LinkedIn has been creating buzz in social media circles for many years now, however many businesses are yet to fully capitalize on this remarkable tool for their online marketing and promotional needs.
So what exactly is LinkedIn and what are its capabilities? In this article we’ll explore the various features and functions of this business network and why it is such an invaluable resource for online marketers.
So what is LinkedIn?
This might appear a rather simplistic question; however it’s important to understand that LinkedIn is not merely a social network aimed for business users. Rather, it should be viewed as an online network of influential people all over the world. For most individuals, gaining contact with the most powerful people in business is one of their biggest challenges. Getting round conventional ‘real-life’ obstacles, LinkedIn essentially brings business people together in a new and unique way. If utilised properly, this tool can even allow the humble office junior to engage in discussion and build connections with company CEOs.
Find Business Partners, Clients and Service Providers
Whatever your business objectives, LinkedIn will help you to build a network of useful contacts. Simple searches in your field will reveal thousands of experts, service providers and potential clients. If you do not personally know an individual, you may request to be introduced through a mutual contact or can send an introductory email.
If your business is recruiting, LinkedIn can provide easy access to potential candidates. There are both paid options and those involving no financial outlay. Businesses can search for candidates that fit their required level of expertise and approach them directly, provided they are at least ‘2nd degree’ contacts. In order to search further afield, a monthly subsciption is needed. However, even the basic or ‘business’ package allows users to contact any individual with a LinkedIn profile. Businesses also have the option of posting a job ad for a monthly fee dependant on location. Whatever your recruitment objectives, LinkedIn is the ideal networking site to find the connections you need to grow your business.
Access Expert Advice
LinkedIn’s latest release, LinkedIn Answers, aims to facilitate information and idea-sharing online. In brief, the product allows you to post business questions to both your own network and the greater LinkedIn community. However, even before the introduction of this feature, LinkedIn was commonly used for ‘knowledge sharing’. Users have always been free to use their mailbox to pose questions to connections and the multitude of groups on LinkedIn serve as forums for the discussion of many industry topics.
A Blog Promotion Tool
If you or your business has a regularly updated blog, LinkedIn is a great way to share and promote it. Users are able to add a blog or website to their individual profile in order to give it exposure.
Linked in for Recommendations
Another useful tool for businesses is the recommendations feature. Once you have added products or services to your company profile, you can request recommendations from your customers. Recommendation is the ultimate way to boost your company’s credibility and gain new clients.
LinkedIn for SEO
LinkedIn allows you to make your profile information available for search engines to index. Since LinkedIn profiles receive a high PageRank in Google, this is a good way to influence what people see when they search for you or your business. As previously mentioned, you can also link to your personal blog or website from LinkedIn. When making this link, if you select “Other” you can modify the name of the link to include your name or descriptive terms. Provided your public profile setting is on “Full View”, this is instant search-engine optimization for your site. Furthermore, as with Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn now gives users the capacity to share content. This activity is widely known to be an influencer of search engine ranking positions (SERPs).
Groups represent a fantastic opportunity for businesses to network and grow. If you are looking to drive traffic to your blog or company website, look no further!
Firstly, you can put your website link in the group profile for great visibility. Next you can add the site’s RSS feed to the News Section. It is also a good idea to send a weekly message to your group in order to maintain interest and enthusiasm. In this message you can reference relevant and interesting articles from your site.
There are further opportunities to include links in the group welcome message and in each new discussion thread that you create. The only challenge in some industries is to make your group stand out. The key is to find a niche/area of your business that is under-represented and aim to be the authority on the subject. Nevertheless, based on perception alone, the owner is naturally viewed as the thought leader for that niche unless proven otherwise. The more quality content you produce to back this up and the more effectively you run your group, your community will support you and look to you as a leader in that niche. This will do wonders for your business.
Linked in has 120 million users worldwide and extensive targeting capabilities to entice advertisers. The business network has followed Facebook’s example and introduced a ‘self-service’ system ‘LinkedIn Ads’. This has opened up advertising to all LinkedIn users on a cost per click (CPC) or impression basis (CPM). It is possible to tailor advertising by job title and function, industry and company size, seniority, age, gender or particular linked in groups. So whatever your campaign or idea, LinkedIn has potential solutions.
If you would like to know how LinkedIn could help your business, Relevance Web Marketing provide tailored Social Media Managment Services. To find out more, contact us and see how a strong social presence could complement and build upon your current marketing activity.