If you have followed this blog for some time, you’ll know I talk a lot about writing to your ideal reader, your ideal customer and the person you wish to do business with. Life’s too short to work with clients who don’t value you or respect your advice.
Let’s take that concept one step further – how to find your ideal customers using LinkedIn.
LinkedIn’s people search is one of the most important features of the site. You can use it to find new connections, search for jobs, get clients, or recruit employees. The search function puts this booming social media site’s 150 million plus users right at your fingertips, which is just where we want them
Here’s how you can use the search function of LinkedIn to find exactly who you need.
LinkedIn offers an ‘Advanced Search’ option. You’ll find the link right next to the regular search bar. You should always use advanced search because it lets you set the exact parameters you need. You don’t just have to enter a generic keyword or phrase and get a jumble of mixed results.
For example, if you’re searching for people who work for a certain company now, just searching the company’s name will turn up anyone who mentions the company anywhere in their profile. They could be a past employee or someone who uses the company’s product. Advanced search lets you find only those who work for the company currently.
The search function lets you use Boolean terms to refine your search. These include:
- AND – To include two or more terms and only those profiles that have them
- OR – For searches where there are multiple keywords used for the same thing
- NOT – To exclude profiles that contain a certain word
- Parenthesis – For an exact phrase rather than just words
When you get your search results, there are a number of ways to sift through them. By default the site sorts everything by relevance. You can choose to sort results by relationship, recommendations, connections, or any combination of the above. This helps you filter your results so that you only find those that you want.
When looking at the results, there are also two different viewing options, one of which gives you more information at a glance. They also show you ‘In Common,’ which are connections or groups that you share with the person. This means you can get an introduction through your existing contact if you prefer to approach the potential customer warmly.
Other Search Features
LinkedIn’s search function lets you save searches so that you can refer back to them later. With a basic account you can save up to three searches. If you upgrade your membership, each level gives you more searches to use.
You can also choose to get reminders by email whenever a new profile matches your search. When someone signs up and their profile contains what you’re looking for, you’ll be notified. It will also let you know when someone changes their profile to match your needs.
The search function isn’t just for finding your ideal customer; you can also use it to look for companies, groups, answers, and jobs and of course, research the competition. All of these offer the same options for advanced searches.
How to Get the Best Results
The best way to get relevant, useful results quickly is to know exactly what you want beforehand. Picture your ideal prospect, employee, employer or client. Get an idea of what information from their profile will tell you that they’re the one you’re looking for. If you can refine your search with the perfect search terms, you’ll save yourself a lot of time.
When you find your ideal customer on LinkedIn, start to build a relationship – this is the start of a beautful relationship, not a one night stand. Start gently, and find out if they really have a need for your product or service, don’t assume they do or that they are interested – get to know them first.