Many people think of LinkedIn as a service for finding new jobs, but the social media platform is also a powerful tool for marketing a business. There are over 350 million users on LinkedIn, and it isn’t just Fortune 500 companies that are using the site to build brands and reach new customers.
Social media marketing is an effective way for businesses of any size to engage with customers. LinkedIn members are typically professionals seeking to build their networks, and they are happy to trade and do business with other members.
The following tips will help you to grow your small business using LinkedIn.
1) Be an active member.
The foundations of success on LinkedIn are having a good profile and being an active member. Use keywords relevant to your business when you write your profile. Research indicates that members are more than ten times more likely to view your profile and connect with you if you include a photograph. Commenting on posts and articles relevant to your trade or profession will get you noticed by other members. There are LinkedIn apps available for most smartphones, so you can make good use of spare time during your day to keep your profile active.
2) Engage members with content.
Content marketing is an inexpensive way to build a reputation and brand, so it’s ideal for small businesses. Posting articles and links to blog posts on LinkedIn is a way of reaching thousands of potential customers. If users find your content engaging they may share it with others, and an article or update can become become viral. This technique can be used to establish yourself as an expert, and people will come to you when they are in need of related services. For example, an insurance broker could post content on LinkedIn about how to reduce the risk of a property flooding in winter.
3) Use the power of LinkedIn Groups.
LinkedIn Groups are made up of users in similar professions or with similar interests. Members can share content, develop networks and demonstrate their expertise. Joining Groups relevant to your trade or profession is one of the easiest ways to market your business on LinkedIn. The wide range of Groups means there should already be plenty relevant to your business, but you can start your own if you feel there’s a need for a new one. Starting and building a LinkedIn Group can take time, but it can establish you as a leader in your field.
4) Use your LinkedIn presence for search engine optimization (SEO).
Users are allowed to include links to their own websites on LinkedIn. There are also opportunities to include links in text and descriptions. Google and other search engines place high value on links from authority sites like LinkedIn, so this can help to improve your website’s ranking.
5) Build testimonials and recommendations.
Word of mouth advertising is one of the most effective ways of winning new customers, and LinkedIn makes developing this very easy. The service has specific terms for votes of approval from other members, and it’s important to understand the difference. Recommendations are specific testimonials from other LinkedIn users. If a member likes dealing with you and your business they can write about their experience and share their views with others. Users can also use so called ‘endorsements’ to give you a more general vote of approval. For example, a user might endorse you for the skill ‘wedding planning’ to confirm they have had positive dealings with you in this field. LinkedIn allows you to contact other members and request that they offer a recommendation.
6) Target users with LinkedIn ads.
If you have a budget for marketing and advertising, it’s worth considering the option of paid advertising on LinkedIn. One of the advantages this has over other paid advertising schemes is that you can target users very specifically by their interests, skills, job title and other criteria. For example, a wedding photographer could specifically target an ad to wedding planners on LinkedIn. The site has a user-friendly interface to design and develop your ads, and you can set a budget so costs don’t get out of control.
LinkedIn is an established platform for networking and reaching new customers and markets, and there are opportunities for every small business to take part.