This Is How To Use LinkedIn To Sell In 2024

Laura Taylor, founder of Social Flow Collective, shares her expert advice on using LinkedIn as an … [+] entrepreneur in 2024.

Laura Taylor

It’s no secret that until a couple of years ago, LinkedIn was seen as the digital equivalent of a stuffy networking event for employees. But as the digital marketing requirements of entrepreneurs have grown more pressurized and it’s become harder to gain traction on video-first platforms such as Instagram and TikTok, LinkedIn has really stepped up, adding more exciting and creative tools for users and helping entrepreneurs realize that it might actually be the best place of all to generate business.

“Generating leads on social media feels harder than ever – particularly now,” observes Laura Taylor, founder of the Social Flow Collective and a LinkedIn marketing expert who specializes in training and strategy for teams, organizations and individuals globally. “Impressions are low as there is a lot of noise everywhere, buyers are being more careful with their cash and ‘just showing up’ isn’t enough anymore.”

Having lost her job in 2020, Laura decided to set up her own consultancy helping female founders expand their digital reach and build their brands on social media. Through strategic networking and content marketing on LinkedIn, within five months she was fully booked – and that was without a website. Realizing how successful you could be on the platform as an entrepreneur, she then decided to niche down.

“I quickly realized the potential and value of specializing exclusively in LinkedIn strategy and optimization. I love working with [it] because, unlike some of the other social media platforms, success comes from connection, collaboration and giving support and value. It’s where reputations are built, credibility established and careers are developed.“

The statistics back this up, too. LinkedIn is currently the leading platform for lead generation with 82% of B2B marketers finding their best success there, and an audience on the platform has twice the buying power of the average online audience.

There’s no doubt that an increasing number of entrepreneurs are migrating to LinkedIn, driven by dissatisfaction with the other platforms available, but just as with any other digital platform, success hinges on leveraging its current capabilities to the fullest. With each year that passes, platforms change and upgrade, so getting on board with what will work in 2024 is vital.

“Currently, only 1% of LinkedIn users create content on the platform, presenting a vast opportunity for voices to be heard,” Laura predicts. “Expect growth in LinkedIn Live and Audio events, which are a great way to connect with your audience and build trust and authority, and [I believe] Vlogs will become even more ubiquitous for personal branding and content marketing. Also, LinkedIn newsletters and thought leadership go hand in hand, so I expect with the increase in Creators there will be more organizations and individuals publishing [them].”

With better engagement, more receptive potential clients and less lurkers, the appeal of using LinkedIn to sell as an entrepreneur is huge and, despite having earned a reputation as a site primarily for the employed, the benefits for business owners and self-employed people are arguably greater.

“When I was employed I barely congratulated somebody on a new role for fear of making a spelling mistake or being too visible there,” Laura recalls. “An employed person will not be able to, or want to comment so publicly about certain things (such as toxic bosses or a current job search), but as a founder you can be more yourself, comment more freely and really get involved in sharing your views publicly.”

According to Laura, these are the steps you need to take to make your efforts a success.

Focus on value first and selling second.

With research showing how much easier and more lucrative your marketing efforts on LinkedIn can be, it’s easy to get over excited and start trying to sell straight away, but Laura doesn’t recommend doing that. “I always recommend a 3 – 2 – 1 strategy: three value posts, two humanized posts and one sales post. Showing your expertise, allowing your audience to get to know and trust you, and then asking people to buy [in this way] works really well.”

But this shouldn’t be used as an excuse to avoid the selling part altogether.

“So many women hate the sales posts but if you don’t put them out you don’t sell. We collectively need to get better at asking for what we want, otherwise you’re just sharing useful information and writing a personal blog on LinkedIn. Every post just needs a purpose behind it.”

Position yourself as a thought leader

‘Thought leader’ is a phrase used so often that it starts to lose meaning, but Laura offers a very specific strategy for developing this side of yourself on LinkedIn.

“Share your expertise by encouraging discussions around the issues that annoy you in your industry – talk about the things other people aren’t talking about. [Don’t be afraid to] share your more polarizing opinions.”

Also recommended?

“Set up a newsletter on LinkedIn that is educational and promotes healthy discussion – one that people look forward to reading – and host LinkedIn events (audio or livestream video) where they can come to listen to you speak and engage with you directly.”

Invest time in creating an engaged community that you support and give back to

Like any social media platform, there’s no genuine shortcut to expanding your audience. We’re all increasingly aware that a substantial following doesn’t automatically translate to sales, so instead of fixating on numbers, Laura recommends prioritizing the cultivation of a genuinely engaged community.

“Commit to spending time everyday on LinkedIn and build it into your marketing strategy. Be consistent and be strategic and make sure your activity is impactful,” she suggests.

When thinking about the people following or connecting with you, she suggests asking yourself the following questions: “Do you have similar audiences? Are you aligned on values? Can you help them? Who is in their audience?”

“The algorithm loves content that gets good engagement and dwell time, so check in with people and support their posts – not just by liking them or sharing ‘great post,’ but commenting on them [thoughtfully].”

Collaborate with others

Laura believes the best way to view LinkedIn is as a networking event.

“Build a community around your personal profile of helpful, supportive people that will mention your name in a room full of opportunities. Connect your community with others. When you nurture your audience, educate and entertain them, create trust and be a cheerleader, that’s when you’ll generate leads.”

Find out more about Laura and Social Flow Collective here.

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