3 steps to grow a LinkedIn following to attract consulting clients from scratch

Want to attract more clients on LinkedIn but aren't sure where to start?

In this article, I provide a step-by-step guide to help you grow your audience of potential clients from scratch.

#1 Nail the brand strategy first

Before you start actively growing your following, it's critical that you have a proper plan in place.

The strategy doesn’t need to be overly complex but it needs some thought to get the best results.

Brand strategy can really be broken down into three areas:

  • positioning
  • messaging, and
  • targeting

​Let’s tackle them one by one.

Firstly, your positioning really comes down to the offering you provide and how people categorise it in their minds.

Although you could probably create content about a range of topics, you want to focus on a particular area so you become known for a certain thing.

This is how you build expertise and authority in your domain.

As an expert service provider, it’s also important for your positioning on LinkedIn to mirror your business’ positioning in order to attract the right clients.

There has to be a common thread between the two.

Once you know the type of content you’ll be sharing, it’s important to consider the types of people who need to hear what you have to say – this is where targeting comes into play.

Targeting is all about finding your people and making a decision about the content is for.

Once you know the audience you are targeting, it’s important to be aware of the problems they face in relation to your area of expertise.

The goal is to position your content and service offering as solutions to their problems.

It’s also important to label this group of people using a term they self identify with. In B2B marketing, this is usually the target audience’s job title eg ‘HR managers’.

When you use this title in your content and messaging, it will help it stand out. There is a lot of noise on LinkedIn, so you need to find a way to cut through.

If your target audience can see that your content is relevant to them, they will pay attention.

​And finally, your messaging is really just the words you use to describe your offering.

It’s important to use phrases that will resonate most with your target audience.

Also consider the transformation you enable for them. What does their situation look like before you work with them and how does it improve for the better afterwards.

When you can clearly articulate this, it will be easy for potential clients to see value you can offer them.

#2 Optimise your LinkedIn profile

Once you are clear on your brand strategy, it's important to update your LinkedIn profile content so that everything is in alignment.

To put it simply, your profile should clearly communicate who you are, what you are all about, and why you're someone worth staying in contact with.

A good way to think about your profile is to treat it like a website landing page – it needs to be optimised to encourage your target audience to take specific actions.

And there are two main actions you want people to take:

  • to get in touch with you directly
  • to follow / connect with you.

Similar to websites, most people who visit your profile will not be ready to buy your offering on the spot.

So it’s important to encourage people to follow or connect with you.

That way, you can build a relationship with them and familiarity over time – so that if / when they are ready to buy an offering like yours, you are the first person that comes to mind.

Here are a few best practices for the main parts of your LinkedIn profile:

Profile headline

This is probably the most important thing to get right. Other than your name and profile picture, your headline is one of the few elements of your profile that appears in the main feed when you
engage with other people’s content.

So in this situation the goal of your LinkedIn headline is to encourage people to click through to your profile and read more about you.

It really comes down to communicating why people should follow you.

So think about how you can distil your positioning and messaging down to a clear and compelling sentence or two.

Profile picture

Be sure to use a professional-looking photo that's high quality.

Also remember to avoid photos where you are doing an action – you really only want your head and shoulders to be in the shot.

To stand out even further, you could even use a branded or colourful background behind your face.

Featured section

Your featured section is the part of your profile where you can show links to different web pages or pieces of content.

So linking to your services can be a great option here. That way, people can quickly see what you offer and how they can hire you.

The great thing about this section of your profile is you can link to your own website so people can read more about your specific services.

About section

This is the part of your profile where your bio is shown.

It seems counterintuitive, but your about section should really be focused on your ideal client and the results you enable instead of your backstory.

Try to keep your about section short, sweet, and easy to skim read.

Get straight to the point and talk about the problems you help people solve and how you solve them.

Banner graphic

Be sure to also feature a branded banner graphic at the top on your LinkedIn page. Similar to your headshot, having a high quality design also makes your profile look more professional.

Again, we want to use this space to explain what we do and the benefits of staying in touch with us. So writing this information in the banner is a good option.


Another important aspect of your profile is your recommendations section.

This is where people can leave testimonials about you and it’s something you should actively encourage.

Recommendations help back up the claims you make about your positioning or service offering. So it’s important to feature testimonials from your clients in this section.

In terms of when to ask for them, the best opportunity is when a client project is coming to a close and they are starting to see results.

Third party endorsements carry more weight than anything you say yourself, so it’s a missed opportunity if you don’t have any recommendations on your LinkedIn profile.

#3 Build habits around specific activities

If you are early on with LinkedIn and don't have many followers, there are a number of different activities you can do to build your audience.

Firstly, sending out connection requests on a daily basis is a quick win. You have a limit of 100 connection requests per week so it's definitely worth getting into the habit of searching for people in your target audience and sending invites.

If you have creator mode switched on, as soon as people connect with you, they become followers. And most people accept invites from strangers so it’s worth spending time on.

Another good option to grow your audience is to comment on other people’s posts.

This helps you to get exposure because when you comment on someone’s content, it’s also shown to their audience.

And if you write a value-adding comment on their post, people may be interested in visiting your profile.

When it comes to commenting on people’s posts, be sure to focus on your ideal clients or those that have the same audience that you want to target.

This will ensure you are attracting the right people and grow a following that is going to serve you in years to come.

Posting your own content
is another great way to grow your following but notice how it is number three on this list.

If you are just starting out, putting more emphasis on sending connection requests and commenting on other people’s posts is likely to be a better use of time.

Focusing on these two activities initially is important to grow your network.

So when you do eventually come to post your own content, you will have built a larger audience and people will be more likely to engage with it.

Here are some ideas for the types of content you could be posting:

  • Your recent activity. Share what you have been up to in your day to day work like and take photos of you out and about.
  • Offer tips and advice relating to your area of expertise
  • Talk about things you’ve struggled with and how you overcame them
  • Share specific results you have enabled for clients
  • Share your opinions about things in your domain / industry. Even better if these are controversial opinions that go against the grain.

And finally, another good habit to get into is to direct message anyone who comments on your posts.

Thanking them for taking the time to comment not only reinforces the behaviour, but these conversations can lead to opportunities for client work.

Conclusion and action point

To sum up, growing a LinkedIn following can be a valuable strategy for attracting consulting clients, but it requires a thoughtful approach and focusing on the right activities you can do on a day to day basis.

Your action point for today is to review your LinkedIn profile and see where there are opportunities to improve it.

Is what you're offering clear? And are you speaking directly to the audience you are trying to attract?

Make adjustments to your profile where necessary based on my recommendations, and then focus on the activities listed above to grow your audience.