What are the 5 C's to Grow My Manufacturing Business on LinkedIn?

Challenges: Leadership, Community, Growth

Posted by Meaghan Ziemba

Estimated Reading Time : 6 min.

Industrial manufacturers can grow their business using LinkedIn to find, connect, and communicate their marketing message while generating a steady stream of leads.

By: Meaghan Ziemba, Marketing Communications, MakingChips

This year’s Industrial Inbound Summit was held at the Harley Davidson Museum in Milwaukee, WI -- the perfect venue for an industrial marketing and sales conference that focused on the importance of brand storytelling and a culture of customer first.

The summit was hosted by Top Line Results and Creative Stream, and featured an impressive lineup of speakers and on-site advisors. Each speaker provided tips and tools on how to position your manufacturing business for success in a hyper-competitive, digital world.

The 5 C’s Using LinkedIn to Grow Your Business

Wayne Breitbarth, LinkedIn Trainer and Consultant at Power Formula, LLC, presented 5 simple steps to increasing your business using LinkedIn, which has 600 million profiles:

  1. Create a Customer Focused Profile
  2. Connect with Your Prospects
  3. Categorize Your Connections
  4. Communicate with Your Network
  5. Capitalize on Existing Relationships

Create a Customer Focused Profile

According to Breitbarth, the key to winning the “being found” part of the LinkedIn game is having the right keywords in the right places of your company/personal profile. You want to make sure that your most important keywords are used numerous times. The places you want to place them include:

  • Headline (extra weighting in search algorithm)
  • Summary
  • Experience: Job titles (extra weighting in search algorithm)
  • Experience: Description of jobs
  • Recommendations
  • Skills (extra weighting in search algorithm)
  • Education
  • Volunteer Experience
  • Accomplishments

The three main sections you should really focus on include your headline, job titles, and skills. Think of different words people may use to describe the same thing, like attorney and lawyer, legal and law, editor and proofreader, teacher and instructor.

You also want to include really good stories about you and your company by sharing relevant videos and landing pages.

Connect with Your Prospects

There are a few ways you can connect with potential prospects on LinkedIn including:

All People Filters

The All People Filters allows you to search potential prospects in specific demographics that you have not met before. You can search for people, jobs, or content in the search bar at the top of the page. You can also search by locations, connections, and/or current companies.

The All People Filters allows you to customize each of your searches with information on prospects’ connections, profile language, past companies, and industries.

Send a Nice Connection Request

After finding potential prospects, you can send individual connection requests to each. Be sure to use the personal note feature for a better connection acceptance rate.

Not all prospects will accept your connection requests, but some may still view your profile and send your information onto someone else. A profile view by a decision maker always equals a marketing event, so don’t be shy when sending out requests.

Create a Search Alert

Let’s say you want to find current managers of purchasing, procurement, etc. at three different companies in a certain area. Follow these steps from Power Formula’s blog to create a search alert and receive weekly emails from LinkedIn with any new prospect from those companies:

  1. Enter manager + (purchasing OR procurement OR “supply chain” OR buyer) in the Search box.
  2. When the results come through, click People from the choices on the line just below the top toolbar.
  3. In the right-hand filter column, click the +Add icon in the Locations section and type the locations you want.
  4. Next, in the right-hand filter column, click +Add in the Current Companies section, and then type in the name of the companies you’re interested in researching.

You will then see a list of prospects from the companies in the location you entered. Click Create search alert near the bottom of the right filter column to receive your weekly email alerts from LinkedIn.

University Pages

If you’re interested to connect with alumni from certain educational institutions, enter the school name in the search bar using the schools filter, click on the institution’s name, and then click “See Alumni” button.

Categorize Your Connections

LinkedIn offers the opportunity to download your connections database via a spreadsheet. You can then filter and sort the names for use outside of LinkedIn.

Breitbarth suggests upgrading to one of the premium LinkedIn accounts to receive additional profile sorting and saving options.

Communicate with Your Network

Once you connect with your audience, be sure to stay in front of them. Make daily status updates and publish long-form articles. Use direct messaging to contact your first-level connections and fellow group members.

Be cautious to contacting them too often or selling too hard because they could remove you from their network. Also, engage in group discussion by liking, sharing, or commenting on other people’s status updates. Engagement increases your exposure to other LinkedIn users.

Capitalize on Existing Relationships

Make sure to do your homework on your of your existing customer/clients. Connect with them all and search their networks to find out who they know.

Get referrals, recommendations, and endorsements by simply asking for them. Ask if it would be okay to use their name when you reach out to their connections.