Written By: 

Susan Gilbert

You can learn more about your business’s target market for free right inside your LinkedIn account. This social network is at the top when it comes to new connections, career search, and building sales.

According to LinkedIn, 80 percent of social media leads come from the network alone, which makes it a prime platform for lead generation. The company reports that there are currently over 500 million active members with 61 million senior-level influencers and 40 million decision makers.

The bottom line is your business needs to be active and engaged here in order to attract more opportunities, leads and sales.

With the right networking strategy, you can learn more about your niche by connecting with people who are influencers in your industry, through personal recommendations, and by joining professional groups where you can contribute valuable insights.

Connecting with the right people on LinkedIn is a most effective by carefully selecting requests that have a similar goal in mind. These connections will help build your business branding as well as provide information on your competition.

Here are a few ways you can maximize your efforts and learn more about your target market:

1 – Be Specific

LinkedIn allows you to search through your current contacts as well as those in your field of interest. But it’s important to be specific when gaining insights here.

First connect with those who:

  • Are in related to your industry
  • Have the same professional interests
  • Are following you online on other platforms
  • Have influencer status (including micro-influencer)
  • Are active and engaged on LinkedIn

For those you do not know yet outside of your current network try these methods:

  • Write a personalized InMail introducing yourself and showing interest in what they have to offer
  • Follow their posts and leave helpful comments
  • Join and engage in groups that they are involved in
  • Connect with them from a recommendation from a trusted colleague

Tip: You can invite people to become first level contacts by accessing the “People You May Know” feature on LinkedIn.

2 – Advanced Search

Use LinkedIn’s expanded queries to set up specific criteria. This includes people, jobs, content, companies, groups, and schools. Narrow your results down according to your existing network or 2nd and 3rd connections.

Another great way to find leaders in your industry is to take a look at the content they are posting. Doing that, you can find topics that are relevant to your niche as well as information on each person making a post.

3 –  LinkedIn as an Opportunity Finder

While many use the platform as a virtual job fair, you can also find new clients for your business. This is especially useful to those who do not have an email list built up yet.

See what your competitors are looking for in a candidate – and what potential clients are seeking for your target market.

Find out which influencers these companies are following and connect with them as well if they match your industry and are closely linked with your current connections.

4 – Niche Specific Groups

LinkedIn groups provide a unique way for you to become known and trusted while opening the doors for more connections.

Instead of selling, use groups to:

  • Provide and receive helpful feedback
  • Ask and answer questions
  • Share valuable content and tips
  • Share a new video from your YouTube channel, etc.

LinkedIn’s groups are also one of the best ways to conduct business research for your market.

Once you join you can find out:

  • Areas of the common interest that its members are having trouble with
  • Gaps in available resources and products not being fulfilled by other companies
  • Resources or products that are trending
  • Consumer feedback
  • New ideas that you can add to your toolbox and content
  • What your community’s needs and desires are
  • Industry or niche influencers

Any groups that you join will show up directly in your news feed so that you can keep up on the latest without always needing to go directly to this section.

In order to be more effective, it’s import to interact daily. I recommend a maximum of joining three groups when getting started. Be sure that the groups are not too large and that the other members are also active and engaged instead of just randomly posting information.

Using these steps will help you improve your research and enable you to find the right people to connect with. Valuable participation builds more trust for your brand and shows you are a good resource to learn from.

LinkedIn is always on the move with new updates coming in almost monthly.  With the ongoing algorithm changes on social media, this is still one of the best resources to gather insights and information on your industry and potential customers.

 

http://susangilbert.com/