HubSpot recently revealed that LinkedIn is 277% more successful for lead generation than other social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. If you are looking to sell or market products or services, LinkedIn is a key channel for your growth in 2012/13.

Andy Whitehead of Digital2Recruit

Paul Harrison sat down with LinkedIn expert Andy Whitehead of Digital2Recruit to gets their top three tips on the process.

Insight 1: Create a strategy

As with any marketing strategy, start with the business objective and work backwards.

A few key elements 1) Research your sector and identify keywords. 2) Build a profile around these keywords so you get found. Like Google, LinkedIn has a search engine. 3) Be strategic; identify your prospect by industry, company, role and position. 4) Build your network strategically. You only get 3000 invites and never use the default invitation message. The acceptance rate is greatly improved when personalised. 5) Engage.

Insight 2: Message without paying for InMail

There is a way to message the majority of LinkedIn members without paying for InMail. Find your prospect, identify which groups they belong to and join the group. Then click on “members” and search for the prospect. Hover the mouse over the prospect and a “send message” option appears; send your message – and remember to use this tip with respect.

Insight 3: LinkedIn Signal

A hidden gem allowing you to search thousands of status updates to identify potential prospects. Pinpoint conversations and status updates based upon keywords around your products or services etc. This function is located under ‘News’ on the top menu.

Q&A: Andy Whitehead answers Francine Higham’s questions on getting the most out of LinkedIn.

Francine Higham

Francine Higham is a London-based South African who is interested in LinkedIn as a business development tool and has some further questions on how to get the most out of it

How can I find prospects that need my services now?

Quick start: Go to “Answers”, which is located under the “More” menu. This features questions asked by members of the LinkedIn community. Browse to find questions in your area of expertise. By answering you will build your credibility and earn expertise. Experts are featured on the Answers page.

You said LinkedIn has a search engine like Google. How do I get to the top of it?

LinkedIn has a search engine and your ranking in the search results is based on a keyword density score (KDS). The higher the KDS the higher the rank. Step 1) Identify keywords. Step 2) Add keyword to a) Headline, b) Current Position, c) Past Position, d) Summary, e) Specialities. Step 3) Test and repeat. Warning: This is powerful. Use strategically. Do not spam or you may get closed down.

Do companies really use LinkedIn to search for candidates? My friend is out of work due to having her first child. How can she demonstrate constructive use of this time on LinkedIn?

Yes the most recent statistic is that 87% of companies use LinkedIn to search for candidates. Use a strategy to add authority to your profile. Create a group for your niche, e.g. “London Chartered Accountants”. Build your group and position yourself as the expert. Add this to your current position. This demonstrates that you are keeping up to date with industry news.

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