the positive feedback others have left. Trust is important in any business relationship and it’s easier to trust a company that has received various positive recommendations from other established companies. However be sure to recommend others as well, it should be a two way process. If you have happy, satisfied customers and clients who want to say good things about you, then return the favour and you can both help each other out.
5. Great resource for locating services that you don’t provide and/or need to outsource
How many times have you asked employees and colleagues whether they knew a ‘great web designer’ or ‘experienced contractor’? What better way to locate them (and have instant access to recommendations) and get in contact than through LinkedIn? You can clearly see who else they have done business with, gain access to their website and/or blog to find case studies of their previous work and establish whether they are right for the job or not. This can save you a lot of time and money by having access to such a wide network where you are able to find professionals from nearly every industry in one place.
**These tips are simply a guideline for optimising your time and efforts on LinkedIn. You will however soon realise that it is one of the best networking sites for your business and there are various ways to attract new leads, network and connect with decision-makers in the industry and market your business through knowledge leadership and proven expertise. The search filters available facilitate targeted searches and can help you find the right people that you are looking for in your industry.
We want to know if LinkedIn has helped your business – did you generate any business leads through group discussions? Have you found a brilliant new recruit or have your recommendations helped you solidify a positive brand reputation in your field of expertise?