How to make LinkedIn work

How to make LinkedIn work as an amazing lead-generating tool!

Many of us are frustrated that we don’t know how to make LinkedIn work and add value to our business.  In this article, we explain a simple-to-follow process that drives connections and sales messages to targeted recipients in an effort to uncover leads and business opportunities.

Stewart Leahy, providing advice and strategic thinking on your LinkedIn approachEditors Note: Expert content needs an expert content writer and Yorkshire Powerhouse is pleased to publish this business advice article on LinkedIn Marketing and LinkedIn Strategy, kindly written by a real expert in his field – Stewart Leahy – our very own founder!

In the last 5 years, Stewart has taken his own LinkedIn profile from ‘only’ 1,700 connections to well over 18,000 and has become the ‘go-to’ guru for straight-talking advice on the subject.

Please consider contacting Stewart to discuss any aspect of LinkedIn strategy – just click on the advert links above or below – and please mention this page if you do make contact.

An overview of LinkedIn:

As a business owner or leader, do you have a LinkedIn profile? In September 2022, there were around 34.9 million LinkedIn users in the United Kingdom which is a lot, considering it’s not meant to be Twitter or Facebook – this is a business networking platform for professional business people.

So – whether you are on it or not, I’m willing to speculate that the VAST MAJORITY of your existing clients and dream prospects will be.  As such, it would be an interesting decision to choose to ignore it or not use it.  Indeed, 4 out of 5 people on LinkedIn “drive business decisions” so there are a lot of decision makers on there for you to target … if only you knew how.

In a very unscientific straw-poll, I found that over 85% of users on the platform simply didn’t know ‘how’ to make LinkedIn work … but they all ‘knew’ they should be using it!

The ‘Standard Model’ to make LinkedIn work:

There is a lot of advice on the internet, on LinkedIn and digitally in general about ‘how’ to use LinkedIn.  From local consultants to global ‘thought leaders’.  The good news is that they all say ‘largely the same thing’:

1. Make sure you have an amazing profile – do all the ‘right things’, fill in all the right bits, get recommendations, prove your credibility, etc, etc.

2. Search for your dream prospects.  Research them, study them, think about their needs, send a carefully crafted connection message and grow your connections slowly.

3. Nurture your new connections, slowly build your relationship with them, NEVER sell to them until they express an interest, keep an eye on them, comment on their posts, build your credibility.

4. Eventually, when you’ve built up the relationship and they’ve shown you some interest in your offer, take the conversation offline and enter the sales process.

5. In the background, keep publishing the occasional ‘educational or non-salesy’ post, comment on other posts, be relevant, curate content and make it your own, etc.

This is all correct and any buffoon can see why this will work.

The ‘PROBLEM’ with the Standard Model!:

Clearly, the model described above is a winner and is a sure-fire way to make LinkedIn work … but the elephant in the room is the amount of time it takes.  No one can commit multiple hours per day to this approach but that’s what it takes.  So, unsurprisingly, most business people pay their money, learn the ‘secret’, get excited about it and then … give up.  They just don’t have time.

It’s not just time either – just think about trying to ‘do’ the above with lots of prospects all at different stages of the process, all needing your personal efforts, thoughts, messages and attention.  It’s just not practical in the real world.

The Solution – How to make LinkedIn work for your needs:

The solution isn’t actually much different to the ‘Standard Model’ – and this is good.  You still need a decent profile and you still need to be posting, commenting and ‘working LinkedIn’ on an ongoing basis.  BUT, the middle bit is a little bit more simple:

1. Search LinkedIn for the right kind of people that might need your support one day and sent personalised connections (i.e. put their name into a templated connection message!).  Learn how to use the LinkedIn search tool to allow you to target specific demographic segments:

  • Geography.
  • Job title.
  • Industry.

2. For the connection requests that accept your invitation, send them a follow-up templated message a few days later that is a ‘gentle’ sales pitch.  i.e. “Thanks for connecting, here’s some background, I’d love to chat about X, Y, Z, would you be happy to talk sometime?” Not pushy, not over-the-top salesy, just a polite follow-up suggesting a chat.

3. Keep an eye on your LinkedIn messages for any replies … if they reply then at least you know they are responding to a sales message and are a likely sales lead for you!

If done correctly, you won’t irritate anyone (they will simply ignore you as they’re not interested) but you just ‘might’ send that message at the right time for them.  BUT … what you have achieved is a new connection – which means they are likely to start seeing your occasional posts, you get to see theirs, etc, etc.  The long-term nurturing work is still there, but you might just come across a short-term opportunity in the meantime!

Our free e-book on using LinkedIn as a B2B lead generating toolThe magic number here is to send 40 connection requests every single weekday.  That seems to be the number of requests LinkedIn is ‘comfortable’ with.  Send too many and you will find your account restricted for a day or two – send less and you’re simply missing the opportunity.

It can’t be that simple!

Well, yes and no.  It really can be that simple – but as with most things in business, the more strategic you are the better it works.  The more you plan your activity, the more it crosses over to other areas of your marketing (email, website, newsletter, social, networking, exhibitions, etc), the more you commit to the process, the time you spend with prospects once they identify themselves, etc, etc.  There are nuances at every juncture … but I always encourage the KISS principle – KEEP IT SIMPLE – STUPID!

You can make LinkedIn work – it IS capable of being a sales and marketing gold mine.  You need to approach it with care and thought so read on (below) to find out further thoughts that I’d like to share on the subject … or just ask for a copy of my free e-Book on the subject.

LinkedIn is unquestionably the #1 B2B Digital Networking website … approaching it with a clear strategy and with the knowledge of what you’re doing is essential to benefit from the platform – if you’re not 100% confident in your abilities then ask for help.

Thoughts on finding LinkedIn success from Yorkshire Powerhouse

Have you any questions?

Here at Yorkshire Powerhouse, we’re happy to help as much as possible – is there anything else we can do to help you, do you have any further questions or can we help introduce you to an expert – please let us know:

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