Think of LinkedIn as a virtual business card.
Did you know that 80% of small business owners, with 200 or fewer employees, use social networks to find new customers and grow their revenue? Many of them leverage LinkedIn. In fact a recent Wall Street Journal study indicated that 41% of small businesses feel that LinkedIn provides them the most potential to generate business. If you are struggling to understand how you should leverage LinkedIn as part of your business strategy here are 8 ways to improve the way you use this social media tool.
- Credibility: Your LinkedIn profile is one of the first things that pops up when you search your name. In fact when I search my name, it IS the first thing that pops up on Google Search. If you are thinking of making a big purchase, or signing a large contract wouldn’t you want to look that person up and find out what they are all about? LinkedIn is a great way to highlight your professional prowess. It is the place to gather work history, references, and learn more about a person on a professional level.
- Publishing: LinkedIn is becoming more and more of an editorial and publishing channel. It has the ability for you to publish content right onto your page. When used correctly it can be a great tool for business to highlight your knowledge and build credibility in your field. Unlike a blog that may have multiple writers, attaching samples of your knowledge base to your professional profile is helpful in identifying who you are, and your personal brand.
- Leverage Your Employees: Small businesses who leverage the reach of their employees to help spread the word about products and promotions as well as news and events. If your employees have a large reach to your target audience it is a great way to reach them in a more organic way, rather than paying for ads. Dell reported that only about 8% of a company page overlaps with their employees followers. Develop a best practice for your employees to help deploy campaigns to a larger audience.
- Get Recommendations: 86% of US consumers are influenced by recommendations. That isn’t JUST related to your business, people like to know the person they are buying from. LinkedIn is a great way to showcase who you are based on the recommendations you have from colleges and friends.
- Use LinkedIn to Find Your Prospects: LinkedIn is a great tool for prospecting potential customers. Not only can you find people by job title, region, company, and name, you can learn about them by viewing their profile. Most users are associated with different groups, organizations and pages on LinkedIn. (I need to write a follow up blog on this topic, but I think I want to do a video for you. Stay Tuned)
- Direct Mail: Not everyone has a Facebook page, and not everyone has a LinkedIn profile, but between the two, you are likely to find someone on one of them. It is often hard to find a decision maker’s e-mail address. LinkedIn makes it possible to contact a decision maker directly without going through a gate keeper. What you say could open a door to a prospect you can’t get a hold of on the phone.
- Search Engine Optimization: Every small business marketing strategy should include a search engine optimization component. The more listings your business has, the more opportunity it has to show up in search engines. Sites like Google and Facebook are often close to the top of the organic search listing. Having a personal and business profile listed on the first page of any search engine is a good thing. There are over 1 billion annual searches on LinkedIn and 87% of purchases start with a search engine. So, by
- Include You Keywords: One way to help is to make sure that you are found organically on LinkedIn is to include keywords in your headline, summary, anchored text, job descriptions and endorsements to be found on Google and LinkedIn searches. “Your LinkedIn profile must include keywords for specific skills that match your desired job.”
― Melanie Pinola,
- Personl Brand: People by from people they like. While Facebook is great for showing who you are in your personal life, leveraging LinkedIn for your professional accomplishments is also valuable. Read more about personal branding HERE.
Remember, they key to any business is to be found. If you are only using one social media tool (only Facebook for example ) you can be limiting your businesses opportunities in the search engines. Like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms, each one is a different tool to connect with your potential audience. Embrace each of these different social networks and develop a strategy for distributing content among them.
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