Recently I got interviewed in Dutch by Bloovi for their media website. Here you can read the English version.
The magic of LinkedIn goes further than we realize: “Too many people still use the medium purely as a digital CV”.
Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, LinkedIn: they are words that are so familiar that no one needs to explain them anymore. Social media is fully integrated into our private life, but companies are also making more use of it. Yet the business world still underestimates the power of LinkedIn and co., according to social media strategist and public speaker Joeri Billast. “Most people don’t get the best out of those tools. That’s a shame, because the impact can be enormous.”
Billast knows better than anyone what the use of social media is. In 2006 he founded BC Square, an IT company that specializes in business analytics. “LinkedIn and Facebook were young at the time, but I was able to market my business mainly through those channels”, says Billast. “It is through those social media channels that BC Square has started to grow rapidly.”
In 2013 he sold his company to do something different. “Away from IT, but moving further with my knowledge of the various digital tools that I had mastered to grow a company.”
And that is how Eﬃcado was born, a digital marketing agency. “Eﬃcado actually came about because a lot of people asked me for advice. They heard that I had grown my own business tremendously through socials and they wanted to know how I had done that”, says Billast. “It is not a one-two-three wonder cure that Billast presents to its customers.”
People want immediate results; it doesn’t usually work that way but a decent marketing strategy does. The role Eﬃcado plays depends from customer to customer. Some clients want a plan from A-Z, for others I am there as a coach: someone who is available for questions, follows up and makes adjustments where necessary.
In recent years, Billast has examined social media to the bottom and knows the secrets. “Take LinkedIn for example. Very useful for those who are looking for a job or, in the case of a recruiter, a new employee. But the medium is much powerful than that. Too many people still see it as a digital resume. I see it as a marketing tool. A way to get even more customers, explains Billast. The magic is in the fact that you can go so much further with it than just sharing your work experience. In fact, you should think of your profile as a mini site. Something where you present yourself to customers in an original but authentic way. “
Part of that magical aspect of LinkedIn is the network that you can build with it. There are two ways to expand your connections as an entrepreneur. On the one hand you have your personal profile. Very important, because that’s the place where most interactions happen. You create involvement with it by responding to the messages from your most interesting connections and you contribute some valuable content that can interest your followers”, says Billast.
“On the other hand, you have your company page to which a lot of advertising options are linked. You can determine in detail who sees your message. It is important to know who your customers are. That is something that we, at Eﬃcado, also outline.”
The three most common mistakes
“As magical as LinkedIn can be for businesses, a lot of users make mistakes that are easy to avoid. Pushing the follow button is easy, but that doesn’t end it”, says Billast. “LinkedIn is not a stamp collection. The connections you make are not just to look at, but also to make contact with. According to him, a lack to follow-up belongs to the list of three most common mistakes. “The English language has a nice word: “nurture”, that’s what you have to do. You have to nurture, nourish, cherish your followers.”
Or in other words: engage a conversation without being intrusive. “Which leads us to mistake number two: wanting to sell too quickly. This can happen in two ways. People send a follow request and the accompanying message immediately contains a full sales pitch. Or they create ads and write posts without actually knowing who their audience is or what that audience wants. Both are not well considered, which can seem rather insensitive. It should not be purely about selling on LinkedIn, there must also be some feeling in it. “
But before you click publish for your first post, Billast recommends avoiding this mistake: an incomplete profile. “Make sure your profile photo, cover photo and headline are at least tight and visible. Complete your skills, but don’t see it as just your CV. Make it something that is professional, but has a good appearance. Compare it with a newspaper: the article that catches your attention will be with a good photo and clear headline.”
These three big mistakes are easy to fix, but those who really want to win customers with social media must even go one step further. According to Billast, it should be included in the sales strategy in every company. It must become a habit. But he also understands that a lot of entrepreneurs still have to jump over the threshold. “Some think they have to invest a lot of time in those socials. That is what often prevents them from getting started”, says Billast.
“Be careful, of course it requires some effort. But I notice that if you spend fifteen minutes or half an hour a day on it, the potential customers find you very easily themselves. Compare it to the hours you spend emailing or calling prospects, then the calculation is made quickly.”
The tips and tricks that the social media strategist can easily shake up his sleeve are almost as endless as the possibilities of social media itself. He hopes with his agency to quickly go beyond the borders to apply his experience to international players. “We already have several customers outside of Belgium, but I’m aiming even bigger, outside Europe.”
“We will, however, remain on European soil for a while to launch our 21-day challenge, intended to encourage entrepreneurs to use their socials. We want to help them this way to experience the magic of social media”, it sounds.
PS: Here is the link to the original article in Dutch on the Bloovi website.