LinkedIn for Business: How to Get Started
If you think the only reason to have a LinkedIn account is to appease hiring managers during a job search, it’s time to think again. LinkedIn is also the place where 500 million professionals log in to see and share content related to their industry.
If you’re not using LinkedIn as part of your marketing strategy, now is the time to start!
Here are 5 ways your business can benefit from using LinkedIn:
- Engage with existing customers: On your personal LinkedIn page, there’s a section for people to leave endorsements and recommendations. Take advantage of this opportunity for positive word of mouth by asking satisfied customers to vouch for your skills. When someone writes a recommendation, it will be published on your LinkedIn profile and shown to their professional network. This brings us to point #2…
- Acquire new customers: LinkedIn is the top-rated social network for lead generation. In general, social media doesn’t generate as many leads for B2B companies as it does for their B2C counterparts. LinkedIn, however, is different. LinkedIn, unlike Facebook or Instagram, connects you primarily with industry decision-makers. In fact, 4 out of 5 of its members drive business decisions.
- Crowdsource information from other experts in your industry: Tap into the collective wisdom of over 500 million professionals. If you have a question about a new product, want to stay informed about developments in your industry, or need a recommendation for a new employee/contractor, LinkedIn can help! Check out LinkedIn groups to connect with like-minded professionals and get advice from people who know their stuff.
- Establish thought-leadership: 94% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn to distribute content. Content is key to showcasing your expertise and establishing your authority in your field. LinkedIn offers a variety of tools for publishing content, including SlideShare (where users can upload presentations to share with other users) and an integrated publishing tool.
- Keep an eye on the competition: Social media, in general, is made for snooping, and LinkedIn is no exception. Monitor new developments at competing companies to help you make informed business decisions for yourself.
It’s Time to Get Personal: Updating Your LinkedIn Personal Page
Coming up in the next section, we’ll talk about how to set up and optimize your LinkedIn company page. We’ll also go over tips and tricks to customize your content strategy for the platform, but, before we get to all that good stuff, let’s pump the breaks for a moment to look at your own personal LinkedIn profile.
Why does that matter?
Well, although you may be more interested in engaging users with your business, you and your employees are at the heart of that business. Your customers want to see the face behind the storefront.
So, before we do anything else, let’s perform a quick audit of your page and check to make sure your profile includes the following:
- High-quality headshot: If you don’t have a decent camera and access to some basic photo-editing tools, it may be worth your while to invest in a professional photoshoot. You can take this opportunity to also get some images of your storefront, products, employees, etc. for your website or other social media.
- Up-to-date work experience and current position: Obviously, if your LinkedIn work history begins and ends with your first job out of college, it’s time for an update. Take some time to create a list of past positions and relevant experiences to showcase your skills.
- Detailed biography: With LinkedIn, it’s generally best to keep it professional. While users on other platforms value a more creative approach and conversational tone, bios on LinkedIn tend to be a bit more formal and to-the-point. Focus on your professional qualifications and achievements in your biography.
- Endorsements and recommendations: If you don’t have many (or any) recommendations on LinkedIn, now’s the time to fix that. Reach out to existing connections—both coworkers and customers—to ask them for a review of your professional performance. Obviously, this advice only applies with people who you know will give you a positive review.
Once you check those items off the list, you’re ready to create a company page.
How to Create and Optimize Your LinkedIn Company Page
After you’ve slapped a fresh coat of paint over your outdated personal LinkedIn account, it’s finally time to debut your very own company page.
Similar to Facebook, LinkedIn lets you create a branded page to showcase your brand and make new connections. It’s where potential customers and employees alike go to discover and get essential information to about your business. In fact, according to data from LinkedIn, 46% of social media traffic to your website comes from LinkedIn alone.
The process for setting up your company page is easy. Just navigate to the “Work” tab within your personal profile, and click “Create a Company Page” to get started. LinkedIn will guide you through the necessary steps to get your page up and running.
After you complete some simple steps, you’re free to start connecting and posting content!
But why stop there? Why not put in a just a little more effort to make your company profile the best it can be?
If your aim is to create a captivating company page that goes beyond basic, check out these 4 best practices:
1. Add a Logo and Cover Image.
There are two main images that your visitors will see when they’re checking out your profile: the logo and the cover image. The logo acts like your profile picture, and the cover image appears as a banner across the top of your page. While that logo will be the same as the one you use in all your other marketing materials, you can get a little more creative with your cover image. Will you keep it minimalist with a subtle design pattern or will you use this space to display a picture of your products? Whatever you do, just make sure to keep it consistent with your brand identity.
2. Optimize Your Company Page for Search.
Your company page should be designed with an eye toward search engine optimization (SEO) to make it more likely for people to discover your business. To effectively optimize your page, pay attention to these 3 factors:
- Keywords: LinkedIn members can search for companies by keyword, so it’s a good idea to include words and phrases that describe your business, expertise, and industry focus in your description. Google previews only the first 156 characters, so try to front-load important information and keywords into your description. Just remember not to go overboard! Unlike stuffing of the Thanksgiving variety, there is definitely such a thing as too much keyword stuffing.
- Backlinks. Backlinks=Better Rank. Include links to your company page elsewhere on the web, including your business’s website, blog, and social channels. Also, ask employees to add a link to their own LinkedIn profile.
- Content: Valuable content is key to any modern SEO strategy. Sharing content to your company page allows it to be indexed, so the more relevant content you post, the better your page will rank in search results.
3. Appeal to Your Audience.
While you could just copy and paste the “About Us” section of your website into your bio, you can do better. Use it as an opportunity to engage directly with the type of people who you want to engage with on LinkedIn.
Talk directly to potential employees about what makes your business an awesome place to work, or give potential customers an insight into how your business stands apart from the crowd. Think about who you’re writing for, and adjust your bio to fit.
4. Create a Showcase Page.
A Showcase Page is an extension of your company page that focuses on a particular area of your business. You can create one for a special product, an annual event, a new initiative, or anything else you want to spotlight about your business. Then, target a specific segment of your audience and direct them to this page for special updates and content.
I hope this article has inspired you to give LinkedIn a chance and stop by more often (not just when you’re dusting off your resume). In future articles, we discuss more unique ways you can use LinkedIn as a business marketing tool. So, stay tuned!