While there are a number of social media platforms to consider, one that cannot be ignored is LinkedIn. While it might not suit every business, it has a lot to offer the majority of businesses in terms of marketing and exposure.
With more than 575 million users no one can dispute the power and potential of this platform. Two hundred million active users regularly check in and if your brand or company is not there, with a powerful and significant presence, you are missing out on valuable opportunities.
While many still perceive it as a “job” platform, and that certainly is a big part of it, it is much bigger than that and has a lot to offer your company or brand. Only, however, if used correctly. It is significantly more effective at generating leads than Facebook and Twitter combined. That is an important part of your online marketing mix that needs to be exploited to maximum effect.
If you are more familiar with Facebook and other social media platforms, LinkedIn will take some adjustment. The effort, will, however, be worth the time and effort spent. It is a powerful and popular platform and LinkedIn posts tend to have greater results and higher credibility than many other platforms.
It leans far more towards the professional user than other platforms where we often sift through purely social or trivial content. LinkedIn is about business and if you are in business you need to be there.
Here are a few ways to achieve this effectively:
Create a professional profile
As you would with any marketing effort, your LinkedIn profile needs to be perfect. Stick to your branding and retain consistency. You need to portray the same image across all platforms that link to your main website and other online marketing efforts.
Invest some time and effort in creating an outstanding LinkedIn page. It is important. If you do not have the time or skills in-house, you can always outsource this service. Social media is a significant aspect of digital marketing and LinkedIn is important. Treat it as such.
The first step is to ensure your profile is complete. LinkedIn, as a platform, as well as online viewers will not respect an incomplete profile. This step is essential. In terms of search success on LinkedIn, complete profile will have a success rate 20 times greater than companies with incomplete profiles so make this your first priority.
You can always tweak it and update it later but get it right and complete from the start.
Here are a few quick tips on getting your profile right:
- Use great images – Do not use poor quality images to portray yourself or your company. People will pass over poor images in favor of better ones. If you do not have a quality profile picture, invest in one from a professional. You can use it multiple platforms and the money spent will be well worth it.
- Create a great background – This will make your profile stand out. The cover or banner you use is an important aspect of your profile so get it right.Be clear and specific on your business – Remember your branding and consistency. Be bold and clear in branding your LinkedIn profile. Your profile is an essential aspect of your online brand identity so ensure it is good quality.
- Be clear and specific on who and what you or your company does.
- You have 2000 characters to define the business so use them wisely. This is a critical part of your profile so be clear, concise and informative.
Always be active
LinkedIn is not a static movement and with the vast amount of users, you need to work it if you expect to get results. You need to actively seek relevant connections and keep in contact with them. You also need to post regularly. Informative and engaging content will keep your existing audience interested and attracts shares, likes, and more followers. Poor content will get you nowhere fast.
Engage with your followers with unique content that adds value to them and your following will grow exponentially. Once there is engagement and a conversation, make every effort to keep it going.
Find new followers
Organic growth is awesome and the ultimate goal. Sometimes, however, you have to work for it. This is especially true in the beginning. You need to find quality, relevant LinkedIn users and attract them to your page. Seek out the relevant people, engage with them and invite them to follow your LinkedIn page. This will connect you not only to them but to all of their followers as well. That is the exponential value of LinkedIn. This will create amazing opportunities to network with large numbers of LI users.
Having a large number of followers also improves your chances of ranking on LinkedIn making your profile more likely to be found and seen.
Post great content
Yes, by now you have all heard the cliché. “Content is king”. It is relevant because there is a lot of truth in the statement. You need to post quality content often. The important thing to remember is not to post and forget. Follow and engage with anyone that comments on your feeds.
With so many users on LinkedIn, it is a challenge to be noticed. This will mean some creative thinking. Images, pictograms, and particularly videos are highly effective.
Endorse, recommend and share
The nature of social media means that it is a two-way street. The more you endorse (only quality and credible content) the more traffic and engagement you will get on your site. The people that you share or endorse will often reciprocate. If both parties have quality content this could result in a great win-win situation. Do not overdo it and only support relevant quality content.
Recommendations and endorsements from followers will boost your profile, status, and credibility. Do not ignore them and let them work to your advantage.
If you do not have enough recommendations or reviews, you might need to ask for them. Select the people you know, value and appreciate your work and will give you a glowing review. Again, there is nothing wrong with asking for something from someone you have a good working relationship with. You might well reciprocate giving both parties an advantage.
Work the groups
LinkedIn groups are a powerful tool and you need to find them, understand them and use them. These groups allow you to connect and engage with people interested in your business or industry. The ultimate goal is to develop yourself into a thought-leader. This will not only improve your credibly further but allow you to create a great following of fans that want to read your responses and answers. It is a powerful position to be in on LinkedIn.
This takes some time and effort but is well worth it. Search for groups and get involved. Provide valuable responses and you will get traction. Not only that but it will also give you insight into what people are asking or thinking about which will give you great inspiration for your own original posts.
Do not overdo the self-promotion aspect. The idea is to become a guide and subtly introduce your business or company. You need to be clever about it.
Create LinkedIn specific content
Not all social media platforms are the same. LinkedIn has a distinct audience and style and you need to adapt your content accordingly. What might work on a Facebook page or other media will not necessarily get the same results on LI. Keep this in mind.
Your content needs to solve a problem or at the very least, inform and educate the reader. It has to be unique. No one wants to read a rehashed version of another article. Help your reader and they will love you.
Sharing is caring
If you see quality content that is not promotional or from a direct competitor, share. This will give you valuable content that is helpful to your audience without costing you money or time. Be selective and again, don’t overdo it. When done wisely, this can be a major boost to your LinkedIn profile.
Timing is essential to the effectiveness of this technique. Many posts will be old or irrelevant even a few days after the first post. It is important to respond quickly.
Respect your followers
Etiquette and professionalism are essential on LinkedIn. The same applies to all social media. Upset your followers and you face disaster. Your reputation is everything and an online reputation is fragile. Handle comments and complaints with great care, respond politely and act promptly.
Yes, there will be negative people but you have to deal with them appropriately. Do not make the situation worse by retaliating or defending. Try, wherever possible, to take the conversation offline.
A previously unhappy client could easily become your greatest fan is treated right.
Keep it short and sweet
There is so much content on LinkedIn which is only one of many platforms most people follow. Lengthy posts will get less attention and reach than short sharp posts that get straight to the point. Do not try long elaborate stories but go for regular punchy posts.
Reuse your content
Great content is time-consuming and often expensive. If you have had some great posts in the past, there is nothing wrong with updating them, adding a few new points and posting again. This is a great way to improve reach and get a good message across.
Involve colleagues and staff
Work with the people that you know and appreciate your business. Encourage your staff and colleagues to engage on LinkedIn. Set some boundaries as you do not want drama on your page but the interaction of your coworkers can significantly boost your site.
With the right protocols in place, this is a powerful way to improve the reach and impact of your LinkedIn page.
LinkedIn is a powerful social media platform that has a lot to offer to businesses of all sizes. It cannot be ignored. It is a cost-effective and important part of your overall online marketing strategy.
The sooner you start the better. The above tips will give you some guidance in making your LinkedIn profile more effective and powerful.