How to Find and Approach Your Ideal Clients through LinkedIn
LinkedIn is currently the third most popular social network in terms of unique monthly visitors—right behind Facebook and Twitter. LinkedIn is the world’s largest online professional network. With this tool, you now have the opportunity to engage with your connections, as well as with your connections’ connections , and even with their connections.
Anatomy of an Effective Profile
Your profile is the foundation of your presence on LinkedIn. Many users treat their profile like a CV or résumé, but a profile is actually quite different and should be much more interesting and appealing to potential contacts, including clients. As Caroline McClure, founder of the talent strategy consultancy ScoutRock, stated in an article in Fortune: “Think of your profile as a place to provide your career narrative rather than your career history.”
How do you do this? Well, before creating or editing your profile, write down three main keywords. Choose phrases for which your target market will search. What would your clients type into Google to find your products or services? Your primary keyword should appear in most sections of your profile.
Location and Industry: add your location and the industry in which you work. Most translators choose “translation and localization,” but in some cases you can choose other fields. For example, if you only specialize in a specific field, you can choose that industry instead.
Current/Previous Experience: It’s also important to list your current position and any previous jobs you want to emphasize in the section directly under your headline. (You can provide more details on these when you get to the summary section.) The keywords you have researched and added in the sections for job titles, companies for which you’ve worked, and job descriptions are indexed and help you appear higher in LinkedIn and Google searches. Make sure to include all of your relevant previous positions (up to three are visible).
Contact Information: Make sure to add your website, blog, and social media accounts along with your contact details. Make sure to customize the titles of the links so they are not generic (e.g., don’t type something like “personal website”). Also, customize the URL of your LinkedIn profile. Instead of a string of numbers next to your name, the URL should include just your name. Connecting your LinkedIn profile to your name will allow you to be found easier by connections.
There are many different places to look for potential prospects and connections. LinkedIn is essentially an enormous database. The success you have with finding new contacts and prospects will depend on your ability to truly understand your target market and manipulate the search filters LinkedIn provides. When you find interesting people with whom you want to contact or add in your network, you can message them (for free through a common group, if any) or invite them to connect.
Unless the user with whom you would like to establish a connection is a friend or colleague, you should always personalize your invitations to connect with LinkedIn users, especially potential clients. Always start by addressing the contact by his or her first name, so it’s clear that the message is not a mass invite to your entire e-mail contact list. Then mention how you know them. You might have come across their profile due to something they wrote, shared, or were quoted in.
Make sure to call out the specific piece of content that perked your interest. Add a genuine and specific reaction to their article, blog post, or discussion. Keep the conversation going by sharing a post or article of your own, or you can also make a recommendation about a book, group, or blog. Finish your invitation with a request to join their network and sign your name. LinkedIn allows 300 characters (including spaces and paragraph returns). You can’t include e-mail addresses and website links in invitations to connect.
LinkedIn’s built-in CRM features give you the ability to manage your connections using the features Tags, Reminders, Notes, How You Met, and Who Introduced You. These are particularly useful for supporting your prospecting and networking efforts on LinkedIn and allow you to keep track of key prospects and clients easily. Every time you reach out and connect with a contact or when someone reaches out to you, get into the habit of updating the Relationship tab (underneath the header section of your contact’s profile).