With over 260 million members and three million company pages, LinkedIn can be leveraged as a place to make business contacts, find answers and establish a presence as an industry expert.
Here is my simple guide to get you started.
1. Create A Branded Profile
This may seem like I’m stating the obvious, but the key word here is ‘branded’.
Think of your business’ profile as you would the CV of a new recruit who has applied for a job with you. A good CV is personal, memorable and focused, whereas a bad CV is typically lost in the crowd through the use of overused buzz words such as ‘responsible’, ‘driven’ and ‘strategic’.
Your profile should have your company logo, a professional yet unique headline that is in line with your brand, and links to your blog and website.
Remember too, that most people are visually inclined. Last year LinkedIn added in a multimedia support function which allows businesses to add photos, videos and slideshows to their profile for greater impact.
2. Join Groups Relevant To Your Customers
One of the best places to share on LinkedIn is in LinkedIn groups.
Joining groups relevant to your target audience and prospective customers allows you the opportunity to share blog posts, and how-to-guides that will benefit that audience.
By focusing on giving value to members of the groups you are in, you can promote your company in an organic, authentic and non-spammy way.
Once you post remember not just to walk away – take some time every week to respond to comments or interact.
You are better to foster a genuine relationship with members of a few select groups, rather than spread yourself too thinly.
According to LinkedIn, people who comment regularly receive four times as many profile views as ordinary members. It also increases your chances of becoming a top influencer which, when you reach this status, gets your posts become read by more people.
If you can’t find a group which seems relevant, then create one yourself! You can even create separate groups for different specific groups of people that you would like to engage, and that could get benefit out of connecting with each other.
3. Conduct Market Research
Once you have joined some groups relevant to your target market and established good connections and a professional identity, you can then poll group members for an extremely inexpensive form of market research.
LinkedIn Groups give you the option of creating free polls with up to five answers if you need a quick answer to a burning market research question.
4. Expand Your Networks
Make sure to increase your LinkedIn network by connecting with people you know. This may include:
- Email contacts
- People you know from LinkedIn groups
- People you’ve met at networking events
- Followers on other social media channels
- Your existing customers
- Business associates and affiliates
Always send a personalised LinkedIn note to the bottom of the generic connect request form that LinkedIn generates when you’re building your network, and don’t forget to ask if people would like to leave a review or testimonial for your business.
Most people who have benefited from your products or services or have a good working relationship with your company will be happy to oblige. These serve as endorsements to other potential customers who view your page.
5. Encourage Your Employees To Use LinkedIn
If you are a larger business it may be worth training a few of your staff in LinkedIn, and getting them to create professional profiles which feature a current photo and list their role and position in the company.
Having employees with updated and professional profiles can add positively to your brand image. If you want to take it a step further, encourage them to engage in groups also during times of quieter work flow. The more people who are actively involved on LinkedIn, the wider your platform will become and the further your message can travel.
6. Create And Share Interesting Content Regularly
Do you know that YouTube videos will play in LinkedIn, and that video content in LinkedIn receives 75 per cent more shares? Try experimenting with short videos for added engagement with your audience.
Not all your content needs to be new though. You can take popular content that you have shared on other social media and share it on LinkedIn, where the same content will reach different people.
A handy tool to utilise is the LinkedIn share button which lets you share one post with all your groups in one go. You can also install the LinkedIn share button on your blog or website so other people can share it with their LinkedIn networks.