LinkedIn is serious business. We mean that in every sense of the word. It is typically seen as a more serious social media platform, dedicated to professional life. But, as a business itself, it has been extremely successful to the point that tech giant Microsoft purchased the company for $26.2 billion in 2016.
At one point, LinkedIn was considered somewhere to go if you wanted to change job or career but now the platform has a wide variety of applications for all levels of employee, manager and owner.
Is LinkedIn worth it?
While we tend to hear more about Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, LinkedIn is an essential profile to have in the modern working world.
Here are just some of the reasons why making an effort on LinkedIn is worth it.
1 – Access to Professionals
There are currently (at the time of writing in August 2019) more than 645 million members on LinkedIn. These span 200 countries and more than 30,000,000 companies.
Given the more business focus of the platform, more users are over 30 (61% between 30-64) than under (23% between 18-29).
2 – Access to Decision Makers
If you look at the types of people that profiles create on LinkedIn, you’ll understand why it is considered ‘serious business’. With users being slightly older than on some other platforms, it’s safe to say these people are advanced in their careers. Decision-makers congregate here. Hence, approximately 45% of LinkedIn users are part of the C-suite, directors, upper and senior management.
3 – Access to Information
Facebook wants to focus on “friends, family and community” and Twitter is very much in the now of breaking news and trending topics.
LinkedIn sees 2 million posts, articles and videos published every day. Other platforms are more focused on generating engagement for B2C companies, LinkedIn is the channel of choice for B2B. 94% of B2B marketers that are active on social media use LinkedIn to publish content. This is primarily because they know their content will be seen by the right audience.
4 – Access during the Workday
A valid reason that B2B companies are unsure about using Facebook for advertising is the time they are reaching their intended audience. Facebook is a tremendous advertising platform but is not suited to all types of business.
B2B advertisers feel their audience is on Facebook during personal time and maybe tuned out to their ads. Statistics show that LinkedIn is accessed via mobile only 57% of the time. This is much lower than Facebook’s 88% or YouTube’s 70%.
This means that desktop access is more likely, and therefore you can reach people during the workday in ‘work-mode’.
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How to use LinkedIn for small business
LinkedIn started as a recruiting tool, but it has evolved into so much more.
For small businesses, there are two principal ways of using the platform.
- Creating a personal brand for key employees
- Creating a company page to promote your business
Creating a personal brand for key employees
The one constant across marketing has been the value of peer to peer communication. Whether it’s online or offline we value a recommendation from colleagues, family and friends above all others.
On LinkedIn, you connect and build relationships with like-minded individuals and across relevant industries.
To put yourself in the best position to make meaningful connections, here are some top tips when creating or optimising your LinkedIn profile.
1 – Use a quality profile picture
First impressions count. This is as true online as it is offline. Use a good quality headshot for your profile picture for your LinkedIn account. People want to see who they are connecting with. Of course, you can use a picture from your phone but make sure you are visible, and the dimensions are within the parameters required.
2 – A good descriptive headline
Your profile headline is the first thing people will read. Make sure you have told them what you do by the end of it. Supervisor or CEO is probably not a much searched for term. Similarly, your company name is helpful but if the audience is not familiar with your brand, they may not know to search for it. Try and include the product or service as this is more than likely going to be contained in the search query.
A broad descriptor like ‘digital marketing’ is a good start but “I help companies drive engagement and lead generation through social media” gives a clear indication of what you offer as a professional, and where your expertise lies.
3 – Your summary is about YOU, not your company or employer.
You’ll have plenty of space to talk about the company on your LinkedIn Company Page, more about this later. Your summary should be about you – What is your mission? What do you believe? Why is that important? What have you achieved in this area?
Your headline, summary and in the sections on your experience you should use relevant to your role and industry keywords to help you rank higher in search results.
Once you’ve created your profile, unless you are active you are going to feel isolated. To get the most from your LinkedIn profile you need to do the following:
1 – Make connections
This is your opportunity to reach out to people and make connections. By getting connected you’ll be able to message them directly and build a rapport.
2 – Share relevant content
Once you’ve connected with like-minded individuals, you can begin to share content that is of interest to you but also, information you feel your connections will benefit from. Equally, you will begin to see content that your connections are sharing.
3 – Engage with people and their posts
Like other social networks, LinkedIn uses an algorithm to identify content that it feels is relevant to each user. This increases the likelihood that you will engage with the content. By doing this, you can expect to see more of this type of content. By engaging – liking, commenting, sharing – with your connection’s content, you will both begin to build up recognition and a relationship with the connection and send signals to LinkedIn that you want to see more on this topic and/or more from this person.
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Create a Company Page for your small business
Now that you have established your personal brand, you can turn your attention to your company.
A common mistake is to gloss over your personal profile and concentrate on the company page. But as we stated earlier, peer-to-peer recommendations are still incredibly strong. People will want to find out about the people running the company. Hence, a completed and compelling personal profile is as, if not more important than a proper company page.
We will be creating an eBook on LinkedIn for Small Business with an in-depth look at how it can benefit your company.
In the meantime, the minimum you need to do to get started is:
1 – Logo and cover image
So many company pages have a blank background where a cover image should be. Adding a company logo and cover image is a powerful way to build a brand. Think about adding pictures of the town you work in, your products, services, or workspace.
2 – Complete your About Us section
Share your story (for SEO). Why did you start your business? Who are your clients? What’s the best way to get in touch with you? Describe your specialities in clear and concise terms – and aim to include keywords that will help your page rank higher in search results.
3 – Links to your website
When creating a Company Page, you’re required to include a URL for your business. If you don’t have a website, fill this in with your LinkedIn profile or other personal sites.
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