It’s a community of over 300 million professionals in 150 industries worldwide – many of whom make key decisions for their companies. And it offers unique tools for reaching the key people on your business radar. Invest a little time in mastering this leading B2B platform and you’ll reap some unique returns. Here are seven steps to help you get started on LinkedIn or enhance your current experience there.
- The Company Page
- Content is Key
- Update and Target
- Win the Search Game with Optimization
- Build a Following
- Use Metrics to Measure Your Company Page’s Performance
- Get Known as an Expert
If you own or manage a company, this page is your storefront, your business card. It communicates the essence of your brand and tells your corporate story. Through it, you can connect to your network of current and potential customers and keep your organization top of mind through updates to your page. Through LinkedIn’s search function, other members can find your products or services easily.
Your success depends on strong content that describes what you do and why you’re unique. This content should be succinct and share-able. Every time a visitor engages with your content by sharing it with followers, your message is amplified, your reach extended and your profile raised.
What makes content share-able? Useful information – tips, trends, offers – will likely be shared. If that useful information is paired with an interesting visual, the likelihood of sharing increases. Include video demos, case studies, free downloads, white papers, e-books on your company page. What’s not likely to get shared are promotional posts (unless they are very entertaining ads). This doesn’t mean that you can never be self-promotional on your page. You will want to make new product announcements, for example, and include client endorsements or testimonials. Be guided by the 80/20 rule that says 80 percent of your content should be informational, and only 20 percent promotional.
You’ve created a great page, but now the work is just beginning. To keep it effective, you need to continue posting regularly, at least a couple of times a week. This keeps you and/or your company alive on the pages of your followers and keeps your own page looking active and current. Where will you get enough content? First, remember that quality of content is more important than quantity. One substantive post is better than five spammy ones. Consider a tip of the day or a comment on industry news, preferably in the morning when LinkedIn members are most engaged. Share a post from a follower or comment on an interesting article and include its link. Share relevant comments from your page or share a post from a thought leader. Pull in content from your company or personal blog or Twitter feed. Invite reviews of your products/services. Start conversations by replying to comments. Or post a provocative question to your followers (their answers might make great future posts). You’ve got more content resources than you think you have.
Optimize your LinkedIn company or personal page just as you do your website, seeding keywords throughout your text. These keywords will point LinkedIn members searching those terms to your page. The Google search bots also scan LinkedIn pages. Select a word or phrase that describes your core offering: “copyright attorney,” “online security software,” “commercial real estate management.” Then add a few variants or use a few of the key words on your website. Incorporate keywords into your main description and repeat them frequently in the first paragraphs of the descriptive text and in sub-heads.
What’s a LinkedIn page without followers? Expand yours by constantly reminding your contacts of your LinkedIn presence. Put the “Follow Me” button on all your outreach content: website, blog, all social media, corporate stationery and business cards, print ads and collateral, annual reports and in the email signature block of your entire staff. Mention your page via your social media accounts. Call attention to your latest LinkedIn posts on your blog. Invite your customers, partners and prospects to follow you. If you have a company page, encourage your staff to have personal LinkedIn pages. Personal pages have automatic links to the member’s company pages, giving you amplified exposure to the networks of your team.
If you use Google Analytics for your website, you know how useful performance metrics can be. LinkedIn’s analytic system will deliver the same type of data for your company page. Review these reports regularly and revise your content according to the keywords, visuals and topics commanding the most engagement. Among other valuable feedback, these stats will also give you a picture of visitor demographics and provide you with a comparison of your page vs. others in your industry or market.
LinkedIn is known for its discussion groups, where business people and professionals “meet” to exchange advice and share information and ideas. There are over 2 million of these, covering thousands of industries and special interests. Participation is limited to individuals, so you can’t join a group or comment as a company, but your executives can join and comment from their own pages. Encourage their participation in relevant groups to build your company’s name and reputation through the expertise of your management.
Thought-leader status is earned by consistent participation and a helpful attitude. Answer questions, share experiences, but DON’T sell or promote your products/services overtly. Your expertise and attitude will drive customers your way, not your sales pitch.
Don’t miss out on LinkedIn. Get more active, using the seven tips above. Once you engage with this unique platform, you’ll find you can’t do without it.