LinkedIn is not just another upscale social media platform trying to rip off Facebook. If you aren’t already familiar with LinkedIn and using it to boost your business you are sorely missing out. With over 380 million users in over 200 countries, and 4 million companies on this social network, it is also a place to better use your professional network for industry insight, business awareness and connection.
LinkedIn also allows you to build trust between other businesses as well as your target audience. It allows for brand building whether for a real estate, insurance, or any other industry.
Originally a place to network professionally, post and find jobs, and to better screen your applicants, LinkedIn is now a massive source of information from leading professionals. Good news! You can be one of these leaders. It's no secret that LinkedIn is a great place to network professionally, it is also the best way to identify influential individuals at specific organizations.
A search for your target business or title on LinkedIn will identify people you may already be connected with, either directly or through your connections. LinkedIn is a great tool to leverage your existing contacts to connect with people and find potential customers online.
So how do you take LinkedIn, and use it for your small to medium-sized business?
1) Make a profile
Do not leave out information or leave the form blank! Your profile should be 100% complete. When people are searching organizations, they will make the decision to connect or not connect based on the information you provide. Increase visibility by completing a stellar profile.
Make sure your brand is consistent across your social media platforms. Your name should be the same or similar to your Twitter handle, or your Facebook page name. This will further increase your visibility.
Promote your company! Linkedin lets you link websites so why not link your own and maybe your Facebook too?
2) Sell yourself
I’m not just talking about fancy adjectives either. Identify your industry that your business is in, make your company sound snazzy and optimize your profile for SEO.
Did you know you can customize your LinkedIn profile URL?
Here’s how you do it:
I. Go to your profile
II. On the left column click on “Edit public profile & URL”
III. Edit away!
The benefits of having your name or company name in the URL include the ranking for searches as long as it is memorable and easy to look up by peers and customers.
You can also customize the anchor text to the links you have on your profile. Otherwise known as creating a hyperlink, having a catchy anchor text will further help you with ranking in search. Pair that with researched keywords and you’re golden. Another reason why you shouldn’t leave these links empty is that having your links published on a site as large as LinkedIn brings more visibility to you. Again, helping you rank in search.
3) Be a Thought Leader
You can now publish blogs and posts directly on LinkedIn. These can be as short as statuses similar to Facebook posts, but they can also be as large as a published blog post. Content is great because it establishes you and your business as a thought leader in your industry. Similar to Facebook, LinkedIn has the ability to generate organic growth, this means that people can naturally find your posts by being curious without the need for you to pay for it to be seen.
Don’t just post your own content. People ask questions on LinkedIn. Use this opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge by taking the time to answer questions people may have. Ask questions yourself, and join groups in similar industries.
4) Build Engagement
The first people you should be engaging on LinkedIn are surprisingly not your target audience but rather your employees. The people who work directly for you and with you are your best brand advocates, Encourage your team members to add their current position at your company to their profiles. This makes them a follower of your page and will even feature your page on their own profiles, driving more traffic your way.
Second, get your loyal friends and families to follow you. Have them share any positive experiences they’ve had with you on a forum to build a trusted base of reviews. Don’t just stop there, encourage your very loyal customers to follow you as well. This will capture your target audience when they see that you already have an established following online.
There are Groups on LinkedIn that share similar interests, be in the same industry or share similar core values as your business. Find these groups, join them and take part in the conversation. Again, it is about building yourself a thought leader and an authority in your industry. This also creates brand awareness, and drive traffic back to your page and website.
5) Lead Generation
Not only is LinkedIn a useful tool to keep in contact with colleagues and professional contacts, but it can be used as a way to generate new leads for your business. What is a lead you might ask? A lead is a potential customer. Essentially a “qualified” lead are researched, targeted people who would have a high probability of wanting to use or buy your product/service.
You can generate and drive leads by creating a LinkedIn group to demonstrate thought leadership in your market. Promote your group and grow a community. Engage this audience and drive people to relevant, valuable content on your website or blog.
You can also use LinkedIn’s DirectAds. Again, similar to Facebook or Google AdWords, you can push your ads to LinkedIn subscribers by targeting profile demographic information.