Founded in 2002, LinkedIn is a social media site focused on professional networking. With over 500 million users, LinkedIn offers businesses, professionals and job seekers the opportunity to network with others in their industry.
However, LinkedIn is a social media platform like no other. What you can and should do on Facebook, for instance, is very different from what you could and should do on LinkedIn. Often, business owners are ‘recommended’ to implement marketing tactics because this is what everybody else seems to be doing, but before you launch yourself into the world of LinkedIn there are two critical aspects that you need to consider:
1) Is LinkedIn the right platform for your business?
2) If so, how can you make LinkedIn work for you?
These were the aspects I focused on during my LinkedIn presentation at the Wych Elm networking coffee morning organised by the Kingston Chamber of Commerce, which are summarised below:
Is LinkedIn the right platform for your business?
The main reasons people are on LinkedIn is to find jobs (using LinkedIn as an online CV), to find job candidates, to inform themselves about industry insights, news and best practices, to showcase their own expertise, and for business development purposes.
If your company is in B2B, LinkedIn is certainly the right platform for you. It allows you to:
• Position you as a thought leader by sharing relevant and valuable content.
• Create brand awareness by creating and promoting your company page.
• Repurpose your blog content on LinkedIn’s, by sharing it or re-posting it on LinkedIn Pulse.
• Engage with like-minded experts and potential prospects.
• Reach out to your target audience effectively.
What about if you are in B2C? LinkedIn can still help you. Take time to understand your ideal customers, are they likely to be on LinkedIn? Are they willing to listen to your proposition when on LinkedIn? Do you have content to share that will support your brand? If the answers to these questions is yes, then you should definitely be on LinkedIn.
However, whether you are in B2B or B2C, remember 2 golden rules:
1) Don’t overstretch yourself. There is no point in trying to be on all social media platforms if you don’t have time to manage them properly. A post on Instagram will not work if simply re-posted on LinkedIn: the tone of voice, the audience, and expectations are different. On LinkedIn, take time to select the right posts and to add a little intro that explains why people should take time to read them, and to showcase your knowledge on the topic.
2) Don’t use LinkedIn just to post content. Like in a real-life network event, you can’t simply walk in asking for people to pay attention to you while you ignore them. On LinkedIn you need to engage with people, read their news, like, comment, answer and be genuinely interested in their stories before you ask them to listen and engage with your posts.
How can you make LinkedIn work for you?
Once you have established that LinkedIn is, in fact, the right platform for you and that you are ready to manage it properly, there are 3 main areas where LinkedIn can help grow your business:
1) Building your Personal brand
No matter if you are a sole trader or a multinational company, people like to engage with real people more than they like to engage with brands.
LinkedIn gives you the opportunity to share your knowledge, to learn, to engage with your network, and ultimately to create trust in you, and consequently, in your company.
The first step is to create a strong personal profile:
1.Picture – make it professional
2.Headline – make it concise and clear
3.Your profile – Summarise your experience
4.Add your key skills
5.Add client reviews
The second step is to engage with people. Reach out to your contacts, join groups, like and share content that supports your brand.
2) Business development
Use LinkedIn to identify and reach out to potential clients. Use the Premium package to write to them directly, but remember to give them a valid reason to open your InMail, otherwise you will have the same chances of success as with a cold call (aka very low).
Reach out to your network, ask them to kindly put you in contact with their connections, when relevant of course.
A question that I hear often is: “Do I need a business page or group page?”
The two are very different. Having a business page is useful as it gives you the opportunity to showcase you company, to share news and content, and even to look for employees.
A group is there to create discussion about a topic – it can be used as a platform to drive engagement but is very different from your own business page. You can’t use a group to promote your page, but you can use it to showcase your expertise, while offering a platform for others to discuss and share opinions.
LinkedIn Advertising offers a wide range of useful targeting options, including:
• Job Titles (job functions and seniority)
• Industries (company sizes and names)
• Skills, gender and age
You can promote your content (Sponsored Content) or create a more traditional ad and both will be displayed on the user’s newsfeed. You can also create an InMail campaign, but for that to be effective you really need to offer some great reasons for people to open your message.
Advertising on LinkedIn is more expensive than, for instance, advertising on Facebook. However, when people click on your ad on LinkedIn, the chances are that they are already qualified leads as supposed to the general public.
In summary, LinkedIn offers great opportunities to grow your business, but it is a unique platform with unique requirements.
If you need any help with LinkedIn or your digital media strategy, please don’t hesitate to contact me at [email protected]
Giulia is a brand strategist and digital marketing consultant with over 15 years of experience. Founder of her own business, KnowThyBrand, Giulia helps her clients position their brand as the cornerstone of their company, and guides them in creating professional and compelling digital marketing campaigns.
Giulia is also a passionate teacher, working both at Kingston University and the British Digital Marketing Academy.