Social media lay people may regard LinkedIn as, primarily, a venue for networking and for career advancement—but smart business owners know better. They know that LinkedIn is nothing less than a critical tool for brand enhancement and lead generation. Indeed, when used properly, LinkedIn can actually be used to drive traffic to a company website and ultimately to garner higher sales. The trick, of course, is having the right LinkedIn marketing strategy. Six basic pointers are offered below.
1. Complete Your Profiles
When you visit your LinkedIn profile, you should see a status bar, telling you how “complete” your account is. If you do not have 100 percent profile completeness for your LinkedIn profile, then finishing your profile optimization should be priority #1. Your LinkedIn profile will likely be one of the top five search engine results when your company is Googled, so making sure you have it completely up-to-date with accurate information is an essential part of your branding.
A related LinkedIn marketing strategy is to ensure that you, and all of your employees, have your individual profiles connected to the corporate one. Again, this is all about branding, and about gaining as much exposure for your company as you can. Connecting your company page to as many individuals and professional networks as possible only helps you to establish a respected online brand.
2. Join Groups
Of course, to develop a really healthy LinkedIn marketing strategy, you need to recognize that LinkedIn is not just about brand enhancement; it is actually a tremendously effective tool for lead generation. Just how effective is it? LinkedIn is 277 percent more effective for lead generation than Facebook is, some studies show!
A great way to tap into that lead generation potential is to join some professional groups. Doing so extends your reach and your sphere of influence, but it is important that you make every effort to join groups beyond the obvious ones. If you are a financial planner, for example, you shouldn’t just join other financial planning groups; join groups of small business owners, lawyers, and other professionals, as well, because they are the ones who may need financial planning services.
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3. Create Groups
In addition to joining groups, you, as a business owner, can also create your own group. This is a great way for establishing your expertise. Use your group to answer frequently asked questions, to share daily “tips” related to your industry, and to opine on pertinent, industry-specific headlines. This is an invaluable way to market directly to a targeted group that is interested in your niche.
4. Use LinkedIn Direct Ads
LinkedIn is not necessarily a social network that users flock to for fun an frivolity; when on LinkedIn, most users have professional networking in mind, which means that it is a good place to find other professionals seeking to partner or to make use of your company’s services. You can attract some of these “hot” leads to your company site by using LinkedIn Direct Ads, which function in a manner very similar to Google AdWords. Particularly important: Make sure that these ads send users directly to a landing page, not simply to your home page!
5. Use LinkedIn for Inbound Marketing
Businesses can also make their LinkedIn marketing strategy an inbound one, using the social platform to share compelling information that establishes industry authority and repute. Whether it’s an article, a company blog post, a video, or a webinar, using LinkedIn to share educational content is a great way to establish your brand and to send traffic to your website. Make sure to track the clicks and shares that your content gets, and to revise your strategies accordingly; if you get more shares on videos than on blog entries, then double up on the videos that you share.
6. Use LinkedIn to Research Leads
When you do get new leads, turn to LinkedIn to do a bit of research. Check out the LinkedIn profile of your most recent lead, and find out more about that lead’s industry, position, or objectives. Having this kind of information can prove useful as you nurture your lead; you can customize your offers using information gleaned about the prospect in question—one final LinkedIn marketing strategy that no business should neglect!
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Photo by: by Jurgen Appelo