For some, LinkedIn is just another social networking website with a business twist. To others, it’s a job-hunting tool. With roughly 277 million users and a plethora of business-friendly features, LinkedIn can actually be an incredible business-to-business marketing tool that you can use to amplify your brand and grow your business.
Here are some tips for leveraging LinkedIn to boost your business.
Part 1 - LinkedIn and You
Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile – Your personal profile is your digital business card. Make it look professional by uploading a photo of yourself but avoid using unprofessional and inappropriate ones like a picture of your dog. Also, make your profile easier to find and share by claiming your custom URL. Finally, ensure that you fill out your details completely. Use the ‘Headlines’ section to highlight your title and your company. In the summary section, talk about your responsibilities and why you do what you do to give it a personal touch. If you have a blog or a portfolio page, link to it from your profile. Take advantage of the “Add Sections” tool as well to expand your profile with miscellaneous details about your qualifications and achievements.
Create and Nurture Connections – Your connections on LinkedIn will help establish your reputation. So, create connections with the right people. A good way to find and add contacts is by using the “People You May Already Know” tool. Do note, however, that the purpose of the site is to cultivate professional relationships so only create connections that matter and avoid adding random people just to pad your connections count. Nurture your connections by endorsing your contacts for skills that they listed in their profile. Chances are, they will reciprocate. This will give your profile a welcome credibility boost. Additionally, engaging with your contacts by commenting on their updates would keep your connection fresh.
Highlight Your Most Exciting Content – At the top section of every heading on your profile page is a directional arrow icon that you drag to rearrange or highlight different sections of your profile. Put the most exciting and relevant content, such as your recommendations and work experience, front and center.
Part 2 - LinkedIn and Your Business
Having an optimized LinkedIn profile is important in getting the most out of the service for your business, but maintaining a solid profile is only the starting point.
Update Your E-mail Signature – Make it easy for your clients and customers to connect with you on LinkedIn by adding a link to your profile on your e-mail signatures. The “Email Signature” tool provides different options to input and style your signature line. Choices include “Professional Profile” link and “See who we know in common” link.
Incorporate LinkedIn Plugins and Buttons to Your Website – If your website includes executive bios, consider adding the “Member Profile” plugin to each bio. If you have a company blog, make your content easy to share using the “Share on LinkedIn” plugin or the “Recommend with LinkedIn” button.
Keep Your Brand “Top of Mind” with a Constant Stream of Updates – LinkedIn’s news stream or timeline equivalent is called “Network Updates.” Keep you brand in your contacts’ awareness by posting relevant and useful links and updates regularly. Be careful not to overdo it, though. A good way keep the balance is by observing a 1:5 ratio, which means 1 product link for every 5 genuinely useful links.
Join LinkedIn Groups That Are Relevant to Your Business or Industry – Find groups that are related to the industry you do business in and join them. This is a good way of finding prospective clients and industry influencers. Participate in the group actively and offer value by providing insightful comments, helpful articles, and useful how-to guides. This will establish you and your company as an authority in the field and an industry leader.
Create Your Own Industry-Related LinkedIn Group – If you can commit the time and energy, nurturing your own LinkedIn group can bring in huge dividends for your business. You can then use the feature to establish yourself and your brand as a thought leader in your industry, foster a community of brand advocates, generate new content ideas, and even gain new leads! Moreover, LinkedIn Group Statistics give you analytics into how many members are in your group or how active they are. The feature likewise provides other key insights about your members such as industry, locations, function, and seniority. But beyond numbers, the real benefit is in the ability to mass e-mail all the members of the group in the form of LinkedIn Announcements. Note that you are limited to a single e-mail per week so make it count.
Take Advantage of LinkedIn Trending Content Tool to Engage Various Audiences – This new feature, launched just recently, allows you to get a sense of the types of content that are popular on LinkedIn in relation to your industry. This is useful for planning LinkedIn content to ensure it generates the most engagement.
Create and Highlight Your Company Page – In addition to groups, you can also create a LinkedIn page for your company where you can provide comprehensive information about your products and services. Take advantage of this feature by creating special offers for LinkedIn users who visit and recommend your page.
Part 3 - The Bottomline
LinkedIn provides a lot of powerful tools that can make business-to-business marketing easy and effective. Master these tools today and see your business grow.
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