For many marketers LinkedIn is quickly becoming the go-to social media platform. The network's huge reach (122 million members) and versatility has moved it far beyond its previous incarnation as "Facebook for business people" to a place where companies can now recruit talent, generate leads and create new branding opportunities.
Up until earlier this year LinkedIn Company Pages were isolated outside the stream of regular users; an island unto itself that was difficult to discover unless specifically directed there. Engineers at LinkedIn, however, have since tweaked the pages to provide businesses an opportunity to show the human side of their organization by enabling followers to receive updates and insights about job opportunities, company and product news and recent employee moves.
And sharing through this stream is increasingly important as more people move to social platforms to learn about businesses and products.
According to recent study 21.3 million people in 2011 discovered a new brand or company through social media, and another 22.5 million say they use platforms such as LinkedIn to learn more about brands and products. That's a lot of opportunity you may be missing.
Below are six suggestions to help optimize your LinkedIn efforts.
1. Set your goal for Company Pages
Rebecca Corliss, marketing manager at HubSpot, says her company uses LinkedIn Company Pages primarily to generate new leads and promote company products.
“We consider our followers potential leads and promoters for our company,” said Corliss during a recent webinar. The idea, she says, is to engage an audience with top quality content so that even people who will never be leads can share with others who might become leads.
In fact, she says, through LinkedIn HubSpot has a 20 percent visitor/lead rate.
What does that mean? Well, for every 1,000 visitors that arrive to HubSpot through LinkedIn 200 become qaulity leads. Pretty impressive numbers.
Decide what you want to accomplish through Company Pages and tailor a plan to meet those goals.
2. Complete your company page
According to LinkedIn, there are over 2 million businesses with a Company Page. The network provides users an opportunity to integrate rich media content, hyperlinked banners, Twitter feeds, links to websites and blogs, as well as videos from YouTube into a profile.
To leverage these options focus on the following:
- Build out your products and services pages on your profile. Include an image, business description, list of key features and a landing page URL to your site. Also consider adding a link to a special promotion as well as embed YouTube videos featuring both on the products and services.
- Showcase your company using available customization options. Post available jobs in the LinkedIn company profile page.
- Feature products and services on your company’s LinkedIn page, and solicit recommendations from satisfied customers.
- By inserting your blog feed URL your most recent posts will appear on your Company Page.
3. Build followers
The more followers you have the greater your visibility. It’s a simple concept yet so many people seem to struggle with different ways to grow this important network. Your followers are your network and promoters and the more you promote your Company Page the greater ROI you will experience.
Below are four ways to quickly build up a community for your company page:
- Flourishing on LinkedIn is a team effort and the best way to succeed is employing a holistic approach that enlists utilize company pages, groups, and individual users. Encourage employees to link up with your Company Page to extend your messages overall reach. The more they share the more you succeed.
- Don't neglect other players in your space. Watch and follow their activities and interact with them. The more you interact the more attention you will receive.
- Let everyone know you are now on LinkedIn. Send a message to your list of customers and prospects.
4. Engage and network
Imagine attending an industry networking event and never speaking to anyone. In that same vein, you can’t just throw up a Company Page and think your work on LinkedIn is done. You have to engage the people and businesses you’d like to work with to expand your influence.
- Promote and refer the companies that are important to your business by liking, sharing and commenting on their updates. These companies may also return the favor and help to promote your business on LinkedIn as well.
- LinkedIn’s advanced search features can help you find and follow industry partners and companies that you are interest in doing business with.
5. Provide value-added updates
The best way to engage followers is to provide interesting and value-added updates geared toward helping them achieve success. It shouldn't always be about you (although LinkedIn does encourage companies to share product and employee information- think success stories). This is your opportunity to establish your company as an industry expert.
- Use LinkedIn Groups and Answers to showcase your expertise in your space. Present valuable business solutions to your network and customers will certainly start paying attention.
- Rich media helps grab people's attention. Include images in your company updates and you're more likely to stand out.
- Share stats, trends and other valuable resources that help marketers and businesses be more successful.
- Try ending status updates with a question. This is a great strategy to engage followers.
6. Monitor and focus your efforts
The Analytics tab for Company Pages provides detailed data on the page's visitors that is visible only to administrators. Follow these three steps to make sure you are measuring results properly.
- Monitor analytics to learn who's visiting your company's page, which areas interest them, and how this data compares against similar companies.
- Study monthly data graphs on traffic and how users interact with your content to help tailor further efforts.
- Analyze data on industries, functions, and companies that make up your followers.
If you have any questions or comments please feel free to email me at tim@bluefountainmedia,com or use the space provided below.