When it comes to social media marketing, the majority of businesses have made something of an effort to establish a presence on at least one of the popular social media websites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or YouTube etc.
These websites are viewed as the ‘fun’ cousins of the social media world, the websites everyone wants to play with and chat with their friends on, but they aren’t the only networking platforms that are valuable to businesses.
LinkedIn is a very well known, but hugely underrated and underused avenue of opportunity. Most people view LinkedIn as the ‘stuffy’ side of networking and it’s true that if you go to LinkedIn you won’t find a video of someone falling down or a picture of a cat hanging on a washing line, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing!
Each networking site attracts a different set of potential clients and LinkedIn is no different. In fact, you could even find yourself networking and promoting yourself to more important people to your business on LinkedIn than ANYWHERE else.
If you still need convincing of the power of LinkedIn, please take a few minutes to read through this guide and you might be pleasantly surprised by the results.
LinkedIn For Business
If you Google any business or business person one of the first entries to appear in the search results will almost certainly be their LinkedIn profile page (if they have one) and these profile pages contain everything you want to know about the person or company, their products and services, and more.
So when creating your business profile on LinkedIn it’s crucial that you fill out and use every tool LinkedIn offers, including their customised ‘Products and Business’ section, because this is a superb opportunity to create a stunningly professional and informative ‘brochure’ that can compliment your existing website.
In this section you can market your business and products with images, videos, detailed product descriptions, links to products on your website, and more. What LinkedIn is really providing you with here is a virtual, digital brochure with tens of thousands of potential clients who are waiting to connect with you.
And that’s obviously very good in itself, but think about this…
What alternative does a potential customer have if YOU don’t give them the information that they’re looking for yourself? Their only other option is to go and look for the opinions of others in random blog entries and consumer forums, and let’s face it, you’ve got no control over what’s being said there – good or bad!
So, do yourself a favour and set up your LinkedIn business profile now!
Engaging With People On LinkedIn
An essential element of any social network is not simply to attract people to your profile, but to engage with and retain your audience for the long term. However, while the contact between users on sites such as Facebook and Twitter revolves around relaxed social interaction, LinkedIn is a business-orientated network.
So if you can’t post pictures of people making fools of themselves, or of animals in amusing situations, how can you keep interest in your brand growing?
1 – Post Daily Status Updates
LinkedIn has many useful features, but none are as easy to use as the ‘Status Update’. These status updates appear in the feeds of those who are following your business page AND in the feeds of other LinkedIn members who are connected to your own connections. So by posting an update on a daily basis, you’re expanding the exposure of your brand to your existing network, plus their network too.
Quite simply, this is an incredible opportunity to promote your brand to both your own network and potentially to a huge network of their connections!
Want to try it for yourself? Click the button below to connect with me on LinkedIn now and you’ll automatically be connected to my network of contacts too…
I’ve got an existing network of 2500+ direct connections and a “reach” of over 30,000 people, so this will give you a great headstart if you’re new to LinkedIn!
2 – Use Polls To Increase Engagement
Polls are a simple yet versatile way of gathering useful information from your connections while still keeping them engaged. You can find out all sorts of relevant information about your potential customers – what they would like to learn about your business, information about your connections themselves, or you can use them just as a way of starting the conversation and getting people involved.
3 – Ask Your Network For Feedback
As LinkedIn members are business people themselves, use the opportunity to gather useful and significant feedback. Asking questions which relate directly to your brand can get you some incredibly valuable insights into both how your brand is seen and in learning more about what your potential customers need and want from your products and services. You might be surprised by what you learn.
4 – Raise Your Profile By Sponsoring An Event
Event sponsorship offers the opportunity to meet your LinkedIn contacts in person at local networking events. Within LinkedIn, members of a network can see every single upcoming event other members of the same network are involved in.
You may think your events look so interesting that everyone will want to come to them, but you can’t rely on people being curious enough to come along, because it doesn’t happen that often. You have to MAKE IT HAPPEN – so make sure to send out individual invites to the members of your network in plenty of time and then follow that up with a reminder message shortly before the date of the event.
