LinkedIn is often classified as a social media site but is it really what it is? Certainly not in the same sense as Facebook. LinkedIn is more of a professional networking platform. One or the other it is clear it’s becoming increasingly popular with a reported 33.9 million monthly visitors as of June 2011. So undeniably your business needs to be on there.

But what can you expect in terms of sales from this professional network? It will obviously depend on your type of business and whether you sell to other businesses or to consumers.

Increase your sales for free on LinkedIn

B2C & LinkedIn

Is LinkedIn adapted to businesses selling consumer goods? Probably not. While Facebook is a fun and friendly environment well fitted to B2C activities, LinkedIn is its exact opposite, a professional and rather serious platform. If you’re selling to consumers you can still probably use LinkedIn to connect to other businesses that can help you with your activity but you definitely won’t be able to increase your direct sales through this channel. Why? Simply because people use LinkedIn on a professional basis only.

Which means if you’re selling jewellery you’ll have very slim chances to get more business through LinkedIn even if you’re using their PPC platform. In this particular example, at best you’ll be able to connect to distributors to help you sell your products. For B2C only companies it is still recommended to have a personal profile on LinkedIn and try to connect to people who could help you sell more.

B2B networking

LinkedIn can become extremely powerful when you’re selling products and services to other businesses. Since you can search companies per industry, you’ll be able to find potential customers easily and connect to them. Start by following these companies. Then search for the decision makers within the business and send an invite to connect. Once this is done you will need to become an active LinkedIn user and post regularly about your company, products, services and special offers. Keep growing your targeted connections and some sales will eventually come out of it.

While working on the direct sales side of things, you also need to grow your sphere of influence amongst companies and associations directly linked to your activity. This will also help you keep up to date with the latest trends in your industry. To do so simply follow companies that have a high authority in your field. If for example you own a water cooler company, connect with water cooler associations and try to get an accreditation.

Personal profile v company page

You will need to have both. Your company page will be there to give people information about your products and services and help you get more followers. Your personal profile page will be linked to your company page and will help you connect to potential clients and organisations important to your activity. Once again you will need to be very active to see the benefits for your business. You should probably spend at least half an hour a day networking on LinkedIn and posting updates.

Related Posts

Facebook Page Trade: the Future of Social Media Marketing?

Advertising on Twitter

Twitter: from follower to customer?

The paid options: advertising on YouTube

YouTube: A Good Platform for Businesses?

LinkedIn PPC Program