When you think about social media, you probably place an emphasis on its social aspect. Scroll through your Facebook newsfeed and you’ll see community-building posts featuring things like kids’ photos, graduations, pregnancy and wedding announcements, funny memes, travel updates and photos, and posts from the groups and pages you follow. They’re all geared toward community engagement: You post to get likes, comments, and shares from your tribe of family and friends.
LinkedIn is a different beast. On this platform, it’s all about you. With LinkedIn, your natural tendency to downplay your accomplishments must be thrown out the window because showcasing your best self is the goal. Be confident in your expertise: People do business with other people and trust experts who prove their knowledge. LinkedIn allows you to build this trust easily.
LinkedIn is the ideal platform for B2B networking. It easily feeds into Google’s search engine, which you can leverage by including the right keywords in personal and company profiles. Any ground transportation company hoping to expand its corporate business should be on LinkedIn, because that’s where corporate employees and executives are. It may be the least social of the social platforms, but with some savviness and the right strategy, it’s an excellent business development tool. But since this platform is all about you, it’s important that your own LinkedIn house is in order first.
Make a Good First Impression
Make sure your personal profile is complete. If you run a business, you should ask your employees to update their LinkedIn profiles and make the profile photos and headlines follow a similar structure. As LinkedIn points out, “Your LinkedIn profile—and the profiles of everyone else at the company—are the peaks that come together to form the mountain range that is your brand.” Unless you are actively looking for a job or new opportunities, use language on your profile that is geared toward your target customers and focused on the value you offer to potential prospects and buyers. I also recommend creating a custom URL.
Show Your Value in the Summary Section
Your summary is a digital business card that allows potential clients—and employees—to learn more about your company and the services you provide. This messaging should talk to your buyer and reinforce your company’s brand and value. Choose helpful keywords, keeping in mind the search phrases that people looking for the services your company provides would use. Include contact information and consider a call to action at the end. Make sure this section is public.
Connect With Others
Your profile is only as good as the connections you’re able to make. Leverage the power of LinkedIn’s advanced search features to identify, qualify, and connect with key partners and prospects. Identify industry influencers and connect with them to align yourself with other experts in your field—and then engage with them. Don’t forget to approach leaders in industries you market to and write custom requests, giving a reason why linking to you would benefit them.
When joining groups, target those with the largest memberships. Choose a variety of groups: While there is some value in connecting with other like-minded professionals, don’t forget to look for groups where your clients are. For example: If my company had just purchased a shuttle bus in hopes of tapping into convention business, I would join just one or two ground transportation groups to stay current on industry news and updates; however, the majority of groups I’d join would be tailored to the industries I hope to serve. I would go to my local convention center’s website and research upcoming events to determine additional groups to join.
Participate in group discussions by commenting knowledgably and helpfully on topics to gain visibility and establish credibility. Also, post discussion topics of your own and share articles and updates that benefit group members. Every time you share insights about an industry article, respond to a question posted within a LinkedIn group, or tag a company in your comment on a discussion thread surrounding industry issues, you validate your experience and establish thought leadership among both peers and prospects.
Direct Traffic to Your Website Using LinkedIn
You can direct traffic from LinkedIn to your website in several ways. Post articles, updates, and blog posts in groups or as an update to your network. Furthermore, write articles on LinkedIn Pulse and include a call to action at the end of the post linking to a specific page on your website that’s relevant to your post.
Maintain Relationships With Contacts
Solidify your relationship with your network by being a good connection and promoting them whenever possible. Like, comment, or share updates from your network, and use the Keep in Touch tab to congratulate your contacts on events such as job changes and work anniversaries. Submit recommendations for anyone you’ve personally worked with: This ensures you’re visible on their profiles while demonstrating you’re an active LinkedIn community member who gives credit where credit is due. Use the new Kudos feature to give people virtual cards that shows up in feeds. Check your notifications every day so you don’t miss an opportunity to reach out.
“Your summary is a digital business card that allows potential clients to learn more about your company and the services you provide."Engage Your Colleagues and Employees
Two of the most influential groups of people who can assist with your LinkedIn marketing are your colleagues and employees. By encouraging them to engage with you on LinkedIn, they can potentially boost your LinkedIn content while simultaneously increasing the visibility of your Company Page. Don’t forget to return the favor!
LinkedIn is an ideal platform when it comes to social networking with future clients, sharing relevant information, and discussing the changing trends in your industry. Once you have invested in your personal profile, you’ll be able to easily connect with those who match your target market, enabling you to reach your audience more efficiently. The next step is to optimize your Company Page to increase your business development possibilities.
Company Page Features
You can now associate your LinkedIn Company Page with hashtags to join conversations about your business or industry, and LinkedIn also offers a customizable call to action. Starting a conversation with a prospective employee or customer is now achievable with the click of a button.
Remember, Microsoft owns LinkedIn. Take advantage of this by sharing documents, PowerPoint presentations, and PDFs to enhance your brand’s storytelling, in addition to photos, videos, and text updates.
I recommend posting original content on Company Pages, but if your company doesn’t have a lot of organic content to share, you can still be a valuable resource for your audience by utilizing the Content Suggestions tab. In this section, you can see what type of content your target audience engages with on LinkedIn. Recommended articles and posts add insights that can liven up your content strategy with new and trending topics.
“LinkedIn is an ideal platform when it comes to social networking with future clients, sharing relevant information, and discussing the changing trends in your industry."LinkedIn Ads
Advertising on social media is a vital part of any business marketing strategy. In a study by Google, buyers consume an average of around 10 pieces of content before making a purchase decision. Sponsored Content can be used to increase awareness of your posts, company news, events, and blogs. It gives your target audience an opportunity to learn about your business or brand by seeing it in their feed. Sponsored InMail allows you to send targeted users a direct message.
LinkedIn is a powerful business development tool if you incorporate its key features and tools into your sales and marketing strategy. You don’t need to become a LinkedIn expert overnight: Just start working on one section of your profile each day. You can also delegate your LinkedIn strategy to your social media specialist or an outside agency. Just don’t miss out on this powerful tool that can exponentially increase your reach. [CD0719]
Aleja Seabron is the social media manager for the LMC Group. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.