Don’t just sponsor marketing events either. Getting involved with a charity fundraiser shows others that your business is a caring organisation, concerned about others and not just interested in profit and sales. After the event, publish and send an update with the results of the evening, pictures of people having a good time and a few testimonials from the attendees if at all possible.
Networking With LinkedIn Groups
When first joining any network, it’s only natural to start to connect with the people that you know, but in business you constantly need to be looking for opportunities to increase the number of people you can showcase your business to…
And LinkedIn is PERFECT for that!
As you accept invites from other LinkedIn members, your networking potential and business profile grows. You don’t have to be shy in extending invitations to other members to connect with you either, especially if you think they will compliment your own services, because this is encouraged (and welcomed!) on LinkedIn.
Remember, it’s not just ONE connection you’re making. Connecting with other LinkedIn members also joins you to their network of contacts, growing both your own associated network of contacts and the amount of potential traffic to your LinkedIn business page – which in turn promotes your company website!
Groups are a great way to find and join like minded business people, so look to join various groups associated with different aspects of your own business.
Once you have the confidence, you can take it even further and create your own groups based around topics related to your business or industry. Not only will you be increasing the number of contacts you have, but you will be actively spreading knowledge and awareness of your brand throughout the entire network.
Companies themselves can’t join a LinkedIn group, but individuals can. You could, as the business owner, join yourself, but how much more impressive would it be if some of your employees actively represented your brand within the LinkedIn group discussions and enthusiastically engaged with others on behalf of your brand?
(Think about that for a moment and if you have employees, you should jump on this opportunity right away and actively encourage them to join LinkedIn too!)
To a potential customer, nothing incites more confidence than to hear someone do more than just praise a product, but to give it an outright personal recommendation.
It says more than “I am happy with this product” – it says to someone, “You need to check out this product too. It’s so fantastic that I simply had to tell you about it!”.
Personal and business “recommendations” are a unique feature of LinkedIn which separates it from all of the other social networking websites out there. On LinkedIn these personal recommendations, which are made by both clients and colleagues, allow others to give your business and professionalism a glowing report that then shows up on your profile.
At the same time, you can forge new networking connections and opportunities by recommending the products and services of other members of your network and then using those recommendations to build up your own brand loyalty.
How? Simply by using the recommendation feature yourself to generate a good positive connection with other members of your LinkedIn network.
When looking to recommend someone else’s product or service, you shouldn’t just choose someone who seems to be impressive and then add a standard vague “this product is good” comment. Customers won’t be impressed if there’s no detail and it will simply look like one business doing another business a favour.
You want your recommendations to have merit and value to your customer. You want them to be able to trust what you are telling them, and in turn for it to build confidence in you and your brand, so they will turn to your expertise when they need a product or service. So choose your recommendations wisely.
The other positive result of saying good, encouraging and generally positive things about the products and services of other LinkedIn business members is that they are far more likely to say something similar about you – and that’s okay, too!
Getting Found On LinkedIn
You want your LinkedIn profile to increase your visibility on the Internet and contribute to your rankings in the search engines. By adjusting some of your wording, you can improve the way your profile appears in search results.
- When starting to complete your LinkedIn profile, you should try to keep key industry keywords and buzz terms in mind.
- Inside the ‘Websites’ section, adding keywords to the title descriptions found in the ‘Other’ section will increase your page’s visibility on the search engines.
- Try to subtly add a few key search terms your customers may use when looking for your services, but don’t “stuff” your profile with them as search engines like Google and Bing may penalize you if you overdo it.
- Don’t overlook your URLs. When you join and create your LinkedIn profile and pages, LinkedIn automatically creates the URLs with random numbers not a name, but it’s possible to customise your LinkedIn URLs here.
Change your URLs to something the search engines can pick up on – your name, your job title, your location or your brand. By being creative, you may even be able to get some keywords into your URLs, but again you shouldn’t overdo this.
LinkedIn Statistical Analysis
Studying statistical data may not be everybody’s favourite task, but it gives an impression of how effective your LinkedIn profile is, and within LinkedIn you can get detailed facts and figures on who is visiting your page, how often (or, more worryingly, not) they come, how many times someone clicks through the ‘Product and Services’ tab, which members are following your page, and a whole wealth of other statistics broken down into some very useful charts and reports.
But there are even more opportunities available to businesses on LinkedIn.
For example, the admin of a page can set up customised product and services pages and this means when a visitor comes through to your page, the information shown to them will be tailored to them depending on things like…
- How local they are to your business
- What business or industry they work in
- And what position they hold in their company
Being able to modify information in this way enables you to give other LinkedIn members more relevant, and tailored, information about your business, which in turn leads to you attracting more targetted customers and making more sales!
Networking Your LinkedIn Network
Maximising your brand exposure is a fundamental part of attracting new connections, so the easier you can make it to connect with you the better.
LinkedIn has two easy ways to do this:
1 – The ‘Share’ Button (create your button here)
2 – The ‘Follow Company’ Button (create your button here)By putting this button on your website, it allows your followers to connect with you quickly and they can then track your activity easily and conveniently from within their own LinkedIn profile.
When your articles are informative and useful it encourages others to take your knowledge and expertise to a much wider audience of potential customers.
Using LinkedIn Ads
With a rapidly growing membership base of more than 332 million business professionals worldwide, it would be a serious oversight not to at least consider marketing your business to such a captive audience within LinkedIn.
Not only does LinkedIn offer its business users ad campaigns with a massive audience, the ads themselves are immensely flexible and customisable.
Available as Pay Per Click or Pay Per Impression, the ads can be tailored to an exact audience based on a specific customer demographic like the size of the company, the business area, and occupation, to name just a few factors.
These ads can also be shown on specific pages. So you could target profile pages, company and group pages, member’s inbox or message pages, and more.
There is also a choice of Ad Type:
- Text Link Ads – A static html link to a specific page or place.
- Display Ads – An ad that can be placed throughout the website in a range of shapes and sizes, rather like a classified newspaper ad.
- Content Ads – An ad that lets you stream several types of contend in one organized packet – like video, Twitter, Status updates, etc.
- Social Ads – Social ads are a highly targeted, highly efficient way to sign up fellow LinkedIn members and to encourage them to share your messages and recommend products. They encourage users to take a particular course of action like ‘Follow you’, ‘Recommend your business’ or ‘Join your group’.
This type of targetted approach helps you to get the business information you want to share online to the right sector of your audience – your potential clients!
How To Make LinkedIn Work For You
Do you feel inspired to explore the world of LinkedIn? Or have you previously registered, but didn’t know about many of the features I’ve mentioned here, or perhaps you’ve tried, but haven’t had much marketing success with it?
Well, if you’d like to…
- Successfully network with high-profile individuals
- Drive tons of traffic to your website and get qualified leads
- Stand out from the crowd and start getting job offers
You’ll learn how to do all of that, and more, in the training below…
So many businesses either haven’t used LinkedIn to its full potential, or they simply don’t understand how to make the most of it, and as a result they’re missing out on a lot of potential business and useful connections.
And that’s just plain crazy when it’s such a huge opportunity.
This is the exact same training I took when I only had a handful of contacts and no business coming in from LinkedIn at all. Now I’ve got over 2500 direct connections and a powerful network of contacts that I can tap into whenever I choose.
Check out My Profile if you like (oh, and while you’re there, send me a message to connect too!) and then do yourself a favour and go through the training below…
You’ll learn how to generate floods of targetted traffic from LinkedIn, how to attract high quality clients, how to get found by recruiters and potential business partners and how to boost your brand while forming valuable relationships.
I’ll look forward to hearing your LinkedIn success story next! ;-)All the best,
- Paul Graham
The Digital Marketing Hub
PS - If you enjoyed this article, please share it...