Are you using LinkedIn for business? If not, why not? LinkedIn is used by over 15 million professionals in the UK and is often the first port of call for researching new business contacts. If you’re not using LinkedIn, you could be missing out on valuable business opportunities.
What exactly is LinkedIn?
LinkedIn is a professional social network where individuals can build a network of business connections and businesses can set up a company profile.
Your personal LinkedIn profile
Your LinkedIn profile is a place to showcase your professional experience. Your profile can contain your work history, qualifications, endorsements of your skills, projects and even hobbies and interests. It’s basically an interactive version of your CV.
The more complete your personal profile, the more likely it is to appear in search results. LinkedIn pages are frequently used to vet credentials ahead of business meetings and interviews, so a more complete profile page will also provide a better representation of your skills and experience.
LinkedIn Company Page
In addition to individuals, companies can also set up their own LinkedIn profile (like the Cognique company page). Company pages can contain information about your business and products and services, employees and career opportunities. Once set up, other LinkedIn users can click the follow button to get updates from your company page.
Companies can also add showcase pages to their profile – here’s LinkedIn’s marketing showcase page as an example. Showcase pages can be useful if you have a diverse range of products or services or distinct business divisions that have enough content to warrant a separate page.
How to use LinkedIn
For building authority
Linkedin is an ideal tool for building authority and becoming known as a thought leader in your field.
- Complete your profile and encourage others to endorse or recommend you.
- Build your network of connections – connect with colleagues and others you’ve met or done business with to increase the size of your network.
- Join relevant groups and provide useful input in your area of expertise. Use groups to demonstrate your knowledge in a helpful way rather than for overt promotion. If no group exists for your particular niche, you could always set one up.
- Share content. Use your personal and company page to share useful content with your network.
- Publish articles directly on LinkedIn. So far only 1.5 million of LinkedIn’s 313 million users are publishing on the platform. This means there’s an excellent opportunity to establish yourself as a thought leader. It’s easy to get started and you can use LinkedIn’s publishing tool to republish articles you’ve written elsewhere to extend their reach.
With the right know-how it’s possible to get great results using LinkedIn as a strategic business development tool.
- Set up a company page and populate it with your products and services. Regularly share content from your page and ask your customers for recommendations.
- Use search to find new opportunities. The powerful search facility allows you to drill down to exactly the companies or individuals you’re interested in. You can also save searches you want to keep an eye on.
- Use paid promotion to target adverts only at people in certain sectors or companies.
- Look for insights in your sector. There’s a huge amount of useful information which can be gleaned from profiles of customers, prospects and even competitors.
- Research prospects before meetings, you can also check on who has been viewing your profile, you might find new leads.
- Use Inmail, LinkedIn’s premium mail service, to make initial contact with hard to reach prospects.
Making LinkedIn work for you
LinkedIn works best as part of your integrated marketing strategy that is designed to communicate your expertise in your line of business to the right kind of contacts. If you would like help with formulating a LinkedIn strategy, branding company or showcase pages, creating content or integrating with your website, please get in touch.