Following Microsoft’s purchase of LinkedIn in 2016 for $26.2 Billion, the enterprise networking service has seen consistent growth in member numbers, making it a vital part of many businesses’ marketing strategy.
With 40% of all internet users estimated to be users of the professional social network, we have put together a comprehensive guide on how you can use LinkedIn for your business.
LinkedIn first began back in 2003. Within its first month, it had attracted only 4,500 members. Fast forward to 2017, there are now over 500 million users. This equates to two new members signing up to LinkedIn every second. A staggering 40% of whom check the platform every day. Don’t just be wowed by the numbers. What’s really worth highlighting is that fact that one in three professionals in the world has a LinkedIn account, and 49% of the key decision makers use LinkedIn for business purposes.
LinkedIn allows individuals to blow their own business profile trumpets. Profiles are designed to showcase professional backgrounds, which acts like a traditional CV. Users can connect with current and past colleagues, leave each other endorsements and recommendations.
The platform can open doors for people and help them to find new opportunities for business development and careers, as well as to connect with colleagues. One of the key reasons behind the success of LinkedIn is that it adds a much-needed human element that many job boards and recruitment websites lack.
Moreover, LinkedIn allows recruiters to search and filter candidates based on the key skills that are important to them. If that wasn’t enough, LinkedIn boasts nearly three times the conversation rates for B2B leads when compared to Facebook and Twitter.
It’s time to bring your business on LinkedIn up to date. If your business presence on LinkedIn amounts to a personal page with limited information, you need to grab the bull by its horns. Your company needs a presence on the network to gain access to the full range of benefits it can offer to all aspects of your business, from recruiting to sales.
LinkedIn’s fastest growing demographics, students and recent college graduates, weigh in at over 40 million accounts on the platform. Via the network, you’re allowed to publish job postings, but a more valuable approach to recruitment is to empower your staff to find potential candidates using LinkedIn search, then to reach out directly and encourage them to join your team.
Using LinkedIn for business is all about your network and the connections you make— make sure you connect with the people you work with, and the people you meet at events.
One of the tools you can utilise when it comes to finding people is to leverage existing relationships to build new ones and grow your network. The real power of building a trusted and reputable LinkedIn page for your business is the ability to tap into existing connections and grow your brand through word-of-mouth and awareness amongst 2nd– and 3rd-degree connections. Rather than gaining as many connections and followers as you can, think about how you can work those relationships to uncover new opportunities to grow your business.
A company page helps other members learn about your business, your brand, opportunities, updates and jobs within your organisation. Company pages are a great way to establish your industry expertise. For example, Coca-Cola has over 1 million followers tuned into the valuable and timely content they share, which creates a greater sense of community.
Throughout the years, company pages have been viewed primarily as HR landing pages for brands. This is still one way to use LinkedIn, but the network is also becoming a key place to drive positive business results, raise brand awareness, present career opportunities and connect with potential customers. In short, the benefits of using a Company page are:
Creation of your LinkedIn page is very simple, but don’t rush it! You must create a strategic plan for your page and how to maximise its benefits.
Note: You must have an existing personal LinkedIn profile to create a company page.
Head to the Add a Company page and enter your company name and work email address. It’s based on an email to verify that you are eligible to create a page.
Just like Facebook, LinkedIn allows you to choose which employees can manage your page.
You need to provide some basic information about your business using several drop-down menus that will outline your industry, company size, employees and so on.
This is how current and new customers will recognise your brand. Upload your logo and choose a banner image to capture the feel of your business.
With only 2,000 characters to describe what your organisation does, and why potential followers should care about you, you need to be straight to the point. This is an important element to your page, so get your content team involved in crafting your messaging.
Company pages are SEO friendly. Did you know that Google previews up to 156 characters of page text? Make sure that your description leads with powerful, keyword-rich copy. Include keywords and phrases that describe your business, expertise and industry focus that you think people might search for since LinkedIn allows members to search for services and businesses, not just for people.
Showcase Pages are a free resource for your company page, which are perfect for showcasing a brand, business unit or new initiative.
Posting daily company updates is the most effective and positive way to start conversation, drive word of mouth and directly engage with target audience. Digital Allies share company news, blog posts, leadership pieces, which appear in the news feeds of each of our followers. Updates posted in the morning usually earn the highest engagement, with a slight bump occurring again after business hours but don’t let that stop you from experimenting to see what works best for your company.
Don’t post overly promotional messages, one-sided conversations are not engaging. If you do post company-related news, service updates or product announcements, make sure they deliver a specific benefit to your followers as well as being helpful and of use to your target marketing. It’s also important to interact with your followers. If they comment on your posts, make sure you comment back and acknowledge them. It’s always good to view your page from a customer’s point of view, ask yourself why should they be spending their time reading your company profile?
LinkedIn has included a handy analytics platform that shows changes in the size and composition of your follower community, as well as the activity on your page. It’s crucial to set targets, especially for acquiring followers who match your ideal customer profile and post updates designed to attract them. Engagement targets are also a good idea, LinkedIn provides a number of useful metrics on engagement, which allows you to optimise your future updates based on previous performance. Monitoring engagement metrics should help you to generate a steady increase in overall engagement in the space of a few months.
One way of expanding your reach on the platform is through LinkedIn Groups. Groups provide a place for professionals to network, share content and ideas, recruit talent and look for work, plus establishing industry authority and topical expertise.
To find a group with interests that align with your business goals or industry, use the search feature at the top of your LinkedIn homepage or check out ‘Groups you may like’. You can also create a new group based on whatever topic or industry you’d like.
Sponsored content on LinkedIn allows you to get your business in front of a wider audience outside of your own followers. Direct sponsored content does not appear on the Company or Showcase Page.
LinkedIn sponsored content, in other words, native ads, spreads your word out across all platforms (mobile, tablet, desktop) and uses comprehensive targeting options to reach exactly the audience you choose. You can target people by job title, level of seniority, location, company, group membership, and much more. You can use this to build relationships, drive leads and brand awareness. You can also decide whether you want to pay per click basis or per 1,000 impressions, meaning you can set your own budget. There are also a number of reporting metrics to help you accurately measure your ROI from LinkedIn sponsored content.
One example of the power of LinkedIn Sponsored content is HSBC’s use of the platform. As one of the largest commercial banks, they created a campaign around international business which was specifically targeted to the types of business they wanted to work with and engage with. From utilising sponsored content, it has given their marketing team an insight into what content is encouraging their market to interact and what types aren’t. It has also helped them to build up their brand nationally, shown their customers how HSBC can help them to connect with businesses around the world. They have also gained an additional 30,000 followers from the back of the campaign, all of which are active followers.
By now, you should have grasped the basics of crafting an effective Company page on LinkedIn and understood why it’s a useful and free resource to market and expand your business network.