Written by: Melissa R. MacCaull, Director of Marketing, Union Savings Bank
LinkedIn has long been synonymous with business networking and recruitment – including easy poaching of your valued employees by the competition. The company’s vision from inception has been to “create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce.” But if you’re only using LinkedIn for posting jobs or researching prospective new employees, you’re not fully harnessing the power of this powerful business-first platform.
Here are five steps you can take that will help you make the most of LinkedIn and your professional network to increase brand and product awareness, and ultimately sales.
1. Set Up a Killer Company Page
Most professionals have a LinkedIn profile, but have you set up a separate company page? If not, get to it! LinkedIn’s own how-to content is an excellent guide to what you should pay attention to when creating your business page. You’ll also find examples of successful company pages. You also have LinkedIn Showcase Pages at your disposal. As that name implies, these pages are a terrific opportunity to tell target audiences about your product, services or separate business units. You can add individual logos and banners. Have your elevator pitch ready: you have a mere 200 characters to describe what you’re featuring on each page. Since LinkedIn limits you to 10 showcase pages, you’ll want to choose the ones that will be most relevant to your LinkedIn network.
2. Put Your Finger on the Pulse
Even if you haven’t gotten around to launching a blog on your business website or as a freestanding URL that feeds content to your site, you can easily use LinkedIn’s simple-to-use blogging platform, Pulse. Originally only a select few thought leaders were invited to provide content for Pulse, but it’s open to everyone with a LinkedIn profile these days and you should be making full use of it to self-publish. What type of content should you be posting on Pulse? Thanks to its 500-million-plus members, Pulse content is a big beacon for Google search, so make sure you include a compelling headline and the target keywords and phrases that your customers are using most to find you. To ensure that your post is searchable by specific categories, add appropriate tags to your post. For some great details on how to get the most mileage out of your Pulse post – including how to capitalize on the most popular topics – Marco Saric has compiled a helpful blog on that very topic.
3. Don’t Just Preach to the Choir
You’re undoubtedly already building out your professional network on a daily basis by listening to and contributing to discussions in various LinkedIn Groups. Whether it’s your alumni association or certified professionals from within your industry, Groups are excellent sources for keeping tuned into the issues that impact and shape your business. Use your Groups as a listening post, and develop content that speaks to the most current topics of discussion.
One way to additionally capitalize on the LinkedIn Groups feature is to start your own. Anyone can, and it’s a valuable tactic for business owners who have the time to devote to consistently sharing insights that might be difficult to get – for free – elsewhere. Consider creating a closed group open to only your clients and prospects, then feed the channel with unique content, such as proprietary research or insights from an influencer. For example, tap into your local trade or business school and conduct mini interviews that offer up fresh learnings. You can get more inspiration about how to set up your own Group from the Content Marketing Institute (CMI). Their website is always chock-full of great tips – including t these for how to make the most from Linked In’s Groups feature.
4. Save Your Searches for More Leads
LinkedIn guru Viveka von Rosen speaks, blogs and talks about LinkedIn 24/7 and her various social channels are a great resource for keeping up to speed on how to best optimize LinkedIn (you can also hire her to train you and your team or sign up for online courses). One recent blog struck a big note in my book, since it’s a technique that even prolific LinkedIn users are often unaware of: the importance of saving your LinkedIn searches. As Viveka points out, one several powerful benefits of saving your search is that LinkedIn will send you a regular email listing the LinkedIn members who match your specific search algorithm. For sales professionals, it’s a valuable stream of new leads, but this tactic also helps – for example – anyone looking for new donors, sponsors, new hires and more.
5. Invest in Your LinkedIn Footprint
Have you added LinkedIn share buttons to your website and other self-published content? Are you distributing content you post on Pulse through Twitter, Facebook and other social media channels? If you’re taking advantage of all the “free” ways to maximize your LinkedIn pages, you might want to invest in other applications that help spread the good word. LinkedIn launched Elevate last year for companies that want to tap into their greatest brand ambassadors and advocates: employees. While there are various independent platforms and apps that accomplish the same thing, Elevate offers up a seamless solution (at a cost) that helps schedule and deliver sharable content to your team. They are, after all, your very best referral network
If you’re in the business of helping your enterprise grow, make sure that LinkedIn is an everyday part of your professional life. Get started by reading this in-depth how-to piece from the marketing experts at HubSpot – then get to work building out your LinkedIn presence.