If you were to ask a marketer to rank social platforms by preference you would likely be surprised at the result. When it comes to social media marketing strategies, it is not Twitter that comes in second behind Facebook but LinkedIn.
This is because LinkedIn is a business friendly social media platform. Facebook and Twitter are largely aimed at individuals and with businesses mostly using them as a soapbox, getting through to the relevant people can be tough.
LinkedIn differs because with over 300 million professional users it’s the ideal platform for businesses and individuals; essentially it is a rolodex without a gatekeeper. The person behind a business Twitter or Facebook account is often in marketing or customer support. LinkedIn is more of a professional networking platform and people tend to run their own accounts so you get straight to the decision makers.
So how do you get the most out of LinkedIn?
Start with the basics
All roads lead to and from your profile. LinkedIn is built around data so the more detail you add the better chance of making good connections you’ll have.
Start your profile by adding your work and education history, a high-definition picture and a strong summary with the right keywords so you show up in more searches. It is important to stand out so describe what it is you can do for people not just what you do.
You should also create a business page for your company. Eventually this will form the fulcrum of your social strategy as you post and share relevant content.
Grow your network
LinkedIn is a professional social network and you need to build your network by connecting with people. Start with co-workers, friends from college, ex-colleagues and clients.
Content is a key driver for network expansion but before you start posting your own content get a reputation for being an engaging and generous user by commenting on and liking the posts of others – it come back to you in spades when you start posting your own content.
LinkedIn has a network system based on degrees of connections. 1st line connections are the Facebook equivalent of friends. 2nd line connections are friends of friends and 3rd are friends of friends of friends. The more 1st line connections you have the wider your network reach will be.
You can join up to 50 groups and they are a powerful way to add new contacts. Discussion boards help you start a conversation or get your content out to a targeted audience. Never go for the hard sell on boards, always build your sales pitch around a discussion. The trick is to start a debate before you introduce your products or services.
Be proactive in adding new members to your network don’t just wait to be invited because your network will grow really slowly. When asking someone to connect always write a custom message; the default message is really bland and says that you’re not really that keen on connecting with this person.
Endorsements and recommendations will be vital to helping you grow your business through LinkedIn and build your authority in your sector. They tell your prospective customers that you’re knowledgeable, trustworthy and worth doing business with. Give recommendations and endorsements to others without them asking you – you’re more likely to get an effusive recommendation in return.
Much like Google reviews, the more recommendations you have the better it looks to your target audience.
LinkedIn’s publishing platform, Pulse, is a valuable tool to blog your thoughts or share news that is relevant to your business and comes with a built-in audience you’d never get on your own site.
Content published on Pulse is also directly linked to your profile and is showcased at the top of your profile which can send a powerful message about your company or build authority.
Update your status and company page daily – it doesn’t have to be a new long form article every day, it can be a quote, a video, a link to another site or just a question your throw out to your followers. The important thing is that you become and remain relevant by increasing your visibility.
LinkedIn has a Marketing Solutions suite that offers premium tools to help companies reach out to relevant audiences. These include:
- Sponsored Updates (LinkedIn’s native advertising)
- Sponsored InMail (targeted emails that are only delivered to users when they’re actually active – pretty neat)
- LinkedIn Lead Accelerator (engaging anonymous visitors to your website with targeted sponsored updates and display adverts)
- Sales Navigator (recommends leads to connect with, tracks updates pertinent to your business)
LinkedIn has great potential to help your business grow and generate new leads. It’s simple to use and effective and the hardest part is choosing what photo to use.
About the author
Maria Bellissimo-Magrin is the CEO of full-service creative marketing agency Belgrin.