Although LinkedIn started as a professional network to connect companies and job candidates, it has grown into a full-fledged, business-oriented social network. A few years ago, individuals used LinkedIn to build their networks; these days, companies are using it to build their brands.
As software engineers, we are sometimes stymied by LinkedIn’s relatively closed technology platform, but as entrepreneurs, we think the social network offers a big opportunity for raising awareness of the strength of our brand. And in the spirit of building community through entrepreneurship, we thought we’d offer some LinkedIn best practices.
LinkedIn strategy #1:
Maximize your blog – if your main focus in maintaining a blog is engaging with customers and driving inquiries, indexing that blog on LinkedIn can bolster not only engagement through increased page views and opportunity for comments, but also queries to your homepage or company profile page on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn strategy #2:
Get smart about your company profile. We’ve witnessed ourselves the power of great LinkedIn profiles – which are up to date, offer valuable content, and differentiate from competitors – as catalysts for potential customers to go straight from LinkedIn to a company’s Internet homepage. In this way, LinkedIn can be a critical part of a lead-generation campaign for customers, talent, or partners creating.
LinkedIn strategy #3:
Pay for premium – and use it. A premium LinkedIn member’ ship lets you see every person who has viewed your profile (provided their privacy settings allow it) and access content and features that others cannot. It’s pricey for individuals – upwards of $80 per month – but well worth the business expense if you are focused on attracting talent and positioning your brand strongly in the social realm.
LinkedIn strategy #4:
Participate. Find out what groups are most important to your constituents (customers, employees, and partners), and join them when you can. Then, offer insights and comments in a selfless way – never push product or services, but instead, offer ideas that would be useful to the other group participants.
LinkedIn Strategy #5:
Don’t wait. The era of relying solely on traditional marketing technologies is over. A recent blog post by Content Boost, notes that nearly 80 percent of small-to-medium business marketers use LinkedIn for marketing purposes. Further, a recent study by B2B Technology Marketing community on LinkedIn shows that 85 percent of respondents said LinkedIn is the best social network through which to spread content. In other words, marketers – including your peers and competitors –are realizing how important LinkedIn is as a customer engagement platform. So smart business managers are making LinkedIn a priority – now.
Finally, remember to share the responsibility – in a controlled way – across the enterprise. Ask your employees to follow the company profile page and connect with partners and customers from their personal pages, as well as reposting relevant content. On social networks, it takes a village – or at least, an organization, to accomplish marketing and brand building goals.