Howdy, geospatialers! (Are you getting used to that name yet?) In my last column, I gave you some exciting tips on understanding your sales funnel. Today, I want to walk you through the power of LinkedIn as a sales tool by sharing my top five geospatial LinkedIn users and what makes them so great.

LinkedIn can be an awesome way to develop a powerful network of followers. But it’s important to get the basics right before you start influencing your audience and making any money out of it!

Before we dive into those power users, here are three important LinkedIn tips:

Tip 1: Follow the 80/20 Rule

First things first: make sure you fill up your network with potential prospects! Eighty percent of your LinkedIn network should be your potential audience, while 20 percent can be friends, colleagues, suppliers, etc.

Remember all those tidbits I gave you about focusing your content on the right audience? And how people will follow you if you just give them what they’re looking for? The #GetKidsintoSurvey campaign I launched last year has attracted a huge number of surveyors from around the globe – In fact, 80 percent of my network now consists of surveyors and manufacturers of geospatial technologies. You need to do the same kind of thing – build, build, build!

Tip 2: Upgrade to LinkedIn Premium or Sales

If you’re in charge of building your sales funnel, then you must upgrade to a premium account.

Here’s why: LinkedIn Premium or Sales Navigator Pro are great tools for prospecting. They both tell you who’s been looking at your profile, and that means you can stalk them back (yessiree, you can see who’s been checking you out). This is amazing: you can follow up with them or, if you launch a new product or post something about a particular service for example, you can see if you attracted the right audience. This is super useful!

Plus, you can send up to 15 direct emails (InMails) per month to your special prospects – and you don’t get that with the free version of LinkedIn. So if you’ve tracked down a bunch of potential clients, you can send them a friendly, “Hello!”

You can also take full advantage of the ultimate search filter, which means lots of options for finding the very people you want to attract. Very powerful from a sales point of view!

 LinkedIn Premium will set you back around $49.95. Check the website for further details.

Tip 3: Build a Community!

This is the ultimate way to grow your network: get involved. In other words, build a community. Don’t just stalk people; start interacting by liking, sharing and commenting. You can even help out other folks in your network by introducing them to each other.

I think of LinkedIn as a candy store. All those mouthwatering prospects and connections! The key with networking is to follow and interact with your market, especially your typical buyer personas (the type of buyers you want more of). But most importantly, don’t sell to them – wait, what? – because people hate being sold to. Instead, just become part of their community and also build your own. Start telling people things they’ll find enjoyable and informative, and you’re all set to build a following and reap the rewards.

Now, on to my top five power users and why people love them.

1. Fin Cormack

Land and engineering surveyor at FC Geomatics (2,665 followers)

Fin Cormack is on a roll, developing his network of followers by sharing what he’s up to. Here’s why he’s built such a following:

  • He’s consistent. Cormack’s posts are regular – every other day without fail. This builds the number of followers for him as well as the trust in his brand!
  • He’s captured a niche audience. He posts about work-related topics, like ‘carrying out a topo survey of a large car park’ while explaining what he’s doing. This kind of post is specific and detailed enough to interest a niche audience – and the more niche you are, the better. It’s all about focus!
  • He adds people to his posts. By adding people, Cormack encourages engagement and boosts audience reach. The more interaction you have, the more people see what you’re doing, which means more brand awareness.

2. Antonio Mendes 

Mobile mapping BDM for North Europe, Leica Geosystems (2,648 followers)

Antonio Mendes is becoming a LinkedIn rockstar. Here’s why we love him:

  • He’s the ultimate hashtagger. Hashtags (#s) are a great way to search through LinkedIn. They’re relatively new to this social platform, yet extremely powerful. Just try using them while doing power searches – for example, type in #P2U and check out what it brings up! POWERFUL. But don’t overuse hashtags; choose your keywords wisely.
  • He uses a ‘prop’ to attract his audience. Mendes has carved out a niche with his ‘cake’ posts: everytime he sells a system (at several hundred thousand dollars a pop), he posts a cake – and watches his likes go through the roof! One cake post earned him over 200 likes. This has helped him to develop a serious following and build his brand online. Sweet work!
  • He shares his stories. People like to see what other people are up to, so Mendes documents a lot of his trips and shares where he visits. This is another great way to build a following online and could be hugely effective for your own brand.

3. Elly Ball

Geospatial marketer for Elaine Ball and KOREC Group, freelance SketchUp 3D modeller (802 followers)

Well, what can we say? Elly’s part of the Ball family – well-known in our industry – so it’s in her genes. She’s as effervescent online as she is offline, and here’s a few other reasons why we love her:

  • She’s the ultimate networker. As a real people person, Ball gets involved with everyone she meets, online and offline, and that’s how she develops such a strong following. She understands the power of connections and communication, so commenting, liking and sharing posts from her contacts really helps boost her network.
  • She’s creative. Ball thinks outside the box. While sharing her clients’ posts, she still manages to inject a different look and feel, which helps her stand out from the crowd.
  • She has her niche. She is a geeky SketchUp queen, which adds a different perspective to her audience. Once again, a reminder that a big plus on LinkedIn is to stay focused.

4. Paul Burrows

Product manager for laser scanning software, Leica Geosystems (6,815 followers)

Paul Burrows is a fantastic example of a LinkedIn early adopter and he’s made it work well for him. We love him because:

  • He’s a serial networker. Burrows is a fantastic people person, and we’d go so far as to say his online networking skills make him a serial influencer. He’s right behind the Leica brand and his colleagues, and he’s generous with promoting his clients’ posts – a real gentleman. He could be a very powerful influencer for your own network!
  • He’s witty. He isn’t afraid of speaking his mind or joking with his followers. A sparky personality can be appealing, so don’t be afraid to be yourself – people follow people, not products.
  • He’s a fantastic brand ambassador. If we were to cut Burrows open (which we could never bring ourselves to do), you’d see the word “Leica” running right through him. He’s the kind of guy every brand wants to speak on their behalf!

5. Robert Martin

Survey sales, Navigation Electronics Inc. (854 followers)

Robert Martin, a surveyor and reseller of Trimble equipment, is a newbie to LinkedIn – and yet, he’s all over it. He’s on a digital marketing journey, and here’s why we love him:

  • He’s not afraid. Martin has just gotten started on LinkedIn, and he dove right in with some excellent content for his audience of architects and structural engineers. This is a journey we want to watch, seeing what works for him over the coming months. Never be afraid to jump in with both feet and see what happens.
  • He’s on it with video. Video marketing is set to BOOM in the next year, according to HubSpot, with 81 percent of businesses already using video as a marketing tool (up from 63 percent last year.) So don’t miss out – take his advice and get stuck in.
  • He’s jazzing up the survey world. So far, Martin’s had a huge number of views on his posts. His next step is to convert those onlookers into customers: let’s keep him on our ‘watch-list.’

Your Top Takeaways

So, to round things up, here are our top tips to take away from this:

  • Become an awesome networker.
  • Be consistent with your posts – this builds trust!
  • Focus on a niche audience – the more focused, the better.
  • Even better, develop your own niche. This differentiates you!
  • Add people to your posts to encourage communication and build your brand.
  • Use hashtags to help focus your content and run better searches.
  • Get creative.
  • Use props (remember the cakes?) to set you apart.
  • Share your stories.
  • Reveal your personality.
  • Jazz up your world.
  • Be an enviable brand ambassador.
  • Use video to attract and grow your audience (and your customers)!