LinkedIn isn’t just for professionals. Did you know you can use LinkedIn to grow your business, too? From making connections to generating leads, establishing partnerships and creating better brand awareness, LinkedIn makes an invaluable addition to your sales and digital marketing strategy.

To help you navigate LinkedIn as a sales platform, here are a few LinkedIn sales hacks you can use to find new customers, create new contacts and ultimately grow your business.

  1. Find highly targeted customers and connections

The targeting on LinkedIn is unparalleled in the realm of digital advertising. Small businesses can zero in on the exact industry, company size and job role [of the people] that they know typically would buy their product or service. For example, if you are selling customer support software to small businesses in the United States, you can set your advertising campaigns to only be showing to businesses [that are] under 100 employees, based in America — and within that grouping, only to executives at those companies with a customer-support title. — Tim Peters, director of marketing, IntelliResponse

  1. Stay on customers’ radars

My company helps small businesses generate leads on LinkedIn. Clients tell us what kind of people make high-quality customers for them. We search on LinkedIn for people who fit their criteria, and then introduce them. (We do it so it looks like the client is introducing themselves, but we do all the work for them.) Then we stay in touch with the people who have expressed interest, again using LinkedIn. We do daily status updates and weekly LinkedIn blog posts to keep the client’s name in front of their network. We also send monthly emails that share information about the kinds of problems our clients can solve for their customers, and share the results they have achieved for other customers. We also make offers, such as inviting people to a webinar or offering a white paper. The result is a simple, inexpensive, systematic process for doing lead generation, with all the work done through LinkedIn. —Judy Schramm, CEO, ProResource, Inc.

  1. Grow your email marketing list

I highly recommend everyone on LinkedIn write a crafted letter, saying thank you for being connected on LinkedIn, and that you invite them to be part of your email marketing list. Do apologize for the lack of personalization in the email. LinkedIn lets you message 50 people at a time this way. I added about 300 people to my email list with this method. Include in your email a direct link for the email signup. It is imperative that you have reciprocity in the message: 1. Tell them what they will receive by signing up for the email list, and 2. offer to look at something of theirs, which is a fairly noncommittal method to garner goodwill. — Bradford Hines, founder, YumDomains.com and HungryKids.org

  1. Use Sponsored Updates

With Sponsored Updates, businesses pay to push their post onto an individual’s LinkedIn feed. This “pay-per-click” or “pay-per-1,000” impression feature offers demographics similar to other social platforms (location, gender and age), but one key differentiation is the ability to customize based on company name, job title, job function, skills, schools and groups. Users can target interested industries, without competing against the noise of other irrelevant companies and messages. A sponsored update can be an excellent way to promote thought-leadership content useful primarily to the targeted audience with a strong call to action. People don’t want to see pure advertising anymore and want something useful for free. By promoting a firm’s content (white paper, guide, etc.) through a LinkedIn Sponsored Update, a firm can target a niche audience, increase website visitors and, if the content is compelling enough, generate sales leads. — Jeremy Durant business principal, Bop Design

  1. Post high-quality content

Good content can be highly targeted and should accomplish two goals. First, it should teach others how to solve a problem or how to do their job better. And it then establishes you as a thought leader in that space. Each aspect naturally leads to more business, if you offer them real value. It’s basic psychology, and it gets real results. — Michael Riley, co-founder, Boxter

  1. …viral

Posting directly on LinkedIn is the most powerful tool available on LinkedIn today. If a post begins to gain some momentum, LinkedIn will put a spotlight behind it in one of their categories, and it can get tens of thousands of readers (or more). This is a great way to improve your visibility while reaching readers in a way that would not have been possible on your own website/blog or even posting an article link on LinkedIn. — Lavie Margolin, author, “The LinkedIn Butterfly Effect” (H. Delilah Business & Career Press, 2013)

  1. Give a face to your employees

Get as many of your employees as possible to create and complete their profiles on LinkedIn. These should include appropriate photos, relevant job history that includes a description of how they help your business, and professional connections. My current company is putting together a LinkedIn Day when we’ll have a photographer available to take profile photos, and we’ll help employees set up their accounts. — Tam Frager, marketing and communications manager, Front Range Internet, Inc.

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