From Facebook to Instagram to Snapchat to Pinterest, people everywhere are spending more and more time on social media platforms to engage with their favorite brands. But what about LinkedIn? Is it even social media or is it a tool for businesses? Simply put, the answer is yes…to both. LinkedIn tends to stick to the true essence of what social media was intended for which was social networking. With about 240 million LinkedIn users and about 200 conversations going on each minute, businesses and individuals connect with each other based on professional standards to foster relationships to enhance business activities. This is all well and good, but what does this mean for your business? The following 4 steps will provide you with a foundation that will support you as you try to grow your business with LinkedIn through lead generation, strategic positioning, and expanding your spheres of influence.
Step 1: Define Yourself and Maximize Presence
It might seem like a no-brainer but make sure you have a completed profile. Create and claim your company page and populate it with the appropriate information so people understand exactly what your company provides. Add a company description that is clear and concise, making it easy for people to determine whether or not they should connect with you. Be honest, this is sometimes the first interaction people have with your company and first impressions are important. The great thing about LinkedIn is the fact that people are perusing stories and articles that pertain to business, so being the most popular isn’t always the goal. The goal is to connect with people on a professional level and establish a connection that provides each party with an increased network of like-minded business people.
It goes farther than just creating a profile on LinkedIn to start generating the growth you’re looking for. As you fill in the different fields about your company, optimize your profile to show up in search results through the use of keywords, just as you would for any web page for google. Put these keywords throughout your profile to make your company easily discoverable by people who are searching for items related to your industry. This is the first step to grow your business with LinkedIn as it establishes your company’s identity and makes it easy for people to find you in a relevant manner.
Step 2: Engage and Connect
Now that you’ve created your profile, it’s time to make your profile worth viewing. After all, anyone can just go to your website and see what the company is all about. LinkedIn’s purpose is to provide your followers with industry or company updates that aren’t really “worthy” of being posted on your formal website. Post and share articles that peaked your interest. If it was interesting to you, chances are that someone else in your industry will think so as well.
It doesn’t stop at sharing articles. Use images and videos to grab people’s attention and draw them in to your profile. The human mind processes visual content 60,000 times faster than text, so utilizing effective visual techniques on your profile will only further grab users’ attentions easier and faster. Create content that keeps users on their toes and gives them a reason to check your profile again in a day or two.
Another great way to engage and connect with your followers is to create a targeted group in which you regularly post to. LinkedIn notes that companies that post at least 20 times per month reach at least 60% of their audience. Groups typically have higher engagement metrics and will increase numbers due to the increased relevance. The posts don’t need to be earth-shattering, but anything that pokes and prods at the minds of professionals in the same industry will establish your company as a thought leader. This will also increase word-of-mouth publicity and shares among your follower’s networks, thus growing your network in return.
Step 3: Attract
This is where the real magic happens. If you’ve properly created and optimized your profile, and continually post and engage with your followers, interests coincide and networks merge. That doesn’t mean there isn’t work to be done, you can always work harder to attract more followers. Set up a plan that utilizes your engaging content and puts it out there for the world to see. Send invitations and make sure your coworkers have their current positions listed at your organization. Don’t be shy; send invitations to other thought leaders and business associates that are actively involved within the industry to let them know you’ve created a company profile. Direct traffic to your company profile from your websites and emails. Any digital touchpoint can potentially lead to a connection on LinkedIn, so why not create the opportunity?
Establishing an edge creatively is also a great way to attract followers to your company’s LinkedIn profile. The great thing about quality content is that it has the potential to reach your network’s networks. Repeat your message, tell your story, and share your expertise with your company’s personality to position your company as a thought leader and innovator in the minds of your followers.
To do this effectively, the content must be targeted and relevant to your followers. Yes, a video of cats chasing laser pointers is great, but if they’re looking for a blog on building your link portfolio, the content means absolutely nothing to them. Share a common interest with your followers to establish a medium in which to communicate. This gains follower buy-in by making it relevant to their situation and automatically peaks their interest about whatever it is you’re posting about. If your content appeals to your network, chances are it will appeal to the networks of those who follow you which will in turn push your content in front of the masses.
Another common, and very effective way to increase your presence and attract followers on LinkedIn is with targeted advertising, or sponsoring an update. This provides companies with the ability to put quality content in front of non-followers. Just because they’re not followers of your company profile (yet) doesn’t mean this is a total shot in the dark. Ads can be targeted by location, industry, as well as job functions to provide users with a relevant, valuable content without wasting ad spend on irrelevant users.
Step 4: Measure and Improve
All the above will mean nothing if you don’t measure what you’ve done. Using the analytics tab, you can see which posts had the most impressions, clicks, and interactions. This lets you see what hits home for your followers and what you could probably do without. Look for patterns and modify your plans in the future to promote what people like to increase your presence. Check out who your followers are and thank them for any recommendations they might have made. Connect with them in a personalized way that shows gratitude and optimism for the potential business that might be had between the two of you.
You can also see how much referral traffic your website gets from your LinkedIn profile, giving you a visual understanding of how LinkedIn stacks up against other social media platforms in driving traffic to your website. Check your advertising performance and how well each ad influenced users to follow your company. If they did follow, how often do they engage with your content? Did you make an effort to connect with them personally? All of these are ways to measure and improve your efforts to grow your business on LinkedIn while positively reinforcing your company’s brand.
LinkedIn serves as an invaluable medium of communication for businesses and businesspeople around the world. Through creative content, common business interests, and overlapping networks LinkedIn provides companies with great opportunities to grow in a way that positively combines organizational goals with individual career goals, thus creating mutually beneficial business relationships. LinkedIn is an integral part of social media marketing campaigns for companies across the globe for a good reason. It sticks to business and cuts out the personal aspects that other social media platforms promote. It allows companies to post to a business environment rather than constantly trying to appeal and sell to only consumers.
Grow your business with LinkedIn by creating an optimized presence with relevant and engaging content that attracts users to your page to create unique, invaluable relationships with businesses and individuals actively involved in the market. Measure the results and constantly make changes that reflect your measurements and your company will establish itself as a leader in the LinkedIn world.