LinkedIn now boasts over 766 million users with 55 job applications submitted every second!
While often viewed as a network for job hunting and recruiting, LinkedIn is also an excellent social network to discover and connect with leads and clients.
Since getting more clients is often the #1 challenge for startup agencies, LinkedIn could be your solution to closing new client contracts.
Whether you're new to the social network or you already have some valuable connections there, we've outlined our top tips to help you find new prospects, build relationships with them, and pitch your marketing services successfully.
15 Tips for Using LinkedIn to Grow Your Agency
1. Define What You Can Deliver
Start by nailing down exactly which services you want to sell. What unique, skills do you have to offer clients?
It's better to be the perfect solution for a few people than to be a just-okay solution for a lot of people. LinkedIn has multiple outlets to feature your work (articles, websites, media projects, awards, ongoing projects, etc.), which means you have the opportunity to really fine-tune your offer and show that off effectively.
In addition, think about what kind of work you don't want to do. If you know that a particular type of project isn't well-suited to your skills, you can steer clear of the leads who are looking for that type of work.
2. Know Your Ideal Client
The next step is to ask yourself:
What kind of clients need the skills you can provide?
What kind of clients do you enjoy working with most?
Your ideal clients are at the intersection of both answers. Before you start your search (and as you start filtering through possible leads), nail down as many details as you can about your ideal clients.
What are their job titles? What kinds of companies do they work for, and in what industries? Do they live in a particular location?
Creating some marketing personas can help you get a well-rounded picture of your dream clients, and that, in turn, will make it easier to search for them on LinkedIn.
Pro Tip: Connect your agency's LinkedIn company page to our social media dashboard to see your audience demographics by industry, location, job title, and more to analyze your current client profile in a single view.
3. Make Your LinkedIn Profile As Professional As Possible
As discussed in the first tip, LinkedIn really gives you a platform to show your best. Your profile is your calling card, so make sure it presents you in the best possible light.
Pretend that clients are going to decide whether to hire you based on your profile alone—because some of them might. Your profile should contain:
A professional headshot
A descriptive but succinct job title
A professional-looking custom banner
A summary that emphasizes your experience and strengths
Strong portfolio content that demonstrates what you can do for your clients
Don't forget to update your profile when you complete projects, learn new skills, and gain qualifications. This goes for your personal profile, but also your business page.
4. Leverage In-Person Connections
Warm leads are easier to work with than cold leads. When you meet new people in your field—for instance, at a conference, work event, or even on Zoom—send them a connection request with a friendly, personalized note about how you met.
Even when you meet people who aren't potential clients, it's a good practice to proactively build your network this way.
5. Check Out the Sidebar
Not sure who to connect with next? Take a look at the "People Also Viewed" sidebar on the right side of the page. You might find a few more promising leads there.
6. Join LinkedIn Groups
Widen your social circle on LinkedIn by joining a few groups related to your industry, niche, or interests. Participating in groups is a great way to meet and interact with potential clients in an organic way.
You can find groups using the search bar at the top of your homepage. In the screenshot below, you can see how you navigate to Groups, and the right shows what a search page for the search term "analytics" Groups looks like:
7. Create Useful Content
Creating original, high-quality content will boost your reputation and authority, both on and off LinkedIn. If you blog, make your posts more visible to your network by adding them to Pulse, LinkedIn's built-in publishing platform. If you produce other types of content, add it to your portfolio or include links to it in your profile.
Below shows how you can start writing and publish an article to your page:
Once you do publish articles, you can also see LinkedIn analytics on those posts, which can be a helpful indicator to make sure you're on the right track.
8. Personalize Your Connection Requests
Don't just fall back on LinkedIn's default text when you request to connect with someone new. Take a few minutes to write out a short, personalized message.
If you've met the person before, or if you know someone in common, that's a good detail to include. If you don't know the person, writing a good message is a little tougher, but you can tell them that you enjoy their blog or admire some aspect of their work.
Tailoring your message to the recipient increases the odds that they'll accept your request—and it makes them more likely to want to interact with you later.
9. Follow Up
Every time you make a new connection on LinkedIn, follow up to thank the person for accepting your request. Do this within 24 hours, if possible. You can also take the opportunity to open a conversation by asking a question or commenting on the other person's work or achievements.
10. Reach Out to People Who View Your Profile
If someone has viewed your profile or your writing on LinkedIn Pulse, they're interested in your skills, so take the opportunity to connect. Just be aware that if you have a free account, you can only see the last five people who viewed your profile.
Checking frequently will help you avoid missing people. Alternately, you can get rid of this restriction by upgrading to a premium account.
As you can see above, you can also view those who have read your articles, which is an excellent way to find those with common interests who may be good leads.
How to Nurture LinkedIn Leads (and Why They're Different)
Getting leads from LinkedIn is only half the battle. Once you've found a lead that could be helped by your company, you have to handle them the right way. Remember, a LinkedIn lead is much more personal than one you might get from an advertisement (even a LinkedIn ad).
11. Stay in Touch
Once you've made connections, don't let them get cold. Try to touch base with your prospects every couple of weeks or so. You can stay in touch by:
Congratulating your leads on new jobs or promotions. (LinkedIn makes this easy by notifying you when someone updates their job info.)
Interacting with your leads in LinkedIn groups.
Passing along resources that your leads might find useful.
Commenting on your leads' updates and their articles on LinkedIn Pulse.
Make sure your comments and messages contain value of some kind—in other words, don't contact people just for the sake of contacting them. For example, instead of leaving a generic comment like "Nice article" or "I agree" on a lead's article, ask a question or present an alternate viewpoint.
12. Be Helpful
To land new clients on LinkedIn, you'll have to win their trust first. One of the best ways to do that is to approach your interactions with a genuine spirit of helpfulness. Look for ways you can give people a boost without expecting anything in return. Put selling your services on the back burner, and focus on building relationships first.
13. Make Introductions
Want to help two people out while making a great impression on both of them? Introduce them to each other. This only works if you know both people well and have a good reason to introduce them, but in situations where it's appropriate, it can be an amazing way to build goodwill with your leads.
14. Know When to Let Your Achievements Do the Talking
It's hard to trust somebody who's all talk. If you brag about your skills on LinkedIn but don't provide evidence to back them up, most people won't feel confident about working with you.
At the same time, it's not smart to minimize your accomplishments -- part of landing clients is knowing how and when to market yourself. The best approach? Focus on building up a portfolio of past projects and original content that leaves no doubt about your skill.
15. Be Patient
The more professional relationships you have, the more likely it is that some of those people will eventually become clients. But relationship-building takes time and sustained effort. As you go about building your LinkedIn network, prioritize being friendly, learning about people, and making genuine connections. If you jump the gun and pitch leads before you've built up some trust with them, they might be turned off.
If you're looking for more clients, tapping into your LinkedIn network can be a great way to find it. This social network is an excellent tool for meeting and talking to professionals in every industry under the sun—and chances are good that some of them could use your skills and expertise.
The most important thing to remember is to treat LinkedIn like any other networking opportunity. Be respectful, interested in other people, and always be on the lookout for opportunities that can benefit your leads as well as yourself. Put these tips to work for you, and you'll be onboarding new clients before you know it.