The emergence of social media has opened up countless marketing opportunities for businesses of all sizes. Companies both large and small can no longer ignore the clear benefits of social networking and are racing to create their Facebook pages and Twitter handles. But, in their haste to follow the crowd, there’s another social network site many may have overlooked that could be even more valuable in helping to grow their business—LinkedIn.
What is LinkedIn? LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network with over 187 million members, adding approximately two new members every second, according to their website. Many members would say it is an indispensable tool for connecting them with current and potential customers as well as other professionals in their field. Today, LinkedIn has a presence in more than 200 countries worldwide and has quietly grown into the third most popular social site on the Internet.1
Who should be on LinkedIn? For anyone whose business involves any type of sales, marketing or PR, LinkedIn has become a valuable tool for engagement and promotion. But companies that provide business-to-business products and services can benefit from its networking opportunities too. Human resources professionals are using it for recruitment purposes and nonprofits are opening up new channels for donors and fundraising. In short, just about any business or professional can benefit from being on LinkedIn.
Why you should be on LinkedIn. If you don’t have one already, there are a number of reasons why you and your business should have a profile on LinkedIn. Besides the fact that LinkedIn is free and easy to use, here are a few more reasons you should be using this powerful social media site:
• Enhanced relationships – Savvy business professionals know that it’s personal relationships that matter most in creating a successful business. LinkedIn combines the importance of relationships with the power of social media to make it easy to keep up with all of your connections’ as they move and change jobs. LinkedIn also allows you to search for suppliers, distributors, colleagues, employees or employers you may want to do business with. It’s a powerful platform for building your credibility, brand and professional network.
• Improved SEO and online presence – If someone searches for you online and you have a LinkedIn profile it may appear on the first page of organic search results. Search engines such as Google score LinkedIn profiles high because of their relevancy and their tendency to have fresh content. LinkedIn also offers the option to display your website and blog which can also increase traffic to your site.
• Reinforces your brand – You can make sure users can find the information you want them to see. A LinkedIn profile builds your professional credibility when you get involved in online group discussions and helps you manage your reputation.
• Unique networking opportunities – LinkedIn suggests groups that are related to your field, encourages you to connect with your peers and gets you involved in online discussions. You can also reach out to new contacts before attending a networking event and generate leads before you arrive. This engagement can help position you and your company as an industry leader, build a bigger network, and generate more leads.
• More recommendation opportunities – Satisfied customers and clients can sing your praises on your profile page and you can ask connections to tout your expertise.
Getting started. Much like Facebook, LinkedIn offers both personal and company profiles. Experts recommend you have both because a personal profile highlights your experience while a company profile highlights your products or services and your brand. Both pages should be consistent to help paint a complete picture of you and your business to perspective customers. Make sure you fill out both profiles completely and keep all information accurate and up-to-date for a better LinkedIn experience.
To get started with a LinkedIn account, click here. Or, if you already have your business profile on LinkedIn, let us know some of the tips and tricks you’ve learned that might help others. We’d love to hear from you.
Here are a few articles that may help kick start your LinkedIn efforts:
- Introducing a New Look for Company Pages: LinkedIn Blog, Sept. 2012
- LinkedIn’s Recent Makeover Further Enhances Use for Businesses: Business 2 Community, Nov. 2012
- What Do Small Businesses Do on Social Media? Technorati, Oct. 2012
1 – Source: eBizMBA, November 2012