Strategies for Small Businesses
Table of Contents
- Introduction to LinkedIn marketing
- Why LinkedIn is actually important for small businesses
- How can a LinkedIn profile help promote my business?
- Why are LinkedIn Groups more valuable for small businesses?
- How can I get the most out of my LinkedIn Company Page?
- Why SlideShare might be the best LinkedIn feature, ever
- What LinkedIn marketing strategies can give me an edge?
Can you believe that LinkedIn is one of the oldest social networks? Founded way back in 2002, LinkedIn had just 4,500 members when it launched – that’s pre-YouTube, pre-Facebook, and pre-Twitter.
Today, LinkedIn has more than half a billion users – gaining two new members every second of every day. While LinkedIn may not seem as hip as Snapchat, nor as massive as Facebook, its lineup of robust networking features makes it more than just a tool for job seekers and recruiters. It’s not a top-5 social network for nothing.
If you boil it down, LinkedIn is the digital version of a HUGE, souped-up mixer with 500 million party-going professionals. In fact, LinkedIn may actually be the most perfect platform for building and nurturing professional relationships – including with potential leads and your customers!
Learning to use LinkedIn effectively for your business and your personal brand can open new doors that you might never have known about otherwise.
But many businesses aren’t taking full advantage of its most sophisticated networking capabilities – and curated marketing opportunities. LinkedIn offers native publishing and promotion, a web-based educational platform, a slide-hosting platform with over 70 million users, and a heck of a lot more.
It turns out that there’s more to life than Facebook! Use this guide to get to know LinkedIn a little better, create an amazing Company Page, and see how far LinkedIn can take you and your business!
Why LinkedIn is actually important for small businesses
We get it: LinkedIn is probably the least “sexy” mainstream social network out there. But that doesn’t make it any less valuable – in fact, when you’re running a business, a lack of “sexiness” can make a social network MORE valuable.
Here’s what we mean:
LinkedIn is designed specifically for professional networking and job hunting, which is why its potential to promote a business is often overlooked. But that’s actually a good thing, because there are SO MANY potential strategies to reach a relatively untapped large and engaged user base – starting with creating a Company Page.
Why a Company Page is amazing for your business
Whether you’re a business with hundreds of employees or an independent proprietor, the benefits of having a Company Page are many:
- Prove you’re legit: A LinkedIn Company Page adds an additional layer of legitimacy for your business – as much as having dedicated office space and a professionally designed website. Tell your story, showcase your success, build your brand, help potential employees and customers find you, nurture a stellar reputation, and flaunt your company culture in front of a massive community.
- Feed SEO: Unlike personal LinkedIn profiles, your Company Page is publicly visible, giving you a tremendous opportunity to nourish your SEO with fresh, valuable, keyword-rich content. And yes, this means distributing all that quality content you create on LinkedIn. (Don’t worry – Edgar can help with that!)
- Build a hub for your company ambassadors: Whether it’s your employees building up your good name, or other fans praising and tagging you in their status updates, all those good vibes tie back to your company. Give future fans, advocates, and leads a place to find you on the network. Add your website to your Company Page, so the most qualified peeps can find out more.
- Get LinkedIn to promote your content, too: LinkedIn’s built-in publishing platform allows you to share content directly on LinkedIn – with advanced tagging and distribution features that help get your articles seen by your fans. LinkedIn prioritizes content first published on their platform, too. Once you get started on the LinkedIn content train, your updates may find their way into the regular newsletters LinkedIn sends to its members!
As you can see, the benefits are MANY – not least of which is taking advantage of the boost in social influence that LinkedIn can provide to your business. And if you need some help getting started, check out our blog post: “Anatomy of an Amazing LinkedIn Company Page“
How can a LinkedIn profile help promote my business?
Whether you’re an entrepreneur who only has a personal profile or you maintain a Company Page for your business, it’s a good idea to have an active and conspicuously up-to-date LinkedIn Profile.
Here’s a handy checklist of ways to keep your presence fresh and make sure your Profile showcases what a rock star you are!
- Make sure your Profile has All-Star status. LinkedIn profiles have a gauge that gives a visual representation of how your Profile compares to others in your industry. Use its helpful skills suggestions to fully complete your Profile and raise your status on LinkedIn!
- Make your Profile easy to find. LinkedIn uses a search function similar to search engines like Google, which means that you can actually optimize your LinkedIn Profile with keywords just like you would a web page. When you’re filling out your Profile, choose a few keywords that are highly relevant to your profession – words that people use when searching for pros like you.
- Post frequent status updates. The advantage of LinkedIn’s news feed, as opposed to Facebook’s or even Twitter’s, is that it is populated with articles and information exclusively according to your business interests. To help, we’ve built an automation tool to help you easily customize and schedule your updates, no matter where you’re posting.
- Post LinkedIn Pulse updates. Pulse is the LinkedIn content publishing platform that you can use as a secondary outlet for your business-related content. Pulse can unlock new and engaged audiences that you may not have access to on your blog. Establish a few key employees – or yourself – as thought leaders that can publish content on Pulse – you can even hire writers to help produce the content if you don’t have the time!
- Get your “boilerplate” on point. A “boilerplate” is a prewritten company description. Make sure yours is powerful and consistent, and ask your team to include it on their own Profiles – it communicates a strong value prop for your business.
Why are LinkedIn Groups more valuable for small businesses?
If your company is not taking advantage of LinkedIn Groups, you could be majorly missing out.
LinkedIn Groups have been around for a while, but they’re still one of the best ways for people in the same industry (or with the same interests) to share content, answer questions, network with other professionals in their field, and establish influencer status within their industry – right on LinkedIn, where their professional histories are just a click away.
Here’s a fun fact about Groups: People who actively participate in LinkedIn Groups get an average of 4x as many profile views as people who don’t.
So starting your own Group – dedicated to your particular area of expertise – and joining other established Groups are awesome, proven ways to get more exposure for your Profile and your brand. Here are some advantages to doing both:
Joining a LinkedIn Group
Participating in other people’s or entities’ LinkedIn groups can give your business a boost in unexpected ways, by letting you:
- Engage in social listening. Leverage Groups to learn more about your industry (or related industries or interests). What unanswered questions, frustrations, and trending topics are popping up? How can you use these insights to answer key questions for your business? How can you leverage your insights to help others and build rapport?
- Network in a trusted space. Thought leaders are spending their downtime with their peers in Groups. If you’re looking for valuable mentors or simply a new connection, use Groups as a people discovery tool. As Groups may be invite-only, trust can be built quickly and more thoughtful, valuable conversations can take place.
- Be the pro you are! Whether you own the Group or you’re a member, contribute and engage! It’s all about adding value – if you can do that on the regular, you’ll stand out from the rest (and drive leads). Just avoid spamming with links to your own blog – a Group isn’t really the place for that.
Creating your own Group
Starting a Group of your own can help you more directly connect with others in your industry – and directly connect with people interested in your company or services.
- If you start your own Group, commit to it! This means actively recruiting members, posting interesting and relevant content, and getting your team involved as Group managers and contributors. Keep the conversations fresh, build trust by positioning yourself as a helpful expert in your field, and don’t hesitate to start and participate in discussions!
- Be sure your Profile is up to snuff! When people join your Group they will see your LinkedIn Profile information automatically – and they will see your Company Page, too. Be sure you give your info an overhaul and are updating it regularly. Which reminds us:
Have you optimized your Company Page? Your Company Page gives potential customers, leads, and potential hires a place to learn about you. Spend the time to make a clear, compelling, and professional Company Page to help tell your story and share company updates – which in turn markets your business to the wider LinkedIn community. Make sure it is the best representation of your business that it can be!
Creating a Company Page that stands out from the rest
All the more reason to make sure your Company Page is a lean, mean marketing machine that’ll help you:
- Recruit talent
- Drive brand awareness
- Engage your audience
- Attract customers
- Promote events, products, and services
- Prove your expertise
- Pump up your SEO
- And more!
Here are some tried-and-true methods to make your Company Page stand out from the rest.
- Optimize for search. Google and other search engines index LinkedIn pages in their search results, giving you yet another way to be discovered! So make sure your profile is complete, that you’re using keywords in a natural way, you’ve customized your LinkedIn URL, and you’re linking back to your company website.
- Write interesting (and useful) content. If you’re putting energy toward driving people to your LinkedIn Company page, make sure you have some content for them to check out. LinkedIn can’t emphasize enough how important regularly producing and sharing quality content is – they recommend updating at least once per weekday (which is totally NBD if you use an automation tool like Edgar), so get cracking!
- Pin your best content to the top of your Company Page. All that time you spent writing that announcement about your new service offerings? Make it the first thing that catches a visitor’s eye on your Page! LinkedIn allows you to “pin” your most valuable updates to the top of your Page’s “Recent Updates.”
- Make it visually awesome. Creating compelling visuals (that means your header image and logo, too) is crucial across all social media, including LinkedIn. In fact, companies with logo images get six times more traffic to their pages!
What are some LinkedIn marketing strategies that can give me an edge?
There are plenty of LinkedIn features to use that can optimize your presence on the platform. Here are just a few ways that are often overlooked by marketers, but together can create some serious next-level LinkedIn clout.
Add a Showcase Page. Got a project you’ve been working on that you’re ready to share? Do you have a “side brand” you want to highlight to your customers and your network? Show it off on a Showcase Page to share it far and wide and/or promote to a targeted segment of your audience.
Try out Sponsored Content. Raising awareness and building relationships can all start with Sponsored Content – and can fit with most any budget. Sponsored Content at LinkedIn can give the content you’re most proud of a major boost, by getting it into the News Feed of a more targeted audience, instantly.
Become a LinkedIn Learning instructor. LinkedIn acquired Lynda.com in 2015 to create an indispensable “learning library” that leverages LinkedIn’s ridiculously awesome network of influencers and thought leaders – including Oprah, Bill Gates… and you! Click here to see how you can apply.
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