According to a recent study, LinkedIn is said to have over 660 million users worldwide – in more than 200 countries across the globe!
At a time when ‘relationship marketing’ plays majorly into how an individual makes the decision to purchase products and services, LinkedIn for consultants allows you to build a strong network, cultivate connections, and grow your business successfully.
As an independent consultant or a consulting business, not only is LinkedIn a tool to showcase your previous work experience but it can also be utilized to build your own personal brand and reputation. It’s ideal to leverage the platform to showcase your own brand and voice, and slowly build momentum, so that when your ideal client is ready to work with you, you’ve already laid out the groundwork by establishing trust & a relationship, thus making the process of closing them as clients much simpler.
If you want to know what goes into the process of marketing for consultants and start building your brand, here are 4 essentials things to take care of:
1. Start with the basics
When it comes to social media, the seemingly basic moves take you the furthest. The first thing you’ve got to do: Optimise your profile. This is how a prospect is going to look for and find a consultant for themselves. Ensure that your URL consists of your name (or business name) so that it represents you and can even be used in your business cards & email signatures for additional visibility.
Additionally, make use of the right keyword phrases on your profile. Think about what your ideal client may type in the search bar if they were looking for a consultant and check if you have those phrases on your profile, in your description and your about section. Whether you are a growth consultant, a strategy consultant, or financial consultant, make sure the right keyword reflects on your profile so that you appear in relevant places. You can make it more appealing by playing along with it: “Ex-McKinsey Consultant Open to Freelance Projects” or “Helping You Scale Your Business Through Digital Transformation”.
To take this even further, expanding on how specifically you help your clients is going to help you be more discoverable to your ideal audience and communicate who you are and how you can help them most effectively. Your headline should be more functional than aspirational in tone and style and should essentially contain a mix of three vital components, i.e., your expertise, target audience, and your customer’s biggest pain point/solution. Here’s what Consultport suggests:
- Attention: Start your bio with a headline that draws attention. For example, “My growth strategies have helped small businesses increase their revenue by up to 30% in 6 months.”
- Interest: Write some more details on your achievements and how they benefited clients. The key here is to maintain the reader’s interest.
- Desire: The last few sentences should make the reader want to hire you. For example, “If you don’t want to get involved with big consulting firms, you should hire a freelance consultant like me. I have worked with top consulting firms for more than a decade, so rest assured, you’ll be working with the best.”
- Action: Always end your About section with a call-to-action, for example, “Get in touch now if you’re a small to a medium-sized business owner who needs expert advice on Scrum.”
2. Provide Value, Strategically
A big part of building your personal brand on LinkedIn is to think of it from the lens of giving before receiving. So, before you even start selling what you do or reaching out to prospects by cold emailing, think of how you can provide value to your audience. Remember, building a brand is a long game – your perception in the eyes of your audience is key, and that’s something you need to be very intentional about. Take the time to build a strategy and have a plan. And the plan doesn’t need to be limited to creating a strategy solely for LinkedIn but an overarching business development strategy.
Deborah Zahn says “your plan should include how you are going to increase awareness of yourself and your brand among your ideal clients, generate interest in what you can do for them, enhance their desire to connect with you and potentially hire you, and convert potential clients into actual clients. The plan would then specify how you will generate awareness, interest, desire, and conversion through LinkedIn and actions you take on LinkedIn should flow from that.”
Once you have that plan, it’s time to start implementing it. And at the centre of it is value. Post content that helps people you want to help. Ideally, you should be posting content that has the specific impact you want your potential clients to have who are at different stages in discovering your services.
Promotional content that is all about gaining something from your prospects almost always falls flat on its face in due time. Instead, plan content that can make people aware and educate them about who you are and what you have to offer. The idea is that your content should generate desire for your prospects to find out more about you or hire you; additionally.
If you want to convert the now desirous potential clients into clients, you can post promotional content that gives them a clear call to action to become your client, you can also publish content that shows the results that you can help clients achieve, such as case studies and testimonials. And since you will always have potential clients at different stages of the buyer journey, you want to ensure you are posting content for each stage continually.
Valuable content is what helps people connect to you as a human behind the business. Being relatable and approachable through your content is that subtle nuance that helps you stand apart in the sea of consultants with similar offerings as yours. Let’s dig deeper into that in the next point.
3. Stay Authentic
Perhaps the most underrated aspect of growing a personal brand is authenticity – it can make or break your brand. It is common for new business owners to put a lot of emphasis on planning and strategizing, and that is fair. But the value of bringing in more authenticity into your strategy is unparalleled.
LinkedIn may reward you for inauthentic engagement, but building a robust, sustainable consulting business is based on creating and fostering real, trusting relationships”– Deborah Zahn
So, while you’re implementing your marketing plans and strategies, keep the element of authenticity at the core of it – whether it is by sharing wins and successes or by being vulnerable to share your struggles and failures. Doing so adds a human touch and gives your content and communication a clear edge over others and makes you relatable and approachable as well.
4. Build Connections
A big part of growing your personal brand and marketing your consulting services on LinkedIn is to build connections. This can be done by joining groups that are relevant to your field of work and making the effort to provide your unique perspective and value either by initiating conversations around topics of common interest or participating actively in relevant conversations.
Aside from joining groups, connect with people you may want to work with in the future. Send them a personal message asking them to connect with you and tell them why you want to do that. Send them direct messages, comment on their posts wherever relevant, acknowledge people’s contribution, value, and struggles, and celebrate them and their accomplishments! This will go a long way in helping you build your brand.
These pointers are by no means exhaustive, but they are a good place to start marketing for consultants of all kinds. Using LinkedIn for consultants is a great way to market your services and build a brand that takes you far in your business in the long run. Try these strategies and let us know how these worked out for you!
Sources: LinkedIn, Godaddy, Consultport
1. Why is LinkedIn important for consultants?
As an independent consultant or a consulting business, LinkedIn is not just a tool to showcase your previous work experience but can also be utilized to build your own personal brand and reputation. It’s an exceptional tool for marketing for consultants, to build a strong brand & voice and gain leads for the business.
2. How do I get consulting clients on LinkedIn?
Using LinkedIn for consultants has long proven to be a successful marketing strategy for businesses and practices across the board. In essence, there are 4 things you need to do to get consulting clients on the platform: 1) Get the foundations right and optimise your profile to suit your business needs, 2) consistently share valuable content that is specifically relevant to your target audience, 3) keep authenticity at the core of everything you do on the platform, and 4) focus on building connections.
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