LinkedIn – Is It Time to Get Connected?
3rd December 2013
By Lyndsey Hall
LinkedIn is the social network to be seen on for business professionals. The days when LinkedIn was only used by jobseekers, and employers with vacancies to fill, are long gone. Nowadays, you’re more likely to find company profiles, from Apple and Coca-Cola, to your friendly local accountant (ahem!): with everything from contact details, and the products and services on offer; to staff bios, updates about the business, and blog posts about their industry.
There are 11 million LinkedIn members in the UK alone & 3 million company profiles worldwide
More and more, individuals are signing up to LinkedIn in order to keep an eye on their own business or industry, rather than to see what employment opportunities are out there, and as a result, LinkedIn is fast becoming the professional social network that it, presumably, always hoped to be, and successfully steering away from the social jobsite image that it previously held.
It is a fantastic place to advertise your business (for free!) to potential clients and suppliers; to get your brand out there; build your reputation; and attract a strong network of connections. Particularly for B2B, as LinkedIn is (currently) more densely populated with other businessmen and women, than with potential consumers. B2C companies might prefer to stick to Facebook and Twitter for now, but keep an eye on LinkedIn!
A strong online presence is important for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), so building a company profile and keeping it up to date, at the very least, could raise you up the search engine ranks in no time. You don’t have to spend a lot of time creating content; most of your LinkedIn profile can be copied and pasted from your company website or other social networking sites. However, it is important to check your profile regularly and respond to any messages, as this will help build your company’s reputation for customer service, but this can take as much as a few hours, or as little as a few minutes, every day.
One key thing that can help you optimise your social media profiles is to link them, so that when you post an update or a link to your latest blog on one site, it automatically posts on your other profiles. You can also use tools such as HootSuite and TweetDeck to manage this for you, as well as scheduling posts for a later time. You can even use analytics to identify the optimum time for posting to your followers and connections, depending on your industry.
Once your profile is all set up, it can be easy to include LinkedIn in your social media marketing strategy. It doesn’t have to be time consuming, and it can give you a much broader audience than any other traditional form of marketing, such as cold calls or snail mail. The key thing to remember is that social media is not a short term solution and will not give your business an immediate boost in sales, but if you persevere and build your reputation, and form strong relationships with suppliers and clients alike, it could be incredibly valuable in the long run.
Do you use LinkedIn for business? Let us know your experience of getting connected in the Comments.