Ink Business with LinkedIn!

LinkedIn, the 9-5 social network dubbed the “Facebook” for business. So with 47% of small businesses registered and 43% of marketers in the U.S obtaining at least one new customer through the network, why has 41% of the American population claimed ignorance to this site? There are still a great deal of people who make the mistake of seeing LinkedIn as the “set and forget” social network.

Many professionals building their own business join the service to form connections and network with others in their niche, but to leave it there is a mistake. LinkedIn has the capability to promote your products or services and start conversations with others in your field. Having a complete, up-to-date profile may even land you your next big opportunity. The networking and growth potential for your business is astonishing.

If you are unsure on how to unlock and ultimately harness this potential, then you are not alone. These 5 steps will help establish your place on the social network and begin generating leads and opportunities for your business.

1. Create your interactive LinkedIn Company Page

Your Company Page is a mini-website for potential customers. Visitors can access information most relevant to them by simply clicking on interactive tabs. Within the products and services section you can map out offerings and gather recommendations. These recommendations are prominently displayed on the right side-bar, which places the testimonials at the forefront of your page.

Add media rich, lead-generating content such as videos, sound files and slides to various sections and highlight each one of your products or services. Remember to add in questions, quotes or stats to keep your content not only interesting and diverse but up to date – nothing is more unappealing than outdated claims. Also, keep things simple – marketing offers stand out better when they aren’t surrounded by other offers.

2. Set goals with the help of analytics

Be sure to evaluate what content works best with your market by analysing your other social networks and competitors LinkedIn profiles. What content generates the most activity?  Which posts are leading to click-throughs and conversions on your website? Take a month to publish regularly on LinkedIn, and see what content does best in terms of activity and end-result. LinkedIn has some great analytics built-into the administrative view. Keep track of the ratio between impressions and actions.  Set goals for growing both.

3. Use question prompts to start conversation.

You have to be thoughtful about the content you post to LinkedIn.  Treating LinkedIn like just another billboard won’t result in the kind of engagement you need.  A number of companies have auto-publishing set up between their blogs and social networks.  Auto-publishing can help save you time, but it might be more worthwhile to schedule two thoughtful posts a day than five re-posts – sometimes less is more.  We’ve found that opening with a question does better than just posting a link.  So if you’re sharing content, think about how to position it as a prompt for starting a conversation and igniting further meaningful dialogue between you and your customer.

4. Target your posts.

A rule of Inbound Marketing is to know your audience. Sending the same message with public visibility might give you high volume, but think for a moment about how high-impact a well-targeted message can be. Internal LinkedIn studies have even shown a 66% increase in engagement through targeted updates.

To target your posts, select the “targeted audience” option, a box will pop up and go into detail based on company size, industry, function, seniority, or geography – a function that allows you to essentially tailor your demographic. When you begin selecting options, you will see how many people you are choosing to target. But be careful not to target too narrowly and risk losing potential audiences. There is an art to this, however with practice it can easily be executed with the added benefit of knowing more about what the people want, which leads to the final step…

5. Listen to your customers and thank your recommenders.

83% of consumers say reviews often or sometimes impact their purchase decisions. Reviews are an essential part of a buyer’s decision-making process. When a customer has taken the time to write you a recommendation, take the time to thank them. This action secures the positive experience of your loyal customer and encourages them to share their opinions again. For more information on customer lifecycle management, read my previous blog post here.

In addition to acknowledging these opinions, try to find ways to integrate reviews into your company’s products or services so that they sell themselves. Direct your leads to these reviews and encourage them to ask the recommenders further questions about their experience. This will give potential customers a third-party reference and further confidence in making their purchase decision.

John Englezos
John Englezos

John Englezos is the Founder of Inbound Guru, an Australian inbound marketing agency. When he isn't increasing his client's digital marketing performance, he can be found playing his '74 Strat or rooting for the New York Jets.