You’ve probably heard of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram in the social media world.
However, LinkedIn is often overlooked in favor of other platforms when it comes to building relationships with customers or potential hires. LinkedIn can be a powerful social media tool for not only business-to-consumer interactions but also business-to-business interactions. Whether you’re trying to recruit new employees or sell your products and services to consumers LinkedIn can help make connections with people who really want what your company has to offer!
To Start, what is LinkedIn?
LinkedIn is like Twitter for professionals. It’s primarily used as a social media platform to build relationships with other professionals in your industry. It has recently started to become more of an advertising platform but it is still primarily useful for LinkedIn user interactions.
LinkedIn uses the word “connections” instead of “friends”. This is intentional because LinkedIn users are less interested in sharing what they had for dinner and more interested in connecting with professionals who can help them further their careers or build successful businesses. You can search LinkedIn by profile name, company name, or even industry type, to find people that you could connect with who have something to offer you.
In order to use LinkedIn effectively, you’ll need a LinkedIn account. Linkedin offers a free subscription. They also offer paid subscriptions. LinkedIn is now the most popular social media platform for recruiters according to LinkedIn. LinkedIn’s paid subscription options also offer other analytics tools. For finding new leads for your business, we recommend using LinkedIn Sales Navigator. As of now, you can get a 30-day free trial to any of the paid versions of LinkedIn.
To create a LinkedIn profile, use the following steps:
Sign up for LinkedIn. The basic LinkedIn account is free and will allow you to get started. You can look to sign up for a premium profile later on if it’s needed
Include a professional photo for your LinkedIn profile – this makes it easier for LinkedIn members to identify you or others that they may know in the professional world. In addition, if you’re worried about people you don’t know seeing your photo, LinkedIn allows you to control who can view your image.
Fill out all information as completely as possible. This includes work history, education, skills and anything else you think is relevant to you. I recommend adding in at least one personal detail about you – after all, we are humans outside of the office. For your about section, make sure to write it in first person and include a call to action based upon what you want people to do next. Do you want them to book a call with you? Do you want them to go to your landing page? Tell them and don’t assume they know!
Create a custom banner. This can be branded to your company and share your value proposition.
How to Use LinkedIn to Grow Your Business
Once you’ve created an account, there are several ways that LinkedIn can help you grow your business. These are just a few of the ways you can use it to grow your business. There are many others.
1.) LinkedIn offers free advertising options
2.) LinkedIn Groups allow for group discussions between professionals in industries relevant to yours at no cost
3.) LinkedIn Company Pages give your company credibility among consumers and industry professionals alike
4.) LinkedIn lets users know what your company is up to with LinkedIn Pulse
5.) LinkedIn lets LinkedIn users subscribe to LinkedIn Publications that you publish
6) LinkedIn allows one to host events.
Let’s break down these points. First, LinkedIn offers free advertising options. How might you ask? A few ways –
- Your personal profile and your company profile. Both are virtual billboards.
- Content. You can publish endless content that is distributed out to thousands of users without paying a dime. See more on this below.
- Ability to connect and message with others. Think about all the relationships you can build on LinkedIn and what that means for you and your business.
Second, LinkedIn Groups allow for group discussions between professionals in industries relevant to yours at no cost. There are tons of groups available on LinkedIn. Do a quick search for a group at the top of the page and you’re sure to find a group of interest.
Third, LinkedIn Company Pages give your company credibility among consumers and industry professionals alike. Consider sharing content on this page and inviting others to follow along.
Fourth, LinkedIn lets users know what your company is up to with LinkedIn Pulse. LinkedIn Pulse allows you to share articles from around the web that are relevant to your LinkedIn connections which also helps gain exposure for your business among LinkedIn users.
Fifth, LinkedIn lets LinkedIn users subscribe to LinkedIn Publications that you publish – publications can be the publishing of blog posts written by you or other employees which creates a cyclical effect of more content published, more readers gained, more awareness generated, and increased revenue potential. You can also create newsletters that you can invite others to subscribe to.
Sixth, LinkedIn allows you to host events. These can be live, virtual events. They recently added an audio version for events that have just begun rolling out. The events allow you to invite your followers and connections to join and then you can connect with them in real-time.
How to create content on LinkedIn:
As promised above, more on creating content on LinkedIn. If you want to share your knowledge on LinkedIn, you need to do more than just post links back to your blog or website. Using images can help increase the popularity of your posts. It’s important to note that stories are what will really help your content succeed. Consider sharing stories about your personal journey, working with clients, and how it’s going at your company.
Further, consider using video content as well. We have an article here all about how to create video content.
Finally, you’ll want to have a schedule to create content. Don’t worry, we also have an article all about how you can create a rocking content schedule.
Engagement and Relationships on LinkedIn
This section is one of the most important sections of the entire blog. Social media is meant to be social. For LinkedIn to help you achieve your goals, you have to be willing to be social and engage with others on the platform. Consider how you can engage with others through direct messages, on their content, etc. This is a step that many leave out of their process, and a key reason why social media doesn’t lead to the results one is looking for.
Building real, genuine relationships will set you up for success. You must invest energy into building and nurturing these relationships.
Watch Out For These LinkedIn Mistakes
Mistake 1: Sending impersonal direct messages.
- Always write geuine messages
- Spend some time researching people and asking questions. Show you care and want to get to know people.
- Consider using voice messaging. These are quick and will make you stand out!
Mistake 2: Creating content that is just about your business. Having promotional content from time to time is fine, but think about educating, entertaining, or sharing stories with your audience. At the end of the day, be a human.
Mistake 3: Failing to engage with others on the platform whether that be through content, messages, etc. As discussed above, you must engage with others. Comment on others’ content. Reply to people’s comments. Send personalized messages.
Mistake 4: Make sure you maximize your profile. This includes your profile picture, headline, and bio. For the headline, be specific about who you help and how you help them. For the bio, focus on the problem you solve and the solution you provide. Also, make sure you gather some reviews on your profile.
To wrap it up
This article is just scratching the surface on how LinkedIn can be beneficial but it should give you some ideas on ways that LinkedIn could improve your business. LinkedIn can be used as a free marketing tool, or LinkedIn may be leveraged to grow your business with LinkedIn paid subscriptions and/or advertising.
One of our favorite apps for LinkedIn reporting is Shield. It is very powerful when it comes to reviewing your content posted on LinkedIn and seeing what types of content really interest your followers.
Now over to you… Do you use LinkedIn? If not, why? What is holding you back? What do you think of LinkedIn now after reading this article?
If you need help with LinkedIn or your marketing, schedule a time to chat.