Five Ways to Use LinkedIn to Build Your Business

When you think of social media, you probably think Facebook and Twitter.  For organizations and individuals looking to expand  their businesses, however, LinkedIn can be a valuable social media tool. The professional networking site boasts more than 250 million members, as well as 3 million-plus company web pages.

LinkedIn members tend to be educated and have relatively high incomes. During 2013, the Pew Research Center’s Internet Project conducted research which indicated that 22% of adults who are online use LinkedIn. About 38% of those with incomes of $75,000 or more also use it. Similarly, 38% of online college graduates are LinkedIn users.

Below are five  guidelines that can help organizations and the self-employed build their professional networks and business via LinkedIn.

 

1. Complete Your Profile

This seems like a no brainer, but it’s not unusual to find profiles that are missing key information. A profile should let viewers know what the organization does, the URL of its website, its size and the location of its headquarters. Make sure you include key words that customers would most likely use in their web searches. A Phoenix based marketing company, for instance, may post: “marketing firm based in Phoenix” or something similar.

For the self-employed, an updated, professional headshot and accurate contact information are key to conveying an image of competence and professionalism.  

2. Let Others Know What You’re Up To

Just like Facebook users, LinkedIn members can post updates about their businesses or themselves. The most effective status updates are done regularly and are relevant to the organization’s desired audience — typically, current and prospective customers. For instance, a staffing agency might offer advice for job seekers, while a law firm might link to a recent court ruling. According to LinkedIn, 60% of its members are interested in industry related news and insights.

There is no reason why your posts can’t be both professional in nature and engaging. For example, you might want to highlight a different employee each week. Along with professional qualifications, the post can include several sentences on his or her background and interests.

3. Seek Opportunities to Connect

Networking efforts should include sending invitations to connect via LinkedIn. Along with customers, you can invite current and former employees and business partners to join your network. Your organization’s website should provide easy access to its LinkedIn profile.

4. Join a Group

LinkedIn offers more than 2 million groups, serving everyone from art professionals to zoo administrators. Organizations and individuals that participate in groups specific to their target markets can demonstrate industry knowledge and expertise, engage with customers, and keep tabs on competitors.

Before joining, check the group’s statistics, such as the number of members and their titles. Clicking the “i” on the right hand side of the group’s home page brings up the information page. 

5. Assign Responsibility

It takes time and attention to detail to develop and post new, engaging and relevant information on a regular basis. Designate one or more employees the responsibility for managing your company’s LinkedIn page.

Just like any other social media initiative, the more effort and attention you invest in LinkedIn, the greater the benefit you can derive from it.

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