Over 10 million small business leaders now use LinkedIn to network, market and connect with potential customers. There are more professionals than ever to network with— but there’s also more competition. How can you stand out among the crowd?

The new LinkedIn Services feature allows you to do just that. It transforms your personal profile into an advertisement telling potential clients and customers you’re “open for business.”

It’s a new way to differentiate yourself and establish professional authority in your niche. Even better, it’s a simple and easy way to drive new leads for your small business or side hustle.

What Are LinkedIn Services and How Do They Work?

Social media marketing can be a challenge for small businesses, creatives and freelancers. It’s hard to grab the attention of qualified leads when so many others are trying to do the same. Marketing messages clutter the social landscape, and many users are desensitized to ads.

LinkedIn Services provides a fresh answer to the question of how to use LinkedIn for business marketing.

This updated “networking meets advertising” approach is designed to generate interest in what you have to offer, encouraging connections with high-quality leads. This is big news for the 43% of the U.S. workforce expected to be operating within the gig economy in 2020, and for small businesses looking for additional ways to drive leads.

Follow these five steps to get Services set up on your profile and start making connections to grow your business.

1. Prep Your Profile

Using the Services feature is a great LinkedIn marketing strategy to land new jobs. But for the best results, you’ll also need to optimize your profile.

This is a great opportunity to update your personal page if it’s been a while since you last touched it. Adding services increases your chances of a prospect discovering you through LinkedIn search. You’ll want these potential clients to see the full picture of what you bring to the table. Make sure your profile includes:

  • A professional headshot
  • All relevant training, job experience, and certifications
  • Your education
  • Volunteer experience and community involvement
  • Relevant skills
  • Recommendations for top skills

Don’t hesitate to request recommendations from your connections for the skills most closely related to your services. The more authority you can show on your profile, the more trustworthy you’ll appear to interested leads.

2. Add Your Services

When you’re done updating the rest of your profile, look for a box under your photo and headline offering the option to include services. Click “Add Services,” and fill out the form with the title and description of the services you offer.

Be sure to include keywords and details for each service. This will help potential clients find your profile when searching for businesses and professionals in your industry.

(If you don’t see the option to add services, it means the feature isn’t turned on for your profile yet. To gain access, send a request to LinkedIn to join the waitlist or wait until the feature is rolled out to more users.)

3. Post Content Relevant to Your Services

Supporting your service descriptions with content boosts the authority of your LinkedIn profile. Show prospective clients you’re serious about what you offer by:

  • Posting status updates with insights into current projects
  • Publishing niche-specific blog posts or articles within the platform
  • Sharing informative, interesting links to your own and third-party content

Provide value in every post to showcase your knowledge in your niche, and respond to comments in a timely manner. Insert marketing language and calls-to-action carefully; building authority and creating connections should be your main focus.

4. Engage with Interested Leads

The Services platform encourages LinkedIn members to message businesses and freelancers to learn more about their services. When prospective leads reach out, respond promptly with whatever information they request.

Make the interaction a genuine conversation, not a sales pitch. This is the point at which you gauge the level of interest and determine which leads are worth pursuing.

Being an aggressive marketer too early on in the conversation could deter prospects, instead of converting them.

5. Nurture Connections

After you weeded out unqualified leads, it’s time to get serious about building relationships with people who are genuinely interested in your services.

Visit their profiles, send connection invitations and thank those who accept your requests. Interact with their content whenever it’s appropriate.

Find the groups in which they’re active, and join the ones most relevant to your niche. By keeping conversations consistent and personal, you’ll lay a foundation for offline contact. If you’ve diligently built a professional relationship, this could be the final step before leads convert.

Beyond LinkedIn: Create a Cohesive Social Marketing Strategy

With your services prominently featured on your LinkedIn profile, you’re on your way to attracting new leads and establishing beneficial long-term client relationships.

But for leads to convert, your brand message and marketing strategy should be unified across all your online platforms.

A solid social media marketing strategy presents a consistent message to potential clients, increasing the likelihood of conversions.

Marketing services from National Business Capital bring your LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest strategies together with optimized website design to drive traffic and boost sales.

Getting every aspect of your digital marketing on point increases visibility, encourages engagement and creates the connections you need to grow your business.

Discover how National can help you establish a strong presence on LinkedIn and across social platforms using a personalized digital strategy.