LinkedIn is one of the most popular social networks available. Of its over 550 million users, more than 250 million are active, monthly users and over 40 million LinkedIn users are in decision-making positions. This means that the best way to take full advantage of everything LinkedIn has to offer is to establish not only a personal profile but a company page as well. Maintaining both types of pages will allow you to utilize this amazing business network to its full potential and connect your personal brand with your professional brand for the benefit of both.
Your profiles should be fully completed to show yourself and your company in the best light possible. Know that the profile pictures you use as well as the background images provide context and tone to your accounts. Consider how you can represent yourself as an industry professional and your brand as an industry leader. Choose images that show people how you want them to view you. The summary section is another excellent place to communicate the talents and experiences you want others to know about you and your business.
The skills and endorsements sections help people who don’t know you understand what your colleagues value about you. But that doesn’t mean you have to showcase everything that pops up in your profile. LinkedIn provides the opportunity to order the skills as you please and remove any that aren’t supportive of your current endeavors. Take control of your LinkedIn reputation to craft a list of skills and endorsements that work best for you and keep your business on track.
LinkedIn is a social network. As such, your profiles should not be static. The good news is that you needn’t think of posts for LinkedIn as a completely separate task from your other social media efforts. You can repurpose the content you are using on other channels for your LinkedIn updates. The aim, especially, is to utilize material that has performed well on other platforms. Consider who is on LinkedIn and why people spend time there You’ll want to use content most relevant to your professional industry and tweak the format and approach to tailor the posts for the business-focused audience on LinkedIn.
Both your personal and business LinkedIn profiles can also be used as a blogging platform. Blogging is an effective way to showcase your expertise and let people know about your business. It helps create strong relationships as you connect with your target audience through high-quality content that informs or inspires.
Beyond the content is a wealth of opportunity for growing your reach and business in general. Here are some tips for developing a more productive LinkedIn strategy and improving your company’s profile.
1. Your Company Page is an Inbound Tool
Both existing and potential customers use LinkedIn as a resource. It only makes sense for you to use your company page as a place to provide information about your brand, your mission, and your products or services. It is also an excellent place to showcase your brand’s latest campaign and newest offerings. Engage with customers by asking questions and fostering discussions to help build an online community of brand loyal followers. Answer questions and offer advice or feedback to sincerely become a part of that online community.
Your company’s LinkedIn page shouldn’t attempt to be a replica of your Facebook profile or the “About Us” section of your website. Both of those platforms are more about engaging with consumers on a more personal level. LinkedIn is a powerful inbound marketing tool that needs to be utilized properly in order to be effective. Use your LinkedIn company page as the business to business portal it is meant to be – build professional relationships and generate leads.
On a side note, the same holds true for your personal LinkedIn page. Be respectful of the business-oriented vibe of LinkedIn. Focus on content and information that display your professional expertise and experience. Leave the crazy birthday wishes and latest pet pictures for the platforms better suited to such things such as Facebook and Instagram. And don’t be afraid to reference and link to your brand efforts as they are part of what defines you as a professional.
Once you view your company page as a potential lead generator, you can fashion every section with that goal in mind. Handle your regular (and industry relevant) updates in the same way. Viewers should be able to read through your page and quickly surmise the services or products you provide and the value proposition they present. While your LinkedIn company page isn’t necessarily the place for a hard sales pitch, you can certainly create a clear path to your website where visitors can find out more about your brand.
2. Use the Network to Connect
As we mentioned earlier, business focus or not, LinkedIn is a social network and a rich source of connections. You can almost think of connections as the currency of LinkedIn. However, unlike Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms, the goal of LinkedIn connections is not simply to build numbers. You want to connect with a target audience that will amiably be led back to your website and, ultimately, become loyal customers. Stick to your established platform strategy and related goals to seek out the “right” connections.
The search tool built into the platform makes it easy to build your list of connections. All members can utilize the advanced search options but do keep in mind that additional filters and expanded reach are available for upgraded memberships. The advanced search tool provides filters that let you find connections by location, industry, current or past company, school, profile language or nonprofit interests.
3. The Platform as a Human Resource Tool
Your LinkedIn company page isn’t only a resource for existing and potential customers. It is also a way for you to present your company to prospective employees. People interested in employment with your company will scour your LinkedIn profile (and other social media profiles!) for general information and to get a feel for your brand. In this light, ensure that your company presence provides a full picture of who you are as an organization and provides connections to those already in your employ. Maintaining a company page also provides the opportunity for your company to appear in search results so prospective applicants within your industry can find you in the first place.
In addition to being a resource for potential employees, your current employees and colleagues can utilize LinkedIn to help create a fuller picture of your company – what it stands for, how it is structured, and more. Encourage people affiliated with your brand to set up and actively maintain LinkedIn profiles. More importantly, encourage them to connect their profiles to the company page. This will not only help prospective customers view your brand on a human level, but it also grows your company network. The employees connected to the company profile become proxies for the brand and its efforts to utilize the LinkedIn platform for lead generation.
4. The Power of Groups
LinkedIn offers a multitude of opportunities to participate in groups in addition to hosting individual and company profiles. LinkedIn groups are private and require approval to join. They are unique communities within the platform through which people can connect based on common interests or industries. As such, they are excellent sources of high-quality content and discussion on topics pertaining to the stated interest of the group.
Once you have been approved to participate in a group, you can post in the forum and connect with the various members. This helps you to expand your network and increases your ability to connect with a larger audience. The privacy of the LinkedIn groups also makes them less likely to cause spamming issues.
The sidebar of your LinkedIn personal and company pages displays which groups you are managing or participating in. Sharing this information communicates that you aren’t wanting to just be an inactive member of the network but, instead, seek to be part of a larger community. This will add legitimacy and weight to your brand and personal image.
LinkedIn allows members to join a maximum of 50 groups but that is not recommended. The goal is to be active within each group of which you are a member. You want to take part in discussions, post relevant content, and ask intelligent questions. Belonging to too many groups will eventually cause you to present yourself in a poor light. Target groups most relevant to your brand and the target audience you are seeking to connect with.
The more you participate in a group, the easier it will be to establish yourself as a thought leader in the group. As members begin to view you as a leader in your field, they will take more of an interest in doing business with you and your organization. Employees can also join and actively participate in groups. They can also publish content that helps lead others back to the company.
Establish generously informational profiles – personal and company. Keep things professional and crisp.
Make your profiles work for you and your brand. Spend time learning how to craft a page that highlights the value offered to potential and existing customers.
Be an active participant on the platform. Post updates, share blogs and interact regularly with the groups you belong to. Establish yourself and your brand as industry leaders.
Harness LinkedIn’s power to generate inbound traffic. Connect purposefully and encourage colleagues within your organization to do the same.
The unique mission of LinkedIn, to provide a platform specifically designed for business and professional users, makes it an excellent place to make connections that strengthen your leads generation. Form a LinkedIn specific strategy and related goals then keep them in mind as you utilize the platform. Establish your brand’s presence around achieving those goals.
Interested in learning more about what you can do to make LinkedIn and other social networks work for your business? The experts at Strategy Driven Marketing would love to help you establish strategies, goals, and action steps to help you achieve your objectives. Contact us today to get started!