August 13, 2015
LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional social network with over 350 million members. But the platform is not just for business professionals or job seekers. Much like Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, the social platform can be utilized to help grow brand awareness and businesses. The rules to the game, however, are a bit different than the other social networks.
With other community portals, businesses have direct access to market to consumers through status updates or various posts where products or services can be easily promoted. On LinkedIn this type of advertising is frowned upon, which makes things a bit more challenging. But despite this fact, LinkedIn is without a doubt just as valuable for expanding a business’s reach and overall awareness. It’s all in how you leverage its tools and features.
To you help get the most out of your LinkedIn profile and bolster your company’s recognition, here are 4 tips for making LinkedIn a powerful promotion tool:
1. Complete Your Profile
No matter what social network is being discussed, it is highly imperative that you have a complete and professional profile. A profile that has fields missing, no profile picture, or less than articulate language will not gain much traction. Not only that, but each time you log onto LinkedIn the site will automatically prompt you to complete your incomplete profile, so there is no excuse for an incomplete page.
Also, the “professional headline” section should not simply list your job title. This section should be utilized to describe the types of problems you or your company are capable of solving; this allows anyone who is searching for a person or business with said skills to be led directly to you.
It is also highly advisable to customize your profile’s URL. The default URL is simply a mix of numbers and letters which is not exactly memorable or easy to find. By customizing the URL, your page will appear more professional and will be easier for others to remember and share. Yes, SEO still matters, even on LinkedIn.
2. Target High Profile Connections
Adding connections to your network should be your first priority in developing business relationships on the site. Start by creating your base, which should be comprised of individuals you already know (such as classmates, colleagues, friends, and clients). Once your foundation has been established, start connecting with relevant professionals within your niche. Seek out high profile figures in your field and begin to build relationships with those folks. You will also want to connect with individuals that are not only within your target audience but who are also ideal clients for your business.
There are a few different ways that these connections can be established. First, LinkedIn’s free service plan allows for generic connection requests to be sent, however, these should be always be personalized. Do not rely on the standard LinkedIn language; people will assume you’re just trolling for connections unless you make it personal.
It could be fruitful to introduce yourself and mention something that you both have in common such as a group that you each subscribe to, but do not make any sort of pitch. Doing so will most likely end in rejection.
Second, LinkedIn offers a paid premium service that provides information about individuals who have viewed your profile, advanced search filters, as well as an InMail system that authorizes targeted and personalized messages to be sent directly to LinkedIn inboxes. This can be quite valuable for anyone who is serious about taking your connection strategy up to the next level.
3. Generate and Post Valuable Content
This should go without saying. No matter what corner of the internet you may find yourself in, content is king, and LinkedIn is no different. By posting truly exciting and useful content, you will begin to establish yourself as an expert on certain subjects. As you continue to provide value and insight to your network and community, your content will gain momentum, increased visibility, and your brand will ultimately grow. Key features of great content on LinkedIn are no different than anywhere else; working headlines, original and useful, includes visuals, and relevant to your audience. There are a myriad of great content creation tools available online so it shouldn’t be too difficult to meet that criteria.
4. Join In on the Conversation
According to Forbes, 35.5 percent of users are in 1-9 groups. By joining various groups and posting the valuable content you create to these collectives, you can establish yourself as a thought leader on certain subjects and grow your brand exponentially.
Research various groups that would be within your target audience and designate a specific amount of time each week to post, participate, and engage with these groups. Offer advice and insights, and connect with those that ask questions directly through their inbox. The more personable you get, the larger and tighter your network will become.
As one of the largest social networks on the planet today, LinkedIn provides businesses massive opportunities for increasing brand awareness, loyalty, and providing value to communities. By embracing these 4 pieces of advice, your network is sure to grow and in no time flat, you can establish yourself as a thought leader within your industry.
How has your LinkedIn profile benefited your business? What are some other steps you have taken on the social platform to increase your network and brand awareness?
Digital producer, online marketer, community manager, and multi-faceted writer Tina Courtney-Brown has been managing cross-functional teams for online businesses since 1996. Tina has assisted many clients in maximizing online production and marketing efforts, and is a staff writer for SiteProNews, one of the Web’s foremost webmaster and tech news blogs. She’s produced and marketed innovative content for major players like Disney and JDate, as well as boutique startups galore, with fortes including social media, SEO, massively multiplayer games, community management, social networks, and project management. Tina is also a certified Reiki practitioner, herbalist, nonprofit director and spiritual counselor. Learn more at her personal website, or find her on Facebook and Google+.