Last week I wrote about 8 reasons why LinkedIn is a better social media platform to focus on for your small business. If you’ve been convinced to give LinkedIn priority in your social media strategy, you might be wondering what areas you should be focusing on. LinkedIn offers a lot of opportunities to display information and interact with others, but which ones are best? How should you go about getting the most out of your LinkedIn profile?
7 Beneficial LinkedIn Tips
LinkedIn has been doing a great job with their company pages since they implemented them in 2010. The latest iteration of the company pages was released to select companies in mid-2012 and was implemented to all company pages well before the end of the year.
Pamela Vaughan at Hubspot has a great piece from September that covers the changes. The most important ones are the revamped overview page, more customization, ease of updating and sharing information and job postings, and making the pages accessible on LinkedIn’s mobile apps. LinkedIn has really done an excellent job at improving their company pages.
Still, to get the most out of LinkedIn, there are some major steps you need to take to ensure your profile is top-notch. The platform is similar to a lot of things in life; you get out of it what you put into it. If you approach managing your LinkedIn company profile with that attitude, you’ll be networking, connecting, expanding your online presence, and building your brand in no time.
1. Define Your Goal
Before you go about redesigning your profile and making lots of important changes, your company or you as a small business owner need to determine what you want out of a LinkedIn presence. Is your primary goal to expand your business’ presence as an authority online? Do you want to simply generate awareness about your business? Do you want to use LinkedIn to network and attract future talent? Are you looking to simply grow your online presence to improve business?
These are important questions you need to answer before you undertake any changes on your LinkedIn profile. This isn’t to say your goal is the only benefit you will reap from using LinkedIn; having a primary purpose will help you determine what sort of content and activities to engage in on the platform. You’ll get all of the benefits of LinkedIn, but it’s beneficial to have a goal – or compass – to guide you on how you use LinkedIn.
2. Create an Impactful Main Page
The first page a guest or fellow business will see on LinkedIn is your main page. Every part of your home page on LinkedIn needs to be carefully considered. The new company pages LinkedIn rolled out in 2012 have taken a markedly different design approach than the personal pages.
One of the most impactful areas of the main page for your company is the image. You have a lot of real estate to work with and it will be noticed. Two of my favorite examples of a simple yet powerful image I came across come from salesforce.com’s LinkedIn page and Adobe’s page:
Both photos are simple, to the point, and clever. Salesforce’s conveys a message of what salesforce.com is all about, and demonstrates what I would assume is a focal point of the company’s business: creativity in marketing. Adobe’s photo catches your attention and demands to be read. It makes you wonder, “How will I be able to target customers to get their loyalty?” thus encouraging further browsing.
Images like these go beyond a logo and can be more effective for companies whose logos or brands are not as well established. After all, LinkedIn’s recent update to their Company Pages allows room for an image and a spot for your logo in the upper left area of the page. Make sure you have both.
3. Update, Update, Update (and Share, Share, Share!)
LinkedIn is a professional social media platform. Social is still incredibly important. Making a LinkedIn company page and then expecting it to provide all sorts of benefits is absurd. Your company page needs to be engaging and people need to be engaged with it.
Company status updates are one of the most important tools a company has on LinkedIn. As Pamela Vaughan discusses in another post for Hubspot, posting relevant and quality company updates “gives marketers the opportunity to expose more of their content directly to their LinkedIn followers.” Updating keeps your company in followers’ feeds, something that is bound to be noticed and acknowledged.
Keep in mind that LinkedIn is a professional networking site. You don’t want to share pictures of cute kittens, unless you sell cute kittens, I guess. You have some leeway in your updates; don’t necessarily post everything about your company. If you come across something that is relevant and of high quality, it can’t hurt to post and share with your followers. This will help your business come across as more than just a profit-earning robot that doesn’t act human at all.
4. Use the Products Page
If applicable to your business, fill up that products page. LinkedIn has made it surprisingly enticing to click on a company page’s products page. I found myself checking out products pages on all the companies I looked at when researching for this post. Adobe has a great example of a products page, with a main image promoting a product and subsequent descriptions and logos for all of their other products.
Other possibilities for the products page include videos! Here’s a chance to show what your small business is capable of to tons of potential customers. The more entertaining and informative the video, the better.
5. Encourage Recommendations
This step is specifically more important for smaller businesses. Recommendations will help build your rapport on LinkedIn and also make your services more appealing to your LinkedIn visitors. If you have frequent customers, feel free to ask for a recommendation on LinkedIn, especially for the products and services you offer. You could even offer a small discount to customers who take the time to help you build your LinkedIn profile.
Recommendations will provide greater exposure for your company page on LinkedIn. People who follow the recommenders will receive a notice of the recommendation and are likely to check out your page. Don’t neglect other companies as well! A recommendation from a business you work with regularly can go even farther than an individual recommendation!
6. Consider Ads
If you have the funds, LinkedIn ads could be worthwhile for jumpstarting your LinkedIn company page. Stephanie Sammons at the Social Media Examiner writes, “You can run a LinkedIn social ad to ask members to follow your company or recommend your products or services.” Of course, these ads can be targeted to help improve their effectiveness.
A quick glance at LinkedIn’s Ad page provides all the info you could want. You can target by job title and function, by industry and company size, and many more customizations. Sometimes ads give you the boost you need to start reaching significant numbers of LinkedIn members.
7. Minor (but Important) Tips
Lastly, there are a few minor parts of the LinkedIn company page and etiquette you shouldn’t ignore. They may all be small, but as a whole they make a difference. Take advantage of the customized URL you can create for your page. Make it short and simple.
Keep your company page active. Sporadic updates will do you no good in the long run. Keep a regular schedule for posting. Make sure your page is always synced with updates to other social media and your main website.
Wherever there is a spot on the company page to customize or upload media, do it. Make sure you put some thought behind what you upload and how you customize pages though. No media is better than poorly chosen media. Approach every little part of the company page as a potential to impress customers; provide content and media that serves a purpose, not simply to fill a gap.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to copy. Copy strategy and ideas that is; not content! Look around on LinkedIn for successful companies that have really impressive LinkedIn Company pages. Learn from them and implement what you learn on your page.
Get Started, LinkedIn is Only Getting Better
Go ahead and get to work on your LinkedIn company page. LinkedIn has been doing a consistently impressive job on improving its services. More and more professionals are joining the network as well. In fact, on January 9th LinkedIn announced it had reached over 200 million users of the service. This pattern of improvement and increasing numbers of users is bound to continue. Don’t wait any longer to get on board!
Are LinkedIn Company Pages an important part of your business?
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