Business development · 5 July 2017

Using LinkedIn as an effective business tool not just snooping on formercolleagues

Simferopol,  Crimea - May 25,  2014: LinkedIn is a social network for search and establishment of business contacts. It is founded in 2002.
Over 20m UK business professionals are making personal connections on LinkedIn
Having looked at how Facebook and Instagram can be used in small business marketing strategy, we now turn to a platform designed for professionals and consider the most useful ways of using LinkedIn.

When it comes to the numbers, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram boast considerable mainstream use. In the business world, however, LinkedIn is the networking destination. With over 20m UK business professionals signed up and using LinkedIn, new clients and connections are waiting to be found.

The aforementioned platforms can see even small brands rack up (or pay for) thousands of followers. However, LinkedIn serves a deeper purpose. In its own words, it’s about building relationships that count and using word of mouth to widen your network.

Tapping into the power of recommendations is central to using LinkedIn. According to official statistics, over three-quarters of B2B buyers on the platform prefer to work with recommendations from their own professional network.

The basics of using LinkedIn

Company page

Your company page acts as an essential starting point for the LinkedIn community. it’s where you can provide a short summary of your business, highlight job openings, and is a space to express your brand’s personality and mission.

it’s also a good opportunity to optimise your brand’s SEO value. Online tools like SEMrush can highlight the search terms most important to your business, which can then be incorporated into the page.

LinkedIn groups

Designed to be hubs of industry know-how, LinkedIn’s 1.6m groups bring together recruitment and procurement opportunities as well as content for professionals with shared interests. Reliably sharing relevant news will strengthen your brand’s reputation, boosting traffic to your own company’s page.

Groups are also useful in giving your company direct industry contact. Organisations are well represented, with the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and other bodies offering members a chance to connect.

Advertising

Compared to Facebook’s ultra-competitive algorithm, paid advertising on LinkedIn might represent a cheaper alternative to get your company in front of its target audience. The capabilities, however, are largely similar and allow advertisers to manage campaigns through a sophisticated ads manager.

Building the perfect profile

We already know the company page is an important window into your business. However, your own profile still serves an important purpose in your mission to make personal connections.?

make sure your LinkedIn profile has a great picture, is written in the first person and shows the reason you do what you do, advised Keren Lerner, founder of digital communications agency Top Left Design. Describe each of your previous roles in a similar way, highlighting your career journey and showing your values.

LinkedIn’s blogging tool also gives founders a chance to demonstrate their knowledge and skills. Frequent blog posts, Lerner added, will help your personality and business expertise come across.

choose a number of articles you feel comfortable about writing and publishing in the next six months and work towards that, making your articles useful to your prospective audience.

With your profile in good health, it’s time to build your network.

Five steps for LinkedIn networking success

Jenny Bernade, head of social media at digital marketing agency Bozboz, drew on her professional experience of using LinkedIn to provide Business Advice readers with five important networking pointers.

  1. Ensure your profile is fully up to date
linkedIn will give you a blue star on your profile when it’s fully updated and will push you to update your profile and fill in any gaps.

  1. Contribute to the newsfeed and share relevant updates
make sure your updates are set to public? this means when your connections engage with the post, their connections can see your update too. Think of it like your personal brand awareness and the number of impressions your content is making.

use hashtags in your updates so people outside of your network can browse content, find updates and connect with you.

  1. Go out and make connections with people in your industry

 
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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Praseeda Nair is the editorial director of Business Advice, and its sister publication for growing businesses, Real Business. She's an impassioned advocate for women in leadership, and likes to profile business owners, advisors and experts in the field of entrepreneurship and management.

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