I have to admit I didn’t know much about the area of LinkedIn before I decided to do some research. Now I realise how much I was missing in this whole area of social media marketing.
Well, if the truth be told, I knew LinkedIn was important but my views were I couldn’t keep up with it all so I left LinkedIn behind – Wow big mistake – and here’s why.
At first I thought it was just a more professional facebook module. Stick up a post and let it go viral, but when you think about it, it’s more the 6 degrees of separation on steroids module. Align your business with the professionals that can influence your decision making in a positive way and your business has a better chance of succeeding. And well lets face it how many times have you looked at a forum and wanted to be in that circle of like minded professionals. Belonging to a discussion group with the wheelers and dealers in your sector positions your business as an educator and thought leader too. Who you align yourself to and who’s connected to you?, influences and raises your profile and that’s what it’s all about. Choose those connections well.
Apparently just by spending 30 minutes on LinkedIn eveyday you can
- Increase your appearance in LinkedIn searches by 120%
- Up the number of times you profile is viewed by others by 150%
- Triple the number of people reaching out to you
- Quadruple the number of people emailing and calling you
- Increase website traffic by over 400%
So with that in mind I went after our LinkedIn business page with new vigour and here’s how.
Before we started we had to decide what our members wanted to see in our LinkedIn profile. I could step back even further and talk about how marketing developments have changed the way we communicate, learn and make purchase decisions. The majority of buyers start the decision-making process via online research and as a result buyers are on average halfway down the decision making process before they are willing to engage with your company. Marketers must adjust their processes to meet the changing demands of their clients?
So back to the question what do LinkedIn members want?
- An inside look at your company
- Connect with colleagues, peers and other professionals
- Solutions to their problems
- Industry Insights
How to use LinkedIn to this purpose
- Establish your company business page
- Attract followers to your page
- Engage followers through content and conversations focus on helping others and be consistent
1). Establish your company presence
LinkedIn allows users to host a profile, this is a personal web page where you can list your professional information like job experience, skills etc. Your profile allows others to find out about you so it’s critical that you complete it, including uploading a professional looking avatar (head shot photo).
Complete your profile
LinkedIn guides you through this process by prompting you to fill in any missing fields as seen in the image below. It marks you out of 100% the higher the % the better you appear in search results.
This is the information you will need to complete:
- Industry and postal code
- A current position with description
- Two more positions
- At least five skills
- Profile photo
- At least 500 connections
- A summary
You can view your profile as your network does and edit the different elements of your profile.
Your profile also includes a link to your “Public Profile”. This is the profile that will be shown to users not signed-in that are searching for you via search engines like Google.
Click on “Edit Public Profile settings” to control which parts your profile will be visible to search engine users.
The image below on the right hand side demos this:
You can also select a personalised “Vanity URL” for your public profile, giving you a custom web address when linking to and promoting your profile. Setting this URL will also add SEO value in that it will usually include your name and a keyword or two like MariaMcGarryWebDesigner.
Start with your personal profile and then generate your business page. Like Facebook pages, businesses can choose to have a company page on LinkedIn.
Best practise is to fill in all the fields. There is nothing more unprofessional than blank or descriptions that have no real focus. I know this sounds obvious but I bet if you check you have left some blank while you’re checking make sure you use the right keywords. Search results will contain a snippet of what you write so it’s important to contain strong keywords. The text should include what you do and why you do it. Add your value proposition and keep in mind your target customer. Remember all the data is searchable in LinkedIn.
You must be a Company Page administrator in order to add other administrators.
Click on designated users only as these are the people that will access your status updates. The default setting is open so anybody can then update your status and you don’t want that.
To add an admin:
- Move your cursor over Interests at the top of your homepage and select Companies.
- Type your company name into the Search for Company’s box and select your company name from the list.
- Click the blue Edit button in the upper right.
- Scroll down the Overview page and find the Company Pages Admins section
on the left. This is below the Company Description and Default Language fields.
- Under Designated Admins, start typing the name of a connection that you want to be an admin. You must be connected to the new domains through LinkedIn before you can add them.
- Click Publish in the top right of the page.
Fill in all fields company name, size, no of employees, company description, etc.
A useful tip with company descriptions the content truncates after the 7th line so make sure you get your company value proposition and message across in the first 7 lines. It’s easy to go back and edit if need though. You can also send people to your product tab here where all your products can be displayed.
The keywords you want your company to be found on in LinkedIn.
Building your products and services page
- This is the area where you can build an in depth view of your companies products and services.
- You can link to your website
- Ask for product recommendations from your followers
- Send traffic and drive leads
- Display targeted content based on viewer
When you click on add a product or service it is important to remember that the first one you add is the first one on your list so be careful to add the right order of products determined by important first. That way people don’t have to scroll to see your primary product or service. However once you have 6 products you can adjust this at will.
Most of the fields are really self explanatory the only thing to comment on here is the different ways you can use the products or services tab. Not all companies have a product they could be promoting
- An event
- Calls to action
- Content (ebook & webinars)
Make sure and go back into each product or service and click on the request recommendations button and email your customers to recommend your product or service.
Customise your personas
This is a great way to target your audience even if it’s just the headline this targeted approach has proven to boost your response. Go to the product or service tab Edit the page and click on the create new Audience button in the top left of the page.
2). Attract followers to your page
Leverage existing communities
Make sure colleagues complete profiles and include page links and email signatures
Announce your business page in a newsletter to customers or through a blog post.
Add a “follow” button to your site or blog
Connecting with people
Give them a reason to want to connect with you, don’t just click the connect link and use the standard linkedIn message which is “I’d like to add you to my professional network in LinkedIn.” Always create your own message when you’re trying to reach out to people. Say, “Hey, I saw your post on whatever, or I saw your name in an article, or I’d like to connect with you because we’re in the same group.”
Here’s another tip when doing recommendations for members your names and tagline shows up so get your usp and marketing message in your tagline.
Company page followers belong to 13x as many groups
Groups can be “Open” or “Members-only”
- Find groups that deal with topics your target members are in
- Post helpful content and ask for advice
- Support member driven discussions and become a top influencer, it’s not all about you.
Create your own group
You may choose to create your own group but remember you will then be responsible for managing the group. i.e. supervising discussions, settings, etc.
Finding and Joining a Group
Find a group you want to join:
- Search for keywords or group names from the search box at the top of any page, and then choose Groups in the list on the right. You can further refine your search by whether you have connections in the groups, whether the group is open to everyone, and what language it is in.
- Move your cursor over Interests at the top of your homepage and select Groups.
- Look for groups in the Groups You May Like box on the right, and click More to see additional suggestions.
Note: Group managers may review your request to join or ask for additional information to make sure you meet their membership criteria. Membership approval is solely up to the group manager.
3). Engage with followers
Its like inviting people into your home you have to keep the conversation interesting, relevant and engaging. The way you do this is by posting status updates
The status updates are what keeps your page current and interesting it appears on your overview page and will appear in your follower stream once they login to LinkedIn. This is where the viral effect kicks in so as your followers see, like , comment, etc. they will share it to the network followers.
Your status message can be a simple hello, you can ask questions, share blog posts, etc. You can share updates from a number of different places, both inside and outside Linkedin.
Best practice for status updates
- keep it brief, a short sentence or two will be ok
- Post at least once a week to reach the majority of your audience morning updates receive the highest engagement, slight boost in the evening and best results Saturday mornings
- Link to great content and inspire followers to click through.
- don’t make it a hard sale
3 types of content
Blog post, Company videos, Interviews , WEBINARS, EVENTS, WHITEPAPERS
Industry news, expert third party research, news coverage of company,
Guest posts from partners, linkedin polls, cross posts from groups, Products, testimonials, media coverage.
4 ways to update your status
- You can set your status message by clicking “What are you working on?” on the left column of every page, under your name and profile photo.
- When you engage in discussions in LinkedIn groups, that activity also counts as an update.
- You can post updates from outside websites by clicking the LinkedIn social share button, where available.
- You may also connect your Twitter account to LinkedIn which allows you to post tweets on LinkedIn as if they were statues
Note: Other users appreciate information but not excessive traffic on their feeds. You can mute connections if you choose. Hover over a user’s update on the homepage and click the “hide” button to stop receiving updates from that user.
4). Grow your network
When a non follower sees somebody they are connected with liking your post there is a good chance they will follow too. There are many ways to grow your connections and network.
Taking your content viral
- encourage follows to like or comment
- Link to best of lists
- Invite customers to recommend your products
- Post great videos
- Ask questions that will provoke a response
- Find people you already know by typing their name into the search box
- Import your email list to LinkedIn to pull up a list of potential connections.
- Use the “People You May Know” feature. As you build your network, LinkedIn will suggest additional connections based on the networks of the people you are connected to.
Conclusion if you are still not convinced to set up a more professional business page in LinkedIn then here are some stats
- LinkedIn are adding 2 new members every second
- Over 50% of members are college gradutes
- 9 to 10 executives use LinkeIn at least once a week
- 2. million company pages
- 1.5 million groups