LinkedIn continues to be a booming platform, which is probably not a surprise since Microsoft paid an astounding $26.2 in 2016.  It currently reports an estimated 467 million members. It’s certainly a powerful tool, that continues to aid businesses helping them showcase their products and services.  Successfully used as a networking tool, it’s great for generating sales leads and building brand awareness.  Historically focused on B2B, it’s been gaining ground over the years with B2C conversations.

How important is it to have a business page on LinkedIn?

There are several aspects to consider when deciding if LinkedIn is right for your business.  If you’re a B2B business, using LinkedIn is considered an absolute must – a real ‘no brainer’.  However, if your business is consumer facing, you’re unlikely to sell directly through LinkedIn, but it is a way to promote your brand, your products and your values.  Ideally, you should be thinking about being seen where your potential customers are.  If you think your direct target customers, or influencers of your target customers are on LinkedIn, then that’s answered your question.  That aside, LinkedIn, when used well can be an excellent tool for marketing your business.  B2B or B2C it can really boost your business profile and generate leads and improve conversions.  Always think about your return on investment, you might invest time, but remember your time is not free (£).

You’ve decided LinkedIn is right for you, what next?

light up on LinkedIn

Success starts with good groundwork and the investment will be worth the effort – but be patient.  The most important aspect is make sure you create your profile and keep it updated.  It’s easy to skim over details, but a profile that’s incomplete or missing details projects a lack of professionalism, creating a negative impression, rather than a positive one.

Make sure your personal profile is current – that’s the golden rule.  Add achievements, awards, key milestones, testimonials and recommendations speak volumes about you.  Don’t be afraid to shout loudly about your successes and what customers say about you; its good for you and your company, a real win-win.  Don’t be afraid to reach out to others you’ve done business with or worked with in the past, to give a testimonial on your LinkedIn profile.

Do I need a Business or Company Page?

questionAn option for a small business is to build your audience using your personal profile to win and engage your target audience.  What’s right for your situation and circumstances will vary, particularly as building your business page on LinkedIn can be tricky and take a lot of dedicated work and effort.  Smaller businesses with few employees will find it harder to create the engagement, followers and traction, than businesses with larger numbers of employees to help with the task.

A LinkedIn company page is a significant piece of real estate, which can be used to build awareness for your brand, engage your prospects and establish your company as a thought leader.  It’s a very powerful engine which can drive high-quality leads for your business.  With over 19 million Company Pages, if yours is not one of them you could be missing out on opportunities to engage your target audience.  Conversely you also have a lot of competition and so its key that you are active, keep your company page current, regularly share content and stand out.

You can also create Showcase Pages for your Company, which are purpose built pages designed to promote specific business lines, products and brands.

Share for success

Building your network and followers requires investment in sharing useful, knowledgeable, inspirational and relevant information through your profile and also through your company page.  Remember to look at what you share through the lens of your target customers – not yours.  This doesn’t preclude you from sharing articles and content which you genuinely find interesting and engaging.

Demonstrate your knowledge and expertise in a particular topic, subject matter or technical aspects of your industry and the industry sectors of your target customers.  Remember, LinkedIn is for professionals, and you should take this seriously.

Build your network and audience

Focus on building your network and encourage others in the company to do the same.  The power of many will really make a big difference.  The larger the network you have the wider the reach you will achieve.  You’re also looking to build a network of people who are interested in your activities.  In order to leverage your network and the power of LinkedIn you need to understand what interests your target audience and ‘share for success’.

Look at other professionals in the same industry and take a leaf out of their book in terms of how they are keeping their network engaged.  Take a look at what their readers are adding comment to – that’s a good pointer on what is working.

As mentioned before, you need to be patient, this process takes time, but it will be worth the investment and will be a great asset in marketing your business.

Content. Content. content

I think you get the idea!  Content is king if you’re aiming to get to the top on LinkedIn.  Sharing relevant content for your target audience demonstrates you’re knowledgeable, but also sharing content that’s useful and of value to those you want to engage.  Professionals, frequently use LinkedIn to gain knowledge – you can be a provider of that knowledge.  Try to share valuable information for your followers.

Participate, engage and build some buzz

create buzz for your businessFinally, get in the action, participate and engage with others who are sharing articles and content within your network.  Sharing knowledge and advice can really enhance your profile, which will increase your network.

LinkedIn can be a fantastic tool to build awareness and generate leads.  Follow these basic rules, be patient, you never know when the next great deal or new customer might land.

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