When it comes to social media for small business marketing, LinkedIn stands head and shoulders above the rest. It’s the world’s number one social platform for business. All of the top decision-makers are there, so you need to be there too! Investors, CEOs, CFOs – everybody is approachable on LinkedIn. It’s like having a limitless Rolodex, so you can reach top managers and founders without the red tape. Ask anyone: “Do I need LinkedIn to market my business?” The answer is always going to be yes with an exclamation point. The free version of the platform is helpful, but the possibilities multiply when you upgrade to the paid version. This unlocks permission to contact people you don’t know. Either way, if you’re a small business owner, using LinkedIn for marketing is an excellent way to create new business opportunities. It helps you level the playing field and elevate your game.
LinkedIn connects over 600 million professionals worldwide, from the world’s largest corporations to self-employed individuals. Naturally, being where the top decision-makers are hanging out offers you great opportunities to promote your business. But you need to understand how to use the platform effectively. Because LinkedIn is very business-oriented, the way you post and engage on this platform is quite different from other social media platforms. It’s great to post lots of pictures of your cat on Facebook and Instagram. But that’s not what creates the best impression on LinkedIn.
Optimize your profile to create an at-a-glance resume.
Your LinkedIn profile is a hugely valuable asset. It’s a dynamic home base that exists to inform others about who you are, what you do, and how you help. Filling out the details fully is just part of the work you need to do when optimizing a LinkedIn profile. The profile section has space for critical info, skills, and work experience as well as your bio and summary. This is an excellent way to showcase your expertise. You’ll also make it faster and easier to find you by including keywords and keyword phrases. All of these factors should be optimized to ensure you’re being found in search engine inquiries and by the human visitors – your potential clients. Your brief description of what you do should feature keywords that lead potential collaborators to you. And please don’t forget your banner. The LinkedIn banner is a billboard for your brand – don’t settle for an empty gray or banner as your first impression to potential customers.
LinkedIn does some of the networking for you.
Your profile’s listing on job history and education also prompts LinkedIn to help you network based on where you’ve been and what you’ve done. Did you attend a university? LinkedIn will search for other graduates of your school who are on the platform as well. When you look up a company, the platform will note if another graduate of your school works there. Likewise, you’ll search if a co-worker from a previous job now works at the company you’re interested in. The more you can reconnect with people from your past, the more you can grow your network. All of these factors should be optimized to ensure you’re being found in search engine inquiries and by the human visitors – your potential clients.
Making connections is the name of the LinkedIn game.
If you’re able to afford a monthly fee, LinkedIn’s paid Sales Navigator tool is a great way to expand your network. This tool enables you to reach out directly to people who aren’t already connected to you. That’s a privilege that doesn’t come with your free membership. Remember, every new connection you make gets a chance to see your critical info, skills, and work experience as well as your bio and summary. This is an excellent way to showcase yourself. Including keywords and keyword phrases in all your descriptions is useful here as well. All of these factors help you make new allies and find new potential clients.
Get and give recommendations to stay top of mind.
LinkedIn recommendations are another form of LinkedIn connection currency. And they’re golden because they can’t be bought. You can’t edit them yourself although you can hide a recommendation that you’d prefer people not to see. So they really provide valuable information about you. Asking a former colleague for a recommendation is one more way LinkedIn helps you broaden your network now. Don’t forget to give recommendations as well. Your former colleagues and current clients will appreciate your support and they just might return the favor.
Don’t try to sell your services directly.
If you’re just starting out, you might be thinking: “Hey, since I can use LinkedIn for marketing my business, I’ll deluge the platform with sales pitches.” Unfortunately, that won’t work. You’ll just be proving that you’re an amateur. Instead, approach it more strategically.
- Start with building your profile so that it’s clear what I do and how I can help others (clients and partners).
- Ask for recommendations from people you have worked with in the past.
- Post content about topics that are relevant to my business and my brand.
Nobody wants to do business with someone who sounds desperate. Instead, when you introduce yourself to new people, share insightful information, and show that you are invested in the success of others, you should find good success using LinkedIn for marketing.
Create posts that relate to your brand.
That leaves many choices for you, from reposting articles in other media to posting your own observations. You can be “personable” while wearing your online “business suit.” But whenever you post on LinkedIn, remember that you will be evaluated for your business knowledge and credibility. When potential employers or partners want to pre-screen desirable candidates, LinkedIn is where they start. So you need to show that you are up to date, astute, and expert. Your comments on others’ posts are another way for potential collaborators to get to know you. So as with everything else in life, you want the online you to be a great version of the real you!
Consider posting long-form content on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is an excellent source for people who are searching for what they need – including you! So consider creating long-form content such as blog articles that add value for your target audience. Vary your content in order to increase your search visibility and authority on the platform. Support your articles, blogs, and comments with photos and videos. Content with images gets nearly 600% more engagement. Your LinkedIn visuals can range from photos to typography, including quotes and infographics. Once you supply your audience with powerful high-quality visuals, be sure to include a call to action. With LinkedIn, a great call to action is just asking your network to share your post with their network. There’s never a need to be salesy.
Dive deep into analytics to create insight.
Once you’ve gotten the hang of posting and engaging on LinkedIn, the next step in using LinkedIn for marketing is getting familiar with analytics reporting. These reports tell you everything you need to know in order to create more content. You’ll see which posts were popular versus the ones that weren’t. Statistics and analytics will show you who is really paying attention to you. You’ll learn so much about your audience and your business when you pull up the reports. Every social media platform monitors the data across your posts to reveal what generates the most traffic. LinkedIn is no different, so use what is available to you free of charge. Pay attention to different attributes such as industry and demographics. Don’t be afraid to cut out what doesn’t work and always be sure to repeat what is working.
Understanding how to use LinkedIn comes back to understanding who is on the platform and what they care about. Just like you, millions of other professionals are looking to expand their networks and scout out interesting new clients and opportunities. Once you realize that your aim is to support and collaborate, you’re in line to discover that LinkedIn can power you and your business to new heights – and make you feel great in the process.
If you’d like to know more about using LinkedIn for marketing your business, check out our Marketing Production services to see how we can help.