LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional social network, so it’s worth finding out more about LinkedIn and discovering how to make better use of it. Can LinkedIn help your business? Of course it can. And that’s because it’s more than just another social network; it’s a real opportunity to connect with the people and businesses that can help you succeed.
Using LinkedIn for business marketing
Many people start by using LinkedIn for their personal profile, but it has a wide range of uses as a business marketing tool. Of course it’s important that your own profile is complete, up-to-date and searchable (see our blog on improving your social media profile); but your business can really maximise its impact with just a little time and effort. Here are some of the things you can do:
Create a company page – To create a company page, you must have a personal account first, so make sure you sign up as an individual. Then just click on the ‘work’ icon at the top right hand side of the Home page, and scroll down to ‘Create a Company Page’. Follow the instructions to get everything set up. Invite your contacts to follow the page, and use it to showcase what you’re up to and what you can do for them.
this is a dedicated page for your business, where you can post updates, case studies, new products or services, talk about your people, advertise jobs – anything that creates engagement with other people. Individuals can follow your business page and interact with it. You can create a feed that automatically posts your website blogs or news onto your company page, giving your followers the latest news about your business.
Join LinkedIn groups for business – there are hundreds of specialist groups on LinkedIn, and you can join the ones that are most relevant to your business. Be aware that these groups are not for self-promotion or advertising: that can damage your reputation. Instead, use them to help others with their queries, ask questions, give advice, point out useful information or share opinions. This will help to establish your business and personal credibility and is an effective way to raise your profile and attract new business.
Think about including search terms – LinkedIn is often used in the same way as a search engine like Google. Users look for specific skills or service, often in a geographical area. So make sure both your company and personal profiles are ‘optimised’. This means using the key words or phrases that potential customers – or even recruiters – might use to find someone like you. To get a feel for what other people are doing in this area, take a look at the next point…
Follow your competitors – LinkedIn is a great place to see what’s going on in your industry, and to find out what your competitors are doing. By keeping your finger on the pulse, you can plan your marketing and sales strategies on the back of the latest market intelligence – and you could even find opportunities to collaborate with your competition, opening up new sales channels for your business.
Share content– engaging with other LinkedIn users isn’t just about waiting for them to like or comment on your posts; it’s about sharing relevant content and building relationships. So it’s good to share other people’s content, perhaps with a positive comment, and even tagging people who you think might be particularly interested. This shows clear engagement with the original poster and a willingness to help others. That’s something that will enhance your personal and business brand. One of the benefits of LinkedIn for business is that it enables you to start building good relationships online in advance of any sales enquiries or negotiations.
And in terms of your own content, keep it useful, interesting and varied. People get tired of hearing others talk about how brilliant they are. Be personal (on your own profile) of course, but use both short posts for emphasis and longer posts to give real value. And on your company page, make sure you have a tone of voice that’s consistent with your other channels – your website, for example. If you’re using a virtual assistant for LinkedIn, they can help make sure your posts have a consistent look and feel.
Use hashtags – there was a time when people use loads of hashtags on LinkedIn. But marketing wisdom now says to use between three and five targeted hashtags, rather than a scattergun approach. So some research into both popular and relevant hashtags that fit your business – and remember that the most popular ones will have potentially thousands of posts attached to them – so it might be better for you to choose a more relevant hashtag that gets you in front of the right people.
Use the ‘search’ feature – LinkedIn’s internal search engine is a powerful marketing tool. You can be extremely specific in your search, helping you to locate the people and businesses that are directly relevant to you, or fit perfectly into your target market. And whilst you should be careful about how you approach people on LinkedIn – it’s not a direct sales platform – you can successfully make new contacts and start useful conversations this way.
Statistics suggest that, when approached in the right way, LinkedIn can generate more B2B leads than other social networks, with conversion rates nearly three times the rate of other platforms.
The starting point
The most important way to start using LinkedIn effectively for business is to create your personal profile. This is the place where most of your professional contacts will connect with you. And that includes people you’ve worked with in the past, your current colleagues and associates, and people who might be interested in working with you in the future. For that reason, it’s vital that your profile is complete, up-to-date and gives a full picture of your professional life. It should also be searchable, so that your profile comes up when people are looking for professionals with your skills and experience.
Setting up your profile – or updating an existing one – can seem like a daunting and time-consuming task, but it’s really important to get it right. That’s why many professionals use outside help, such as virtual assistant services for small businesses. People who understand the platform and use it every day can organise this part of the process much faster, getting you up and running in no time. And, if you have someone who can deliver social media marketing support services, they can also help you set up company pages and keep everything updated on an ongoing basis, allowing you the freedom to get on with running your business.
The next step
Now, can LinkedIn help your business? We think it can – we can help to set up personal profiles for you and all the people in your business; create a company page and make sure that you’re sharing relevant, useful content and engaging with the right people. To find out more about a social media marketing assistant, or to learn more about our other services feel free to call us on 0800 994 9016 or use our contact form in the menu above.