This is the third of three blog posts on using LinkedIn as a new business tool. Here’s how I’ve divided them up.
On to part 3: promoting your company.
A few rules of thumb
Promoting in the social media channels is all about making connections and nurturing relationships. Here are a few pointers:
- Be consistent. This isn’t like running a TV spot where the commercial aires and then you sit back waiting for calls to come in. Social media marketing takes time, effort and patience. Either be consistent or don’t do it at all.
- Don’t be pushy. It’s very easy to unfollow or block people in social media. Learn through experimentation how to balance promotion and other communication with your prospects.
- Be genuine. People want to converse with real people. Act as you would in person and you’ll earn the respect of your audience.
Write a thorough personal profile
Consider your personal profile to be your online resume. When potential customers or partners seek you out, what do you want them to know about you? LinkedIn will guide you through completion of your profile in a few easy steps. Be sure to give some thought to the “skills and expertise” section. These labels become searchable categories, so include the areas of expertise that you want to show up for in searches. A missed opportunity by many is the “websites” field. Create descriptive links to important pages on your company website. Not only will these links help drive traffic to your site, but they’ll help with search engine optimization of your site as well.
Fill out your company profile
LinkedIn is more about individual people than it is about companies. At this point in time, there’s not a whole lot you can do with a company profile. That said, a complete, well-written profile demonstrates a level of professionalism expected by those who seek you out. Craft a descriptive company overview that paints an accurate picture of what your business does and how you differentiate yourself from the competition. Take advantage of the products/services tab and write succinct descriptions of your most important offerings.
Share news and articles to drive traffic to your company website
LinkedIn allows you to add updates to your business and personal profiles. When you write a press release, news update or blog post on your website, make a habit of adding a summary and link on LinkedIn back to that page on your website. You can even automate it by including a RSS feed from your company blog (click here if you’re not familiar with RSS feeds) or other free add-ons like the WordPress plug-in that I use.
If your website/blog is well designed and full of valuable information for your customer, then actively utilizing social media channels like LinkedIn provides a big opportunity to promote the content on your site, drive visitors there and further engage them.
Connect with industry organizations and media
One of the biggest complaints we hear about LinkedIn (and social media in general) is that “my customers are not using it”. First of all, it’s worth finding out for sure whether or not that assumption is true. You may be surprised. If you do in fact find it to be true, don’t underestimate the power of connecting with and capturing the attention of journalists, trade organizations, business journals, bloggers and leaders that have the power to spread your message to their big and likely qualified audiences. Believe us, they are on LinkedIn. Think of LinkedIn the way you might think of traditional PR. If you consistently push out good content, it’s likely to be picked up.
Give and you’ll receive
Consider how you can help other people on LinkedIn. Make introductions between contacts that you think would benefit from knowing each other by sending a LinkedIn message. Write recommendations on the pages of impressive people with whom you’ve done business. Comment on interesting posts written by others and share ones you enjoyed. Be genuine and others will be happy to help you as well.
Thanks for reading. I’d love to hear about how you’ve found success with LinkedIn and any tips your might have, so please feel free to add comments below.