1. Create a Professional Profile for LinkedIn Marketing
Like just about every social network, LinkedIn is based on individual user profiles. However, these take on even greater importance in LinkedIn’s case.
A commonly-held assumption is that LinkedIn profiles are little more than online resumes. However, profiles serve a larger purpose. They provide the foundation from which every interaction stems, enabling you to create connections, build a network, and establish yourself as a credible, knowledgeable resource.
In addition, a profile maps to your goals, whether that’s networking, job hunting, influencing, or sales. Further, because you can associate your profile with your company, they provide a gateway to LinkedIn Company Pages, which we’ll discuss a little later in this post.
If you’re going to create a professional profile, you might as well make it a good one. Here are a few tips:
- Include a business-oriented photo. This isn’t Facebook, people!
- Write your professional summary with relevant keywords. This makes it easier to be found in LinkedIn search.
- Give and ask for recommendations. There is no substitute for the kind of third-party validation a recommendation can provide.
- Customize your default URL. LinkedIn allows you to change the URL that points to your profile and, believe me, when you see the default it provides, you’ll want to. It’s best to use your name in the profile.
- Complete your profile to 100%. A completed profile is a productive one!
2. Join LinkedIn Groups (or start one) to use LinkedIn for Marketing.
Much could be said about the value LinkedIn Groups provide, but let me summarize it this way: joining relevant groups and sharing useful content can do more to help you get in front of the people you want to reach better than anything else.
By “relevant,” I mean those that are related to your industry. And by “useful” I mean that in which other group members would appreciate and find value.
Here are the types of groups to consider:
- Location based groups such as the Chamber of Commerce, local chapters of industry associations, and local professional networking groups;
- Groups related to your industry including those started by individuals around an industry topic, as well as groups started by other companies. If you can’t find one or more that fit the bill, start one;
- Professional groups such as industry associations.
Be sure to read the group’s rules before contributing content or engaging in discussions.
Groups that aren’t monitored or well-maintained tend to get filled with spam content. I would heartily encourage you to review some of the discussions prior to joining a group to ensure it doesn’t fall into that category.
If you do join a group (you can join up to 50) become an active participant by commenting on group discussions and posting content – both yours and others – that adds value to the conversation. This could include such content as blog posts, whitepapers, and videos. Being in a group is a great way to use LinkedIn for your marketing efforts.
3. Read LinkedIn Today
Launched last year, LinkedIn Today is a vital resource for industry-related information shared by those in your network and others. I use it all the time to stay on top of trends and changes taking place within my industry.
4. Create Content Using Slideshare
In 2012, LinkedIn purchased Slideshare, the platform where you can upload and share Powerpoint presentations.
Because presentations can be embedded into your professional profile and on Company Pages, businesses can use it as a LinkedIn marketing tool.
As one blogger I read put it, “Slideshare is like Pinterest for business,” so why not make use of it.
5. Start a Company Page for LinkedIn Marketing
The cherry on top of the LinkedIn marketing sundae is Company Pages. These used to be rather lame, static business profiles that few people ever paid attention to, but they are that no longer.
Company Pages (like Bizzuka’s LinkedIn page) are LinkedIn’s version of Facebook Pages that enable businesses to tell their company story, feature products and services, and spotlight customer recommendations.
LinkedIn members can follow your company so they see your updates in their news feed and interact with you via comments, likes, and shares (see, I told you they are like Facebook Pages).
You can automatically syndicate blog posts, include video content, and add a jobs page. There’s even an analytics section that will help you see who’s visiting your page, find out what they’re engaging with, see a list of followers, and track what updates are creating the most interest and traffic.
The social media management tool Hootsuite now incorporates LinkedIn analytics in its Pro version, so users can see that data right from the Hootsuite dashboard.
As you can see, there are many ways to take advantage of the benefits LinkedIn marketing provides its 200+ million users for marketing purposes. For even more insights, visit LinkedIn’s marketing solutions site.