Communicating with your audience has never been more important—and social media is the perfect tool to help businesses stay connected with employees, customers and prospects. Since the pandemic, more than half of all marketers have increased their social presence and engagement efforts as they are looking for new ways to maintain existing relationships and build new ones. One social platform is rising to the top—with its 690 million registered members, social and professional conversations have been on the rise on LinkedIn. And they’re not quieting down any time soon. So what are the best ways to leverage LinkedIn for your business? Keep reading.
Score with LinkedIn—and Your Audience
LinkedIn allows you to measure how well your page is performing on its own and in relation to other businesses. The measurement criteria is called the Social Selling Index (SSI) and it’s based on four pillars: creating your brand profile; finding the right people; engaging with insights and building relationships. You can earn a maximum of 25 points for each pillar for a total of 100. The higher your score, the better LinkedIn will perform for your business.
First, you have to establish a profile. If you don’t have a company page yet, the process is pretty simple. Go to the LinkedIn homepage and click on the Work icon in the top right corner. Then select Create a company page and choose your business type. Complete the fields with information about your business. Keep in mind, you’ll need a company name and an active business email. Be sure to include a cover photo as well. To optimize your profile, post articles that your audience would be interested in—establishing yourself as a thought leader in your industry. For more tips on how to make your profile work harder for you, consult a LinkedIn profile expert.
The next three pillars are all about your target. Use LinkedIn’s search tools to help you find your ideal target and connect with them. Seek out and share valuable information to initiate new relationships and maintain existing ones. Then expand your network and grow your relationships by starting and joining groups. The more you post, like, comment and share, the higher your score will be.
Focus on Growing Relationships, Not Sales
A different audience. Different goals. With LinkedIn, your strategy has to be different as well. It’s natural to want to always sell, but it’s not always the time or the place. LinkedIn allows you to talk about topics that are top of mind (in today’s environment, there are plenty), and show your audience the human side of your business. All while building trust, lasting relationships and a customer base for the future. Remember, slow and steady wins the race.
Video has stopping power, keeps audiences engaged and lets you stand out in a crowded marketplace—or on a static page. Thought you couldn’t add video on your LinkedIn profile? Think again. This professional social platform now provides a native video option that allows you to upload videos directly from your device to your platform rather than having to go through YouTube or another service. However, if you want to incorporate video into your articles, you’ll still need to add a link from a third party. At least for now.
Post Engaging Content. Often.
What are you doing Friday mornings between seven and nine? If you’re a smart marketer, you’re posting riveting content on LinkedIn. These hours are the new rush hour for LinkedIn—at least right now. Be sure to post about topics that your customers, potential customers, and maybe even other businesses are searching for. Then hashtag them so you show up on searches. It’ll position you as a thought leader and someone they can trust. Be sure to setup a regular cadence for posting. Remember, the more you post, the higher the engagement.
Get Your Employees Involved
Your employees are your greatest asset. Let’s say you have 40 employees and each one has 200 people in their LinkedIn network, that’s 800 new connections for your business. The key to ensuring that only appropriate information gets posted about your company is to provide social media guidelines for what employees should and should not be sharing. You should encourage every employee to follow your company and react to, comment on and share posts regularly, or better yet, author some of your posts. A great way to encourage participation is to create an employee engagement program rewarding them for their efforts.
Create or Join a Group
By creating a group within LinkedIn, you can become part of the conversation with a very targeted and captive audience. You can even create multiple groups for different audiences, allowing you to segment your messaging and your contact list. Another great way to use LinkedIn groups is to join one, or up to fifty. When you join a group that’s relevant to your target audience, you can become an insider who is able to hear first-hand their likes, dislikes and concerns and even contribute to the conversation. It’s the best market research you can get. Once you’re part of a group, you can message other members in an unsolicited, non-creepy way and invite them to one of the groups you’ve created.
Make Events, Eventful
Has the pandemic put the kibosh on your live events? LinkedIn is rolling out LinkedIn Live and LinkedIn Events. Rather than posting recaps or videos of an event, you can invite your audience to attend from wherever they are, allowing you to connect and engage with them in real-time—all in a safe environment. LinkedIn Live allows you to build brand awareness and engagement among new audiences, while LinkedIn Events is designed to deepen relationships with your existing audience by inviting them to an event and engaging with them before, during and after.
The Bottom Line
There are more than six million users on LinkedIn. There’s never been a better time to connect with them. By following a few simple best practices, you can use the platform to build brand awareness and relationships for today and with people you want to do business with in the future.