Social media for business – LinkedIn

| February 20, 2018

In my last article I discussed how Facebook could be used by businesses for social media marketing, and in particular for business to customer (B2C) businesses. However LinkedIn is my preferred platform for business to business (B2B) businesses.

LinkedIn has been around since 2003, which, in social media terms is also known as ‘the beginning of time’. LinkedIn is so popular it grows at a rate of one new user every second – so it’s claimed. While Facebook‘s demographic is wide and varied, LinkedIn is the biggest business networking platform with the people on LinkedIn also more likely being decision-makers in a business. That is why it is my preferred platform for B2B businesses.

The mood and mindset are different with LinkedIn to other social media platforms. Messages are professional and business-like, and funny pictures and chats about your birthday party scorned upon. Everything in LinkedIn is positioned around building business relationships and advancing your career.

So how do you use LinkedIn to market your business? The first part is to customize your profile by: –

• Completing you profile – yes so that it is 100% complete. Your LinkedIn profile usually ranks on the first page when you do a search for your name so you want a complete and informative profile, so you make the best possible first impression.

• Customising your website and also your LinkedIn url. Differentiate yourself by making the website not just your company website and make your LinkedIn url as close to your brand as you can.

• Be interesting in the summary. Tell people a little about you, what you do, who you help and how you can help the reader.

Once you have set up you profile you need to start using LinkedIn – it’s not a set and forget platform – remember it is a social media platform.

Here’s some things that you can do quite easily.

Join targeted groups
If you’ve an executive recruiter in the superannuation industry then join groups to do with superannuation, recruitment, human resources, and technology. By joining the conversation or adding to the conversation you crate and become part of your own niche community
Connect your LinkedIn account to Twitter so when you post something on LinkedIn it also gets posted on Twitter. The more visible you are the greater the interaction you’ll get

Connect with everyone
There ae two schools of thought about LinkedIn connections – the “I only connect to people I know professionally” school which I used to belong to. My LinkedIn contacts were treated as a valuable and protected resource that would never be shared. The other school is “I connect with everyone” and this is where I now belong.

Why, well if you have a shop and only allow people you know come and have a look around you have dramatically reduced your potential market or customer base. So, anyone that wants to connect with me I accept, however, I still protect my contacts and would never share them. It also increases my overall network of 2nd and 3rd degree connections and increases my visibility and presence on LinkedIn.

Update information and posts regularly and frequently
Remember LinkedIn is a social media platform so be social and communicate and interact on LinkedIn. It is though a ‘professional’ platform so make sure what you write would be in a style you would write on your business website or blog, or on a newsletter to clients.

Take LinkedIn seriously
Like any other marketing channel LinkedIn will work only if you take it seriously. Don’t use it haphazardly with incomplete profile, unprofessional interactions or infrequent engagement. Spend a bit of time getting to know LinkedIn, see what others do on LinkedIn, and stay abreast of any related news or changes to LinkedIn.

My secondary social media platform for both B2B and B2C businesses is Twitter which I’ll discuss in my next article, so you can ‘Run Your Business Better’.

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Stephen Barnes

Stephen Barnes is the principal of management consultancy Byronvale Advisors and the author of ‘Run Your Business Better’. He has spent over 20 years advising clients from start-ups to publicly listed companies and prides himself on understanding their issues and producing pragmatic solutions.