How to use LinkedIn as a strategy for your business
LinkedIn is often overlooked as a platform for small businesses, but leaving this channel out of your social media marketing strategy means sacrificing profitable connections. There are plenty of reasons to use LinkedIn to promote your brand and ways you can leverage the platform to build authority.
Why you shouldn’t ignore LinkedIn
With 260 million monthly active users, LinkedIn offers a significant audience with which you and your employees can connect. HubSpot cites the platform as being 277 percent more effective for lead generation than Facebook or Twitter, making time spent on LinkedIn more valuable. Since profiles can be set up for every employee of your company, you have the opportunity to increase visibility, spread brand awareness and grow your business through connections with a wide and varied audience across the LinkedIn platform.
Establishing a presence on LinkedIn creates a detailed online “business card,” gives you an easy way to share your resume and opens up extensive networking opportunities. A study in the Wall Street Journal showed that 41 percent of small business owners who rely on social networks to increase their revenues and stay connected with customers say LinkedIn is the platform with the most potential. Overall, it’s the third most popular social platform for business owners, perhaps because its content isn’t subject to the ever-shifting algorithms used by other social networks to manipulate what shows up in users’ feeds. Your connections see what you post when you post it regardless of how much engagement the content receives.
Optimizing your LinkedIn profile
Your profile is the space on LinkedIn where you showcase your personal brand and attract leads to grow your business. Almost half of the users on LinkedIn fail to properly complete their profiles and miss out on important opportunities as a result. Make the most of your profile with these optimization strategies:
- Use a high-quality, professional headshot for your profile photo.
- Choose a background picture relevant to the work you do for your company.
- Add your current location and industry.
- Write a creative headline describing your position and include relevant keywords.
- Be concise with your summary but take full advantage of the option to add documents, links, images and videos.
- Condense your employment history to include only those positions relevant to your current situation.
- Add a concise list of your strongest skills, focusing on relevance instead of quantity.
- Claim a vanity URL representative of your personal brand.
- Add relevant certifications.
- List and link to publications you’ve authored or co-authored.
- Optimize for search terms people are most likely to use to find you or your business.
Write each section with your intended audience in mind instead of for search algorithms. Showcase who you are, what you do and the dreams, ambitions and visions you have for yourself and your company while incorporating keywords naturally into the text.
Pass these profile optimization strategies on to your employees so that they can effectively leverage their time on LinkedIn to help grow your business. When their profiles are complete, add them as connections to grow your network.
Building credibility through LinkedIn
Authority and influence are buzzwords in content marketing and being able to build both is one of the benefits of using LinkedIn. Although posts published on the platform don’t get quite as much search engine exposure as content distributed elsewhere, content creation is still a smart strategy for reaching out to potential connections and building your network within the LinkedIn community.
LinkedIn has its own publishing platform, and consistent use of this tool puts relevant, interesting content in front of your audience on a regular basis. Publishing articles also establishes you as a reliable source of information within your industry and shows customers you have the knowledge necessary to support your products and services.
In addition to publishing your own content, sharing information pertinent to and useful for your customers demonstrates that you have your finger on the pulse of the industry. Endorsements from colleagues add authoritative support by showing that others have confidence in your skills. When seeking endorsements, include requests for recommendations. Eighty-six percent of customers say recommendations influence their decisions, so you don’t want to leave this part of your profile empty.
Using LinkedIn to build your brand
To truly understand how to use LinkedIn for business, you have to look beyond your profile and explore the other tools available for networking and increasing visibility. Building a company page separate from your own profile on which you and your employees are active establishes a strong, authoritative brand presence. Use your company logo and tagline on this page to maintain a consistent brand image across all your platforms and make it more attractive with engaging content.
Staying active on your profile and company page is a key part of LinkedIn success. Plan to post several times per week, always focusing on the relevance of what you share. Industry news is a good place to find interesting stories to share, and the platform’s “LinkedIn Pulse” section provides a daily collection of curated content relating to your industry from which you can gather links and inspiration.
Leverage the power of LinkedIn for networking by joining relevant groups, participating in discussions and answering questions. Reach out to important and influential people in your industry to see if they’re interested in connecting, helping share your content and expanding your reach.
Adding yet another channel to your social media marketing strategy is an overwhelming prospect if you’re already spending a lot of time trying to optimize multiple profiles, but the benefits of LinkedIn make it worth the effort. If you want to build your network and grow your brand without being at the mercy of ever-changing algorithms or sinking half your marketing budget into social media ads, LinkedIn could be the best option. Invest the time in optimization and commit to consistency to master this platform for your business.
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