As a busy contractor in the business to business market, LinkedIn is a great place to find sales leads. That’s the good news. Now for the bad news. However there is plenty of terrible advice on how best to use LinkedIn.

I’m going to show you the right way to learn using LinkedIn to attract customers to you.

LinkedIn Tip 1 – Getting Found by your Prospects

Did you know that people can search LinkedIn for particular skills and services?

Take a look at this search I did for Adwords.

Adwords Search On LinkedIn

You will see that a colleague of mine Mike Seddon – who is an Adwords specialist is at the top.

This is actually not that difficult to do. It’s all about using the keywords throughout your LinkedIn profile.

Here’s his profile:

Mike Seddon LinkedIn Profile

Can you see the yellow highlighting across all the uses of the word Adwords? Look at how often he’s used the word Adwords. he really packs them in!

For example, notice how he doesn’t call himself the owner of Internet Jetstream or the CEO of the company. He prefers to call himselff the Adwords Expert because that way he gets to use his keyword.

He’s using his keywords as often as he can in his profile without making it annoying to the reader. If I did this on my own website, then I know Google wouldn’t like it as it would see it as keyword stuffing – which works against you in Google’s view. However, on LinkedIn they seem to like it (at least they do at the moment!).

So the trick really is to use your keywords as often as you can in your profile whilst still writing something easy to understand and enticing for someone who’s reading it. Remember, getting them to your LinkedIn profile is only part of the process. You ultimately want them to contact you – and a well laid out clear profile about what you do and for whom is important to make that happen.

LinkedIn Tip 2 – Attract through Engagement don’t put people off by keep talking about you!

The key to attracting your ideal prospects from LinkedIn is to be engaging. I’ll explain that further shortly but first I just want to talk about your ideal prospects.

One of the big common mistakes I regularly see is that people join lots of LinkedIn groups that are the completely wrong groups for the purposes of engaging with their prospects.

Many people join groups that are their peer groups and not for their ideal customers. After all its unlikely that you customers will be members of your trade organisation!

For example, there are lots of technical LinkedIn groups such CIBSE . I don’t tend to join those. I may have joined a couple to just share experiences but I’ve certainly not joined any to look for new customers. For me the ideal groups are ones that are about needing marketing and business support. My ideal prospects are business owners and senior directors and so I want to be part of the groups where they are members. (In other words to the place where they are feeding and watering) This is where I offer tips, advice and guidance to them in those groups. This gets me noticed as a “helpful guy” and someone who’s approachable. It leads to people contacting me directly to talk more specifically about marketing for their business.

Listen before you Speak!

The key to being successful in these groups is to be prepared to listen (or more specifically read other peoples posts). Spend time reading and then offer advice or comments where you have something meaningful to add to the discussion.

“Do NOT just join a group and start posting linking the comments to your blog!” That is just blatantly plugging what you do which is also very annoying. I’m a member of a facilities Group and one member is just constantly plugging his own company which as got him thrown out of the group by the administrator.

I guarantee that if you read and comment on other peoples posts, you will get you noticed. It’s so rare on LinkedIn! So many people just post links to their blogs and rarely take time out to read anything anyone else is posting that you will really stand out

LinkedIn Tip 3 – LinkedIn is a Waiting Game!

LinkedIn is like a card game and the game is called Patience!

Because with all social media activity you have to be patient – there is no magic wand that will get you instantly as the great guru – it takes time for you to get noticed and for people to start to get used to seeing you around in their groups and notice that you post useful, helpful comments. It really is like face to face networking. No one goes to a networking meeting and walks away with new clients on the first visit. It takes time trust and patience before people will start to engage with you.

Don’t go into this thinking you’ll give it a couple of weeks and walk away if no new business is landing in your lap straight away. You and I know that your customers are on LinkedIn then it’s worth giving it some serious time & effort.

So how has LinkedIn Helped you?

Have you had success or failure with LinkedIn? Share your experiences below. I’d be interested to hear them.

As ever if you want to bounce something around just get in touch