At the most basic level, LinkedIn is a social network for businesses and professionals. It is a place for those within an industry to connect, to find high quality content in their field, and enjoy great conversations that tie into but are not about work.
This makes LinkedIn an ideal network for many people to grow and develop their small business networks. But what do you need to do to make your signal stand out from the noise?
1. Thought Leadership
LinkedIn is a great opportunity for businesses to let their content marketing really take hold. This platform is all about conversations happening between professionals, so if you are able to distinguish yourself here as an expert who knows what is going on in the industry, you’ll be leaps and bounds ahead of the competition when it comes to business partners and intercompany relationships.
Remember that great thought leadership isn’t just about standing on the mountaintop proclaiming The Truth, it is also about engaging with others in the industry, boosting their signals, and talking about their interests and expertise.
2. Start Conversations
Don’t be passive on social media. Write blog posts, share them in groups, start threads, comment on other people’s activity. You can’t build connections without talking to people, and you can’t talk to people if you’re not engaged and active on social media. You want to get people to know your name, and so you need to have something to say.
3. Intensely Target Your Advertising
One of the great features for advertising on LinkedIn is how intensely you can target your advertising demographics. Understand exactly who you want to work with, and then target those customers.
For example, you might want business owners whose companies have less than 100 employees and who are geographically close to you. Easy peasy!
4. Grow Your Email List
Social media is great, but you should always be using it as a pipeline for building a customer list of which you have total ownership. Blogs disappear, social networks fold, and platforms can suddenly decide to delete your information. Having your list in your possession means that even if all of that happens, you can still connect to your customers. This is absolutely key in the digital age.
5. Get Your Employees Engaged
If your company is on LinkedIn, getting your employees engaged and active on the platform as well is a great idea. Make sure they understand how to act in a professional environment, and be very clear that they are expected to be company representatives on the boards or in private conversations.
But seeing a company that has a wide variety of high level personnel active says something positive about a business. This is especially true when departments heads and corner suite owners are all active contributors to blogs and groups.
Remember, after all, that many prospective employees research companies on social networks like LinkedIn long before they decide to apply. Consider yourself and your employees ambassadors for the way your business does things, your company culture, and what is out there and available at your business.
6. Stay Active In Groups
Groups are a key feature of LinkedIn, along with sharing your blogs and other content. Groups allow you to connect with other professionals in your industry, or partnered with your industry. This lets you ask questions of others in your field, connect with mentors or offer mentorship to someone else, and might even give you a great connection to a new business partner.
You can and should also start groups that focus on your business, if they don’t already exist. Giving interested parties a way to learn more about your company on a professional platform is always a good idea.
LinkedIn is a great resource for professionals from around the world. With the Microsoft acquisition of LinkedIn last year, users have seen a dramatic change in how the platform handles a number of features, but changes have been positive. The site is more streamlined, less cluttered, and more easily separated into its component parts.
As your company grows, its LinkedIn presence can also grow, creating more opportunities for owners, executives, and employees. You can advertise on LinkedIn, but make sure to use the free tools as well. Research potential employees and partners, speak about goings-on in your company and your industry, and join conversations. Make sure any ads you place are targeted well, and that you’re getting what you want from your media presence.
How has your company used social media platforms like LinkedIn to grow their business?