Harvee – Adam Houlahan is a friend of Inspire and a social media guru! He runs Web Traffic That Works, a social media agency that helps entrepreneurs gain influence and credibility online. He has a particular skill for LinkedIn, and this post is filled with some great insights on how to use it properly.
Plus… There’s a special bonus for Inspire Community at the end!
Have you ever considered LinkedIn for growing your career or your business?
LinkedIn is the social media channel for professionals to interact and engage in a professional way. Unlike other social media platforms, LinkedIn is all about it users’ professional lives and profiles. It is also a premium channel to enlist for using social media for business and marketing purposes.
There are numerous ways to create a LinkedIn marketing strategy, and in this article we’ll look at some simple tips and explain how to use LinkedIn for business and create a marketing plan for measureable results.
To achieve sustainable success in the long term with professional social media marketing, you will need to develop a consistent, comprehensive LinkedIn marketing strategy. Whether you are a small business consisting of a sole trader, or a larger corporation, LinkedIn can be a powerful lead generator.
How do you achieve this? Follow these steps:
- Remember LinkedIn is NOT your online resume!
Too many LinkedIn users view the platform as an online resume. When it comes down to it, do the professional connections you make now care where you went to school? Or where your first job was? At the end of the day, the audience doesn’t care about you as much as they care about what you can do for them. So use your profile to tell your audience what you do now; what makes you stand out from the crowd; how you can benefit others; and include testimonials from others that support your claims.
- Create a company page on the platform
Whilst your personal profile will always be the main presence and way you interact on LinkedIn, consider your LinkedIn business page as an extension of your business website. Include job opportunities, new products and services, and compelling content. Invite your existing customers, clients, partners, vendors and employees to connect with and follow your LinkedIn page. Key partners, clients, or customers may be willing to endorse you via the LinkedIn tool – this can be a very powerful asset to your business.
Use your page to provide compelling content in the form of industry updates, showcasing your business, interesting and informative blog articles, etc. Remember to segment your followers appropriately so that you can target updates in a relevant way.
- Add visual content
Visual content is much more engaging than raw test and with great visual content on your profile, text is more likely to be read. Use the LinkedIn Professional Portfolio feature to enhance your profile with images, screenshots, videos