How to Utilize LinkedIn to Build a Network and Promote Business



Most do not enter into accounting to become a salesperson. However, knowing how to promote yourself and your business is part and parcel with just about any profession, including accounting. LinkedIn, designed as a professional-to-professional network, is the logical platform for many as they work toward growing their network through social media. Yet, the question remains: Where to start?

Entering “accountants” in the LinkedIn search field yields around 8.3 million results. Narrowing the search to “Michigan” reduces that number to 38,000 results, which can still seem like an overwhelming amount of competition. So, the question then becomes how to differentiate yourself from those competitors.

Prospecting for new clients on LinkedIn is a paradox. The easiest way to scare people off is to immediately push for business. For those currently active on LinkedIn, the experience of accepting an invitation to connect, then immediately getting a solicitation for business is not unfamiliar. It is also annoying.

Instead, the best strategy is to post relevant content, focus on developing relationships, let the other person get comfortable with you and bring up business only when it is appropriate. It is not so different from social prospecting at a Chamber of Commerce or a museum opening.

As a self-taught LinkedIn user, I learned how to leverage this platform through trial and error over several years. While I am happy to share the following insight on what strategies have worked for me, I do not expect anyone to copy my approach. That said, I have over 3,600 connections on LinkedIn and I add about 100 every 21 days. My engagement rate is this high because I put in lots of effort and, after everything, it is my opinion that LinkedIn is the ideal prospecting channel.

Nine Basic Strategies for Utilizing LinkedIn

Remember when e-mail was new? I do. There was a newness about it. It was cool. Until every inbox became inundated with e-mails. Unfortunately, this trend only continues. According to TechJury, the average office worker receives 120 e-mails daily. There are about 200 e-mails in a person’s inbox at any given time. Meanwhile, the average professional responds to only about a quarter of e-mails received1.

Considering social media as an alternative communication channel, LinkedIn offers a unique opportunity relative to Facebook. LinkedIn is accepted as a site for professionals to connect and communicate with other professionals while Facebook is primarily utilized for social interaction. Both can be valuable tools for accountants seeking to raise their visibility and establish themselves as subject matter experts, but numbers are an important consideration. LinkedIn has about 756 million members compared to Facebook’s 2.85 billion. While LinkedIn is only about 36% the size of Facebook, its user base is saturated with other professionals, facilitating a more targeted approach to networking. Moreover, Microsoft reports that LinkedIn engagement is up by 29% in the latest 2021 performance update.  

All things considered, a LinkedIn message or post should get more attention than an e-mail and be more likely to reach your target audience than a Facebook post. Consider the following strategies:

  1. Commit to being active every day. This might sound like a lot of time but being an active LinkedIn member has a pretty low threshold. According to Influencer Marketing Hub, the average LinkedIn user spends around seven minutes on the platform per visit2. Personally, I treat it like the U.S. mail delivery and review messages and notifications once per day.
  2. Build your network. For those asking: “Who should I invite?”LinkedIn will look at your entire list of contacts. You can start there.
  3. Personalize invitations. Many repeatable templates for this exist, but networking relies on a human element even if using social media. Therefore, the more personalized an invitation, the greater likelihood a prospective connection will accept it.
  4. Build some more. Think outside the box. Consider alumni associations, former classmates or even a basic LinkedIn search. Look for former graduates that are second-level connections. Before social media, we called these connections “friends of friends.” The “Old School Tie” is a logical reason to connect. Finally, look for other business owners and professionals locally and explore common connections.
  5. Thank them for connecting. For every person that accepts an invitation, send a message thanking them for accepting. Let them know if you will be sending articles or links to other content you create and offer them the option to notify you if those communications are too much. Personally, I send articles with links to supplemental content around once per month. My tip: After a month, I withdraw unanswered invitations.
  6. Post meaningful content regularly. LinkedIn is not “social” social media. Power users establish themselves as subject matter experts and reliable information resources. For example, a firm might produce in-house content for this purpose. Alternatively, they could also subscribe to a service to provide an archive of approved articles. In sales, weekly posts and a monthly direct message is called drip marketing.
  7. Join LinkedIn groups. There are many accounting groups. While those are important, other local organizations have even greater potential for business prospects. An alumni association is a good example. Does your town have a LinkedIn group for business owners and professionals? After joining, post thoughtful content in these groups. It can be the same article link you posted to the daily feed or included in messages. The major advantage to joining LinkedIn groups is visibility. By creating a post for the daily feed, it is seen by a certain audience. There are many, many posts in your feed. When you post to a group, your message might be seen by different people sharing the same group background.
  8. Answer comments. Likes and comments are how LinkedIn users engage with one another! Take time to thank those who have engaged with your content. Ask them questions. Draw them out. If they are not a connection but a group member, perhaps invite them to connect.
  9. Comment on other people’s posts. Take time to comment on other users’ posts. Read the post or article, then add a comment referencing a point made in that article. If the individual who created the post or another user messages back, answer that message too. Interesting dialogues between multiple LinkedIn users often develop from these interactions. My tip: I visit each group and try to find two interesting posts at least once a week.

These strategies are easily implemented by anyone just getting started on LinkedIn. Remember, the object is not to merely belong and hope you get discovered. Rather, the object is to get involved and become a contributing member who is seen as an expert source of knowledge in a given field. If people like your content, then they tend to like you, and many people tend to do business with people they like.

Bryce Sanders is president of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc. He provides HNW client acquisition training for the financial services industry. His book, “Captivating the Wealthy Investor” is available on Amazon.


  1. Lynkova, Darina. “The Surprising Reality of How Many Emails…TechJury. 11 Jun 2021. Accessed on 24 Jun 2021.
  2. Geyser, Werner. “50 of the Most Important LinkedIn Stats for 2021.Influencer Marketing Hub. 26 Mar 2021. Accessed on 28 Jun 2021.

Source: Perceptive Business Solutions Inc.

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