December 14, 2010
As consumers continue to flock to social media websites, marketers recognize the importance of attracting and retaining those users. One of the challenges facing companies today is how to enhance their LinkedIn company profiles.
LinkedIn has grown from a startup company to over 33 million members in the United States and over 80 million registered users worldwide. The recent economic downturn has also boosted the amount of individuals and companies that have turned to LinkedIn for networking opportunities. LinkedIn company profiles now provide a wide variety of tools to help your organization improve business networking opportunities.
Here are a few tools and tips on how to get started:
Build a Business Profile
Setting up a business profile is relatively easy, you start by setting up your personal profile.
As a registered user you now have the option of creating your company profile. A LinkedIn company profile can help foster a network to support your company’s exposure online. LinkedIn developed company profiles initially to help boost the exposure of businesses looking to promote and recruit candidates. Initially, company profiles were designed as a way to receive an information stream from the company – today they offer a number of new and more powerful features. Users also have the ability to browse your online statistics, such as employee job functions, educational degrees and years of experience.
Another practical advantage of a company profile is that it will ultimately show up in your company’s organic search engine results. Users will be directed to a company profile page and can follow your company if they too are registered LinkedIn users.
Engage Users with Thought Leadership
As an expert in your field, you probably spend a good amount of time engaging friends, prospects, and colleagues in conversation. Take that conversation online by providing relevant, up-to-date information using LinkedIn Groups. LinkedIn Groups cover thousands of topics with millions of members sharing stories or asking and answering questions. LinkedIn Groups are organized by specific topics and geographical areas and self moderated by members. In order to join a LinkedIn Group you must request access or be approved by the forum moderator. Forums offer professionals the ability to interconnect on topics and provide focused networking opportunities.
Participating within a group is as easy as sharing a news story or responding to questions or authoring original content to share. Your involvement gives users a better understanding of your expertise in a particular area. The result is an ability to help members and expand your professional following.
Connect with Existing Users
Once you have a business profile completed, get found on LinkedIn by mining your existing connections and adding new members to your profile. One of the most effective tools is the free LinkedIn Outlook Toolbar which scans your Outlook files and imports your contacts automatically. The software easily installs into your Outlook email client and automatically scans your inboxes and folders for possible LinkedIn connections. After it completes running its search it gives you the option to connect with those users. The toolbar is free and is available on LinkedIn’s website.
Another easy way to promote your involvement is to enable the Twitter connection within your individual profile. (Currently company profiles don’t have ability to assign a company Twitter account) You can tweet your company profile from your individual profile to help build awareness and attract your Twitter followers.
Promote your Company’s Services
One of the newest features in LinkedIn’s company profiles is Services. The Services tab allows businesses to promote products or services by completing a questionnaire for each item with the option of uploading a corresponding image. Users within your network can also recommend and share your services with others.
In addition to free profiles, LinkedIn also offers DirectAds, paid advertising that is displayed on the LinkedIn website as rectangular advertisements or text link advertisements. Similar to search engine pay-per-click advertising, you select the word or phrase you want your ad to correspond to and your budget for each word or campaign.
Market Your Involvement
Market your involvement on LinkedIn by including links, logos, and commentary to highlight your company’s activity. A visitor browsing your website may not be interested in filling out a contact form, but a well-placed LinkedIn logo may give that visitor a more appealing way to follow your company.
In addition to offering the company’s badges, consider incorporating your company’s recent job openings to take advantage of the sites job seekers. Adding a job position isn’t free but if you’re looking to attract high quality candidates, LinkedIn offers a number of tools to help target your prospects in real-time.
Getting a good LinkedIn company profile is essential for anyone who desires to have a successful social media strategy. Hence, it is important to take advantage of all the best tools available.
Adam Aloi is a B2B marketing expert with more than 10 years’ success in generating demand and creating buzz for leading technology, consumer products, financial services and professional services organizations. Visit Alliance Interactive strategic marketing and web design services at: www.allianceinteractive.