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How to use LinkedIn effectively

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LinkedIn is the online channel for professional networking. Similar to Facebook, LinkedIn offers ways to promote businesses, start discussions and have a personal profile. So we’re going to introduce you to the different parts and how to use them. And if you think that LinkedIn won’t work for you or your business, just bear this in mind; LinkedIn drives more traffic to corporate websites and blogs than any other social media site and 51% of companies have acquired a B2B customer from LinkedIn.

Personal Profiles

Put simply, this is the online version of your CV. LinkedIn has adapted over the years to include a number of features including endorsements (remember how much people trust product reviews, but here you’re the product), volunteering, portfolio opportunities and training courses. Keep this up-to-date with job titles, experience, training, examples of your work and connect with your contacts and this will be a useful professional profile.

Share interesting content with your network; this reminds your network that you’re around and engaged with the industry. And if you change your job or want a change in your profile to be shown to your network then make sure that the button on the right hand side of your profile is green “Yes, publish an update to my network about my profile changes” and then people can see when you do something new.

Company Pages

LinkedIn company pages are similar to Facebook business pages and LinkedIn guide you through the process and offer a lot of advice about small business marketing on LinkedIn. So use it, the information is free! You create a business profile and then you can send out updates such as posting company blog posts, industry news and job vacancies. However, people have to ‘follow’ your business page for these updates to appear in their home feed. So the challenge here is to get people to follow your business page.

To get followers you need to make people aware that you’re on LinkedIn, and also give them a reason to follow you – sharing interesting content, sharing jobs they might be interested in etc. Make sure you include a LinkedIn button on your website so that people can see you’re there, promote it in email marketing, promote it in LinkedIn Groups (see below) or just simply ask people to follow your business there. Also, by sticking to the general rules of social media and making sure you’re sharing engaging content for your consumers, if you do this and people share it or ‘like’ it then it will likely come up in the home feed of people that they’re connected to, and your content will share your presence on the site.

Groups

LinkedIn describes groups as places “for professionals in the same industry or with similar interests to share content, find answers, post and view jobs, make business contacts, and establish themselves as industry experts”. So you need to be careful that if you’re pushing sales messages that they’re done in the right way. Firstly, join groups where your potential customers are. However, you can’t join a group as a company page so you’ll need to do this with your personal profile and show that you are connected to the company. Of if the relevant group doesn’t exist then set one up. This way you can set yourself up as an industry expert, manage networking in the group and inspire confidence in your ability in that field. And make sure you contribute generally to the group rather than pushing sales messages. They’re places for networking and conversation rather than hard sales. But with the statistics for B2B conversion on LinkedIn high you’ll have to trust that in time the conversions will come.

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