Have you ever heard the saying: “Your network is your net worth?” This statement couldn’t be more true for people selling in a B2B environment. While it’s important to meet perspective customers face-to-face, social media can be a great outlet to help you extend your reach—and it’s a proven method that works. In fact, 80 percent of B2B leads coming in from social media are from LinkedIn.

Social media can be a useful tool for your managed service business if you can effectively tap into your network’s potential. To help you take advantage of this lucrative opportunity for your MSP business, we recently read David Gowel’s book, The Power in a Link: Open Doors, Close Deals, and Change the Way You Do Business Using LinkedIn. Through this, we gained some actionable advice you can use to make your network start working for you and your MSP business.

How to maximize your LinkedIn potential

“LinkedIn isn’t about how much time you spend on it, it is about how well you spend that time. A surgeon doesn’t need to use a scalpel for a long period of time to save a life; she just needs to use it in a precise and methodical way,” Gowel explains.

To help you maximize your LinkedIn potential, we looked at three areas you can easily improve to make the most of the platform. These focus areas include how to effectively use LinkedIn to network with new clients, how extending an introduction can create more opportunities down the road, and the value of keeping your profile up to date.

While these improvements can help you on a personal level, they are also great ways to gain social capital. According to Gowel, it takes time to earn and maintain connections within your social network, but when you have this kind of social capital, you can create numerous opportunities for your IT services business.

Using your network to find new clients. By connecting with your current customers on LinkedIn, not only can you build a valuable connection with them, but you can also open the door for them to recommend your IT services business to others in the area. LinkedIn is changing the way people view networking and how the word of mouth spreads.

Gowel says that one of the most valuable pieces of LinkedIn is seeing who your second-degree and third-degree connections are. This can be particularly helpful when you’ve been unable to reach a prospective customer in your target market. You can cash in social capital with people you have connections with and ask if they could extend an introduction to get the conversation started.

Be careful, though. You don’t want to be known as the person who always takes. Instead, find opportunities where you can both be successful, such as referring business their way when you have the chance.

Creating new opportunities by extending an introduction. If one of your connections asks for an introduction, don’t hesitate! You never know when they might be able to return the favor. Even if your connection hasn’t asked for you to formally introduce them, extend an offer to do so. 

How to explain the value of an IT investment

In the book, Gowel reminds you to treat your connections with care. They are not and should not be a means to an end. Treat them the way you’d like to be treated. Don’t just reach out when you want to ask them to introduce you to a new connection. Instead, build a relationship with them. If they choose to share a referral and extend an introduction, treat it with care, follow up and pay it forward.

Openly sharing introductions for others in your network helps you build stronger connections and a reciprocal environment that encourages your connections to share with you. Be aware, though, that introducing someone doesn’t necessarily mean they will do the same for you.

Keeping your profile up to date. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is professional. What will your target market think if they look at your profile? More importantly, will they want to do business with you?

Gowel reminds readers to keep their profiles fresh and professional. One of the most overlooked things on LinkedIn is a professional photo, but without it your profile looks incomplete.

“This has been particularly helpful for me when meeting people initially, as posting a photo has eliminated the need to say ahead of time, ‘When you arrive, I’ll be the guy in the yellow shirt and blonde hair whose wife is clearly out of his league,’” David says. 

In addition to adding a LinkedIn photo and keeping your information current, you should consider posting regular updates. It helps to keep your profile fresh and signals that the rest of your profile is up-to-date. It also gives you the opportunity to build connections with your network.

As an IT service provider, this might mean sharing posts on recent breaches, general security best practices, or how to avoid the most recent ransomware attack. This also creates a platform for you to share interesting things you’re doing with your IT service business, such as scheduled events, webinars, and more. Sharing relevant updates like this can help keep your business top of mind with your connections so you stand out when they’re ready to start looking for an IT service provider.

More professionals are turning to LinkedIn to help them nurture their connections. When used strategically, it can be a great tool to help differentiate your MSP from the competition. In conjunction with traditional networking and face-to-face interactions, it can boost your brand and keep you top of mind with your customers and target market.

The Power in a Link:

Open Doors, Close Deals, and Change the Way You Do Business Using LinkedIn

By David Gowel

John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 170 Pages. $18.89.

Have suggestions for what we should read next? Tell us which book we should read next on our MSP bookshelf.

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Lauren Beliveau

Posted by Lauren Beliveau

Lauren is an Editorial Associate at Barracuda MSP. In this position, she creates and develops content that helps managed service providers grow their business. She also regularly writes The MSP’s Bookshelf and our Ask an MSP Expert column.

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