How Businesses Can Get the Most Out of LinkedIn

 

linkedin-headline2.pngIt’s not surprising that LinkedIn is still the dominant source for recruiters and job seekers. A new survey from Bullhorn Reach found that, of all jobs posted on social networking sites 77 percent are on LinkedIn. Twitter was second with 54 percent, and 25 percent were on Facebook.

 

That’s significant for jobseekers and employers looking to hire quality candidates, but it’s also significant for businesses looking to expand their brand. Why? Think about the evolution of LinkedIn over just the last few years. It’s gone from a place to post your resume and business profile to the go-to business site for news, networking, information, connections and much more for a huge range of industries.

 

In February 2013, HP became the first company to hit 1 million followers on LinkedIn – a huge milestone for many reasons, but one of the biggest advantages is that LinkedIn can help any company expand its reach, and that translates into new clients and greater visibility. Here are some tips to get the most out of LinkedIn for your business:

 

Create a community, get insights

LinkedIn is an ideal avenue to create a passionate industry community for your business. For example, you might start a poll on your LinkedIn business page about trends in your industry and ask people to weigh in with their opinion and potential solutions to problems.

 

For example, we’ve created SmallBizNation on LinkedIn just for smaller businesses, and it’s been great to hear feedback about not only the technology today’s businesses want, but also the support they need, and how we can help. Create your own community, and you’ll get great insights from others that just might spark new business ideas, as well as make new connections.

 

Increase engagement

Creating a community is one way to engage with others, but it’s just as easy to reach out while you’re building that community. Nick Besbeas, vice president of marketing for LinkedIn, has called LinkedIn “an engagement channel that can’t be replicated elsewhere,” and that is true. Take a look at your network, and make it a goal to reach out to at least 3 new connections each week. Tell them what you’re doing with your business, and ask how you can help build theirs.

 

Use LinkedIn for marketing

A Hubspot survey of more than 5,000 businesses about the effectiveness of LinkedIn for marketing found that LinkedIn traffic was a staggering 277 percent more effective in generating the highest visitor-to-lead conversion rate. How can your business take advantage of that? Hubspot surmised that businesses that target other businesses have instant access to their target market, given the stats from the survey. It makes sense to look there first when marketing your products and services.

 

Don’t go overboard

There’s a big difference between posting your thoughts about an industry development and posting an ad for your business on a discussion page. Tempting, yes, but not effective. It’s far better to offer astute thoughts on a business problem that your company can solve, and then offer feedback on how other companies can save money doing it, for example.

 

You could also use a recent hot news story as a jumping off point to explain what your company does, or to point out industry issues and how you can help. In the end, businesses – and business owners – who can garner the respect of others with their insight first will likely get the call for new business later.

 

Your Turn: What have been your most effective strategies for using LinkedIn as a business tool? How has it helped your business? Any advice for others? Let us know!

 

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