Barack Obama’s joke about turning to LinkedIn to find his next job underlined the social network’s growing importance in our professional lives. It’s an increasingly valuable way to establish and maintain connections, showcase expertise and generate leads.
LinkedIn reported a 19% year-on-year increase in registered users in June and now has more than 21m users in the UK, 110m in Europe and 467m worldwide.
Perhaps even more importantly for businesses, Microsoft is buying the network for $26 billion and plans to integrate LinkedIn with its products. So, for example, a condensed version of your LinkedIn profile is likely to appear as an identifying badge for others to see when you use products like Word, Excel or Skype.
The likelihood then is that LinkedIn is going to become more pervasive, certainly for those using Microsoft products, and still more important for your business. So, here are our five tips to help your company make the most of LinkedIn:
1. Create strong profiles – and keep them updated
Ensure your profile and those of all your team members are presented as effectively as possible and are up to date. People will check you out on LinkedIn and it could be embarrassing for you or your employer if you’re still showing your old place of work five years on from the move! Give details about your career and education, and ensure awards and qualifications are kept up to date too. Use a good quality photograph taken in a professional situation and use the skills section to list your professional capabilities, which can be endorsed by connections.
2. Make the most of your company page
Your company page is important, so make sure it creates the right impression. Spend time on company description text that clearly and succinctly summarises what your business does and what makes it different. Add your logo and a background image that illustrates the work of your company. LinkedIn also allows you to list the areas of business in which your company specialises, which is a good opportunity to highlight your expertise.
3. Post content
Sharing short updates is a great way to keep your network updated about your company and its achievements. If you succeed in earning positive press coverage, post the link and do the same for blog posts on your own website. LinkedIn encourages you to post content directly to its pages. We prefer clients to post blogs on their site and share them through LinkedIn – this drives readers back to your website and, if you’ve got good embedded links in the content and well set-up blog pages, hopefully encourages them to explore further, engaging with your brand more deeply. Try to include photos, videos and infographics – it will make your content stand out and you’ll get more engagement. Keep your content professional. Leave personal material for Facebook and to a lesser degree Twitter.
It’s good to encourage staff to share content from your company page to their LinkedIn contacts to amplify the messaging but there are implications for Financial Services companies. You may need a social media policy in place and staff should be aware of the FCA rules that forbid promotions without appropriate risk warnings.
4. Join groups
Joining relevant professional groups on LinkedIn can help to raise your company’s profile. It can also allow you to keep up to date with issues in your industry and provide an opportunity to join the debate by commenting on posts – or contributing your own. You can look for suitable groups to join by using the search box at the top of the page. Alternatively, place your cursor over the ‘Interests’ tab below the search box. Select ‘Groups’, then click ‘Discover’ and LinkedIn will suggest groups you may be interested in.
5. Grow your network
The more connections you have, the more people will see your content. You may be able to import your email address book and connect with those in it, but we don’t recommend you ‘accept all’. Go through the list manually, you’ll probably find plenty of people you don’t want to connect with! Go through old business cards as well, it can be a chance to reconnect with someone useful. Then use conferences, meetings and phone calls as an opportunity to make new connections. To encourage people to follow your company make sure your website includes a LinkedIn button. Don’t accept connections from anyone unless you know them or want to (when you come to post content you want to know you’re posting it to people that matter to your business, not a bunch of recruitment consultants who asked you to connect).
Managing your LinkedIn account doesn’t need to be very time consuming. If you get the LinkedIn app on your phone you can check content shared by other people when you’re on the train (or bored in a meeting). Adding contacts can be done over weeks, rather than all in one go, and only needs to take a few minutes a day.
To discuss how we can help with your content marketing strategy please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org or ring 0115 907 8412.