If building a website sounds like too much hassle for you, then growing a network in LinkedIn might be the ideal way to begin growing your trades business online.
As a flat-out tradie, it’s easy to dismiss many marketing strategies as something you don’t have time for.
But it’s worthwhile fitting in time to use tools that will get you more customers throughout the year.
Spending a few hours upfront on sites like LinkedIn can save you significant time down the track.
LinkedIn, for example, is a good tool for tradies because it provides an excellent platform for building relationships with business people with a strong chance of them becoming repeat customers.
You’ll also be able to form connections with strata managers, real estate agents, builders, and other people who regularly need jobs done.
Plus, with so many people wanting to see a tradesperson’s online presence before they book, and with individual recommendations being key, having a strong profile on LinkedIn helps.
Here are things to consider when using LinkedIn to build your tradie business.
Start with a professional, approachable photograph of yourself.
Use an appropriate, quality image that matches what you use elsewhere, such as on your website. This helps with brand consistency.
The picture should be clear, well-lit, and provide an accurate representation. Use a shot where you’re smiling so people get the idea you’re friendly and trustworthy.
Also, choose an appropriate headline for your profile, since headlines aid in searchability on LinkedIn.
Select keywords based on what you think people will search for. Your headline must demonstrate what you do and what you offer to clients (mention specialties or specific locations here).
Include plenty of written details throughout your profile. People want to get an idea of who you are and if you’re likely to do a good job and be reliable and easy to deal with.
Use the Summary section of the profile to introduce readers to who you are and what you have achieved, plus details of key awards, licenses, qualifications, areas of expertise, location, contact information, and examples of your work.
Include keywords and phrases throughout that people would input to search for tradespeople, so you come up in more searches and get more traction.
In the Experience section, talk about specific responsibilities you’ve had over the years and the accomplishments you’ve achieved, rather than only posting vague, general information.
Show how you’ve grown as a tradesperson and why you’re the best option.
Limit information to that about relevant jobs and skills from the past ten years or so, unless there’s a specific reason to go back further.
Highlight the Skills and Expertise you possess, too. Add a variety of options in this section, up to around 40.
Also, keep updating your profile over time. As you gain new qualifications, get expertise in new areas, or win awards, add these details in.
Another essential part of using LinkedIn effectively is getting endorsements and recommendations.
Once you’ve included skills on your profile, people who have worked with you can easily ‘Endorse’ you for these with just a few clicks.
Find out which of your current or past clients are on LinkedIn and connect with them on the platform so they might endorse you.
It’s also a good idea to ask people to post specific testimonials about your work.
These have a big impact since many people are wary about hiring tradies they don’t know or who haven’t been referred to them from a friend.
Contact clients on LinkedIn, asking them if they would mind writing a short recommendation for you. Send a personal message, be sincere, and show you’ll appreciate their time.
Keep in mind, too, that when people write recommendations, their words show up on not only your Profile page but also their own. This means more exposure for your name and brand.
Don’t be afraid to be proactive to get new connections on LinkedIn.
Send connection requests to past and current clients, and other people in your circles.
Once done, you should have the opportunity to connect with other people you don’t know yet but who are ‘friends’ with the people you know on LinkedIn.
Send connection requests to second and third connections who are relevant to your line of work.
While not everyone will accept the request, many are likely to, and you can then send them a short message, explaining your services.
Gradually build the relationship over time. There’s no need to do a hard sell; just find ways to connect and chat and go from there.
Also, build connections by joining interest groups related to your field.
Participate in these groups through comments in online conversations. Ask questions and be willing to share your knowledge.
Doing this will help you to grow your influence and number of connections naturally.
You’ll be surprised by how many people get in touch with you on LinkedIn for a quote or booking after having seen your profile and related activity.