How to Use LinkedIn to Generate Leads for your Small Business or Freelance Business

Want to Generate More Leads for Your Small Business or Find Clients for a Freelance Business?

It used to be the case that Linkedin was a hub for business professionals to connect and network for job opportunities and while this is still the case, it’s changed so much as a social media platform that there’s a whole new way to play the game now.

Are you leveraging LinkedIn for your freelancing biz? Of course you have a profile and your information is filled, but are you using it to find clients? Like luring a dog with a bone, a well optimized LinkedIn profile will set you apart and attract potential work. 

The good news is that you don’t have to invest in paid courses or advertisements for the most popular professional network to get results. In fact, you just need to make sure you follow a few basic rules. Here I am going to map these rules and why I am sure they will work for you.

 

Re contextualize what LinkedIn is

 

Before we dive into the nitty gritty, it’s important that you have a good perception of LinkedIn.

There are plenty of users who’ll only log in when it’s time to find a new client or a new job – essentially, like an electronic resume that’s there for the world to see. While it does offer this function, that definition gives a really limited scope for the platform.

Instead of considering LinkedIn to be just about finding jobs, try to consider it simply as a professional social media tool – an enormous room full of people who are in work mode. When you look at it through this lens, there’s far more opportunity to be had than simply assuming it’s for paid-position job seekers.

 

Test different ‘About Me’ and ‘Headline’ copy

 

It can feel daunting to approach writing a detailed “About Me” that outlines exactly what you can offer and what you’re looking for – but it doesn’t have to be extensive. Make sure to use good keywords in your headline, about me, skills, and experience; That way recruiters and people looking for freelancers can find you. Here’s a great article going over the 7 places in your LinkedIn you want to fill with relevant keywords.

On top of keywords you’ll want to use your headline and about me to express yourself. You’re a creative amongst a sea of other creatives, you’d be wise to learn what makes you unique (Your Unique Value Proposition) and why what you offer is so much better than the shotty work you can get on upwork for $6. To figure out what works best will require some testing – you could try including your portfolio url in your about me, or squeeze some samples in to show your skills. Constantly update and revise the writing on your profile as you gain new experience and you’ll be sure to attract the right kind of work.

 

Connect with people

  • Build a Solid Network of Connections

Your net worth is tied to your network – Ever heard that saying? Well it’s true, your next gig could come from a connection that likes what you do. It’s important to network and mingle amongst the many professionals that will be your peers, colleagues and possibly clients. By connecting you’ll get to see more of what’s going on for those people, and they (and their connections) get to see more of what’s going on with you.

So, connect with people. If it’s people you know that’s great – but don’t worry if it’s not. The very best way to grow your connections is to approach the people who you find yourself engaging with in your newsfeed.

For instance, you’ve got a friend of a friend who comments on the same kind of stuff when it pops up on your mutual connection’s feed – why not ping them a connection request with a quick line that acknowledges how you seem to have the same views on things? – or how you’d like to get to know more about their industry/company/job role – etc. As long as you’re not trying to sell them something then you’ll find a large majority of people are totally fine with it. 

  • Join Groups

There’s plenty of groups on LinkedIn that you could join to help you grow your freelancing business. Groups on LinkedIn are a great source of industry info, business tips and overall connection with like minded people. You can join a group for finding job opportunities in your respective industry, stay up to date with what’s going on or support each other with tips and advice. 

The key is to make sure that you’re using groups properly. For instance, if you’re a designer, it makes sense to join designer groups but don’t stop there. Think about joining groups that reflect the kind of industries you’d like to work in. So, let’s say you’re set on working in promotional ad design– why not join groups that are intended for event promoters for example.

If you’re planning to use LinkedIn to find work, you’re unlikely to find it digitally socializing with like-minded folk. Instead, think about where your customers might hang out and put yourself there.

For some great LinkedIn groups check out my post about the best groups to join for freelancers.

  • Recommend & Endorse your connections

When you’re connected with people, you’re going to win yourself a lot of friends if you make some recommendations. You don’t have to do the hard work here – just tag someone you think might be suitable for the job when you see a connection comment “can anyone put me in touch with a good…”

What goes around comes around and the more you offer people up, the more they’ll do the same for you. Endorsing others for their top skills can also help build up your LinkedIn profile.

  • Create Content to Post

It’s not something you need to do daily, but it’s really useful to create some engaging content on LinkedIn.

What topic you decide on is entirely up to you. Have you got a side project you’re working on that you’d like to show off? Perhaps you’ve created something great for a client and you’d like to share your efforts? Maybe you just want to share a motivational quote or a good vibe from the week? If you’re a good writer, there’s plenty you can do here. LinkedIn articles are a great place to do some storytelling – an extremely powerful way of setting yourself apart from the crowd.

 If you’re not sure exactly what I mean by ‘storytelling’ take a glance at this article.

Whatever you decide to create, there’s plenty of space on LinkedIn for sharing your message. If you’re not sure, look at what kind of content you engage with on the platform and do something similar.

 

Build a Schedule you Can Keep

 

It’s easy to forget all the background work you should be doing to ensure you’re doing enough marketing for your freelance business when the pressure is on with a project or job and your schedule is tight.

LinkedIn falls into this category for many people – if it’s not producing results all the time, it’s easy to drop the ball when it comes to logging in and engaging. On that basis, it can be a really positive step to create a bit of an on-going schedule to help you upkeep your efforts.

Break down what you need to do into the following lists:

  • Daily LinkedIn tasks
  • Weekly LinkedIn tasks
  • Monthly/occasional LinkedIn tasks

It’s a good idea for them to look like this:

  • Daily: Log in, engage with your newsfeed – like, comment, share, recommend
  • Weekly: Create some content – a post, a graphic, a picture, etc
  • Monthly: Change your profile up, join some groups, build your connections

Consider using a scheduler to plan your content distribution ahead of time. With apps like Hootsuite and Buffer you can plan and schedule posts in advance to maintain your engagement.

Having a schedule to adhere to can make a lot of the organizing needed to plan ahead much easier. This post was written with love in order to help you carve your own path in your freelancing journey. What tips did I miss? Anything to add? Let me know!

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