Why LinkedIn Should be Part of Your Social Media StrategyDec 07, 2021
Have you ever wondered if you should be on LinkedIn? Or how might you use LinkedIn to grow your design business? LinkedIn can be a powerful tool to make connections in the design industry. And, if you are not including LinkedIn in your social media strategy, you could be making a big mistake.
I used LinkedIn religiously in my previous career as a business-to-business marketer. Still, when I went back to school and entered the world of interior design, I sort of forgot about it. Not on purpose; it just fell by the wayside. Then, I realized that my target audience was other business owners. Duh, what was I thinking? It was like a light bulb popped on.
Since that realization, I moved LinkedIn to the top of my priority list. I tell you that I get far more opportunities via LinkedIn than other social platforms like Facebook and Instagram. I also understand how to communicate better on LinkedIn. I just sort of “get it.” That is helpful when using a social platform to build a business.
Why Interior Designers Should Use LinkedIn.
LinkedIn has over 590 million users, according to Hootsuite’s blog. Each second of the day, two professionals join LinkedIn. American workers account for 154 million users; 45% are in upper management, i.e., decision-makers. So guess who designers need to target – decision-makers.
LinkedIn has been ranked by 91% of executives as their first choice for professionally relevant content. Of all social media channels, 50% of B2B web traffic originates from LinkedIn, and 80% of B2B leads generated on social media come from LinkedIn.
With these statistics, you can see how you may be missing out on a great opportunity to build your business.
How Interior Designers Can Use LinkedIn
17 Opportunities through LinkedIn.
Still not sure if LinkedIn is worth your time. Let’s look at everything you can do on LinkedIn to reach your audience.
LinkedIn provides you the opportunity to…
- Connect with others in the design industry as well as your target industries
- Identify new trends
- Find inspiration through a community
- Find your next great employee or intern
- Research a product line that has been installed in another project
- Ask other designers their opinion
- Share your knowledge with others
- Build a loyal fan base
- Position you as a thought leader/expert
- Increase traffic to your website
- Generate leads and improve sales
- Grow business partnerships
- A fairly inexpensive way to market your business
- Connect with vendors or even remember the reps’ names
- Identify creative ideas to share with your own community
- Increase your business acumen and find new ways of building your business.
- Gather valuable target audience research – what are they talking about, what is important to them, how are they using LinkedIn?
This is pretty significant.
Related Article: “How to Cultivate a Community on LinkedIn”
Now, here is one you may not have thought of. It helps you get found through search engines. For example, if you google yourself, your LinkedIn profile will appear on page one if you have optimized it.
Whether you are a commercial designer or residential, you can use LinkedIn to grow your design business. Your target market is on LinkedIn. For instance, if you are targeting construction company owners, they are on LinkedIn.
I recently started using the LinkedIn Sales Navigation tool. I will talk about that in a minute. Using sales navigation search, I typed “construction company Denver.” Over 39,000 individuals on LinkedIn are working for construction companies. I can then narrow this down to seniority level since I want to focus on decision-makers. This narrows my field down to 29,000 individuals.
Let’s face it, you can find more than a few potential referral relationships with 29,000 opportunities. Just saying it is possible.
How to Build a LinkedIn Strategy
Before you dive into using LinkedIn to grow your interior design business, I recommend creating a strategy. First, take a few minutes to determine what you want out of LinkedIn and indicate success. In other words, create a couple of goals.
Perhaps your goal might be to use LinkedIn every week to increase your referral base by connecting with construction company owners (or commercial realtors, residential realtors, interior designers, CPAs, financial planners, CEO of medium companies – you see my point.)
Related Article: “How to Identify a Target Audience for Increased Profitability”
Next, your strategy needs to include how you are going to do that. Again, you want to start by connecting with key members of your target market. In my earlier search, I found over 5,000 construction company owners in Denver. I would start with that list, and I would reach out requesting a connection.
When I switched careers, I had to build a new network. I literally started with all the business cards I had collected and started sending connection requests. Then, as professionals accepted my connect, that opened access to their connections. I would use the first relationship to connect to more people.
Under the “My Network” tab, LinkedIn provides you with people you might know. I used this tab to connect, but don’t just hit connect. Instead, be sure to go into their profile and identify if they would be a good connection. Then I would send a connection request.
Pro Tip: Always add a note when requesting a connection. You have 300 characters to introduce yourself and briefly explain why you want to connect. I created a template that I could copy and paste and then customize for each person.
Once I connected with someone, I would send a follow-up message thanking them and give a little background on my business. I would also add a couple of questions asking about them to get to know them better. Finally, don’t forget to add a call to action, which mine was simply following my company on LinkedIn. It is a low-risk call to action and doesn’t ask much from the new connection.
You might be thinking how time-consuming this might be for a person. I set aside about 30 minutes each morning to search for connections, send connection requests, and then the follow-up message. So, yes, it was time-consuming at first.
However, I have a cheat for you. I recently hired a company called Cleverly, which helped me automate my process. Total time saver!
If you are interested in expanding your reach on LinkedIn, I highly recommend Cleverly. They made it much simpler for me by writing the templates and creating automation so that I wouldn’t have to spend time every day researching and posting. In addition, their system is easy to use for following up. I love using it and am frustrated that I didn’t find Cleverly sooner.
Once a connection responds on Cleverly, I can reach out with a follow-up message. The one caveat of using Cleverly is that I had to subscribe to LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator. Honestly, I didn’t realize how helpful the Sales Navigator was until I started using it.
Besides Cleverly’s work, I also use Sales Navigator to reach out to my target market for research purposes. For example, I am researching the challenges designers face and asked how my company could help them.
I created a list of interior designers, narrowed down their experience, and began reaching out. It worked. I am building relationships with my target audience through research. Mind you that I am not hard selling my services through this effort. It is simply a conversation of me asking questions to better understand my target market. Guess what? The conversation usually turns to how I help designers. Now, that is an easy sales pitch.
Cultivating a Community on LinkedIn
As you build your connection and reach, you must be active on LinkedIn by sharing and building a community. Not sure how; I got you covered.
I have created a free download that gives you 30 Ways to Cultivate a Community on LinkedIn. I am taking you through 30 different ways you can start growing your LinkedIn community and develop new relationships, skills, and interior design leads. The download is free.
Getting started with any new marketing initiative can feel overwhelming. But, I promise you can build an amazing (and profitable) interior design business using LinkedIn. If you need more help, I have several articles that can help you. I have added the articles below for quick reference.
If you find our articles and resources helpful, please share us with a friend.
Related Video: “3 Tips to Increase Your Company’s LinkedIn Followers”
Related Article: “Why You Need a LinkedIn Company Page”
Related Article: “8 Steps to Improve Your LinkedIn Profile for Lead Generation in Your Design Business”
Sign Up for Our Monthly Newsletter
Get helpful career, business, and design tips right in your inbox each month.
At Behind the Design, we are committed to building a stronger design community by reimagining education, training, and support for interior designers. Through our various software training options, educational articles covering everything from leadership to marketing, and soon Continuing educational courses, we are committed to helping you. Join our newsletter to get the latest education and training updates.