Building relationships via social networks is one of the most effective ways to market your business online. LinkedIn, a dedicated social network for business professionals around the globe, offers a range of ways to get your business noticed.
What is LinkedIn?
LinkedIn is a business-orientated social networking site that launched in May 2003. As of early 2011, the site has over 90 million registered business professionals from around the globe. Around half the current membership is located in the United States with over 10 million from Europe. The site boasts a range of integrated features including the ability to recommend colleagues, find and build relationships with professionals in your niche, and view/list available jobs based on location and sector.
Create a company profile
The most important way to promote your business on LinkedIn is to create a company profile. This includes a variety of details including your company’s products and services, its date of creation, senior members, and what types of relationships you are hoping to build. You can include assets on your page including logos and supporting material. If you’ve got a blog, you can even have your RSS feed on your LinkedIn page. Make sure you make your profile as interactive as possible; it represents your business online so you don’t want it to be lacking.
Make use of LinkedIn Answers
LinkedIn Answers allows registered users to post business questions in a particular niche and have other users answer them. If you have expertise in a specific area, don’t hesitate to post answers and improve your online credibility. This is a great way to spread the word about your business and show that you know what you’re talking about. Make sure your answers are detailed and well-written to help enhance your company’s reputation.
Update your status
Just like on Facebook, LinkedIn businesses and individual professionals can offer status updates to their networks. Make sure you update yours regularly with news on business activities, particularly new client wins, awards, training successes and staff appointments. You may also wish to share expert tips that can get picked up by other professionals. The key thing is to engage regularly with status updates so that people check what you’re saying.
Engage with polls
LinkedIn polls are extremely valuable for a number of reasons. They are inexpensive ways of conducting marketing research; the results can be fed into your business plans. The poll feature is very powerful; you can choose who has access to your poll and even send it to specific recipient if you need to target certain demographics. Don’t forget to take part in other peoples’ polls too; it shows willing and an interest in collaboration.
Advertise on LinkedIn
LinkedIn offers very niche advertising opportunities that can directly connect you with professionals within your sector, broken down by demographic, geographic location and other key factors. Whether you’re promoting a B2B service or inviting professionals to attend one of your events, LinkedIn advertising is a very powerful way of connecting directly with your target audience.
Utilise first-level contacts
LinkedIn allows you to view ‘degrees of separation,’ or how you connect with third parties that you don’t currently know. Asking business colleagues to introduce you to their own contacts is a reliable and fast way of building new relationships. Take it a step further and organise a local networking event; not only will your company name will prominent but you’ll also be able to get to know all your new business acquaintances.