Small businesses often overlook LinkedIn in their social media plan, assuming that the network is designed primarily for job seekers and personal networking. Don’t fall for the same misguided logic. If a business wants to gain visibility and show off its professional services and savvy, LinkedIn cannot be ignored. Where else can you build your company’s reputation in a place where the masses are already gathered to focus on business?
LinkedIn is a place to do market research, to check in on your competitors, to follow industry trends, and to discover potential new employees. Make sure your company is utilizing the tools of this professionally directed social network to establish itself not only as existent but as an industry authority.
87% of users trust LinkedIn as a source of information affecting decision making. 49% find LinkedIn a good source for word of mouth information on brand experiences.* How should your business make the most of these numbers?
Build a Strong LinkedIn Company Page
- Post your logo. Company pages can have three images: the featured image, your standard logo, and the square image that will appear as your representation in newsfeeds. Make sure you crop your images as needed so these come out professionally – a logo chopped in half won’t make anyone look good.
- Create a company profile. A company is more than a name and a logo. Give others the ability to discover who you are and what you do. Define your brand. Show off your voice. Be clear and concise to maximize your impact.
- Include specifics, such as your website, your location(s), your telephone number(s), etc… Allow people to find you, discover more, and get in touch.
- Name your specialties. Where does your company excel? What do you want to be known for? This information should be clear in your profile.
- List your products and/or services. Record specific products and services your company offers with a brief description of each. Once a service or product is saved, customers and clients can leave recommendations, which lead to more credibility and also more traffic.
Maintain your Business’s Visibility
- Request recommendations. Following up on the last point above, every time someone adds a recommendation for a product or service of your small business, it shows up not only on your company page but also on that person’s newsfeed and profile. That’s three-fold advertising. Use it.
- Share content as a business. Perhaps you’re already doing this as an individual LinkedIn user. You know that sharing educational or newsworthy content is a way to establish yourself as a thought-leader. The same logic applies to businesses. Show your audience why your company is a leader in your field. Why should customers come to you? Of course, be sure to share not only your own content (blogs, articles, white papers, etc…) but also the ideas of others as well. Shouting “me, me, me” rarely builds an interested audience.
- Encourage employees to share content. When your business posts on LinkedIn, all who follow the business will see this news in their feed. To increase visibility, encourage employees and others in your network to “Like,” “Comment” on, or “Share” your business’s posts.
- Become a part of the conversation in Groups. And why stop at newsfeeds? Business page posts are often prime conversation starters for LinkedIn Group pages. There are groups for almost everything on LinkedIn from local professionals to industry leaders to city specific business alliances. Join the conversation, sharing your business’s content to gain greater visibility.
- Aid your website’s SEO. We’ve talked about how regular sharing on social media platforms helps with the search engine optimization of your small business website. What a happy side effect for your visibility efforts.
LinkedIn can be a powerful tool for networking and for those seeking a change in employment, but small businesses shouldn’t ignore its many possibilities. On January 9, 2013, LinkedIn announced it passed 200 million members. That’s quite the audience potential. Don’t let your business be left behind.
*Survey of 1,900 LinkedIn members, 5/2012