If you’ve spent any portion of the last ten years looking for a job, it’s likely you will have used LinkedIn at some point. For savvy networkers, LinkedIn acts as a kind of ‘business Facebook’, a way of keeping in touch and up to date with other people in your industry. Nearly 433 million people have an account – as well as 1 in 3 professionals using it on a daily basis.
The most powerful aspect of LinkedIn is not the chance to communicate with customers, like Facebook or Twitter. It is the opportunity to network with people who can grow your business – suppliers, distributors, potential colleagues and possible employees. Using LinkedIn, you can tap into existing networks of people and if even one of them is convinced by your message, you will influence hundreds. A good place to start is by creating a company page. It will act as a hub for all of your networking efforts and provide visitors with a clear vision of your brand. You can post updates and in general keep an official store of information – much more useful to a company than simply an individual page.
Another reward for the effort of building a network on LinkedIn is access to more buyers. A whopping 93% of B2B marketers consider the social network to be the most effective at generating leads in any industry – and nearly 70% of companies have generated at least one B2B customer by using LinkedIn to find them and cultivate a relationship. The key is that members actually want to connect with you and are more likely to buy a product if they engage with a company on LinkedIn.
Some marketers tend to treat content for LinkedIn the same way they do on their other social media profiles. This misses the point, and the content posted will miss the mark as well. Your posts don’t need to build awareness of your brand or act as a springboard for communication – it is where you display your expertise. This is the company’s page, and a chance to show off how brilliant you are at what you do. Be selective in what you re-post. Everything that appears on your company page has to say something about the brand and about your vision for the future. Save the witty social commentary for the Twitter account. You can also use posted content as a way of sparking discussion – invite your connections to debate how to approach a new bid or a possible contract. Not only will it keep them on your page a little longer, it might just give you the idea you needed all along.
Finally, there is always paid advertising to consider. LinkedIn has several routes you can take, from ads embedded in people’s feeds to targeted ads that appear as a notification in their inboxes. This is a tool to be used lightly, however. It is a useful solution for brands selling services aimed at professionals but a poor choice for those selling a specific product. As with all social media advertising, it can be tailored closely and when used with restraint can be very rewarding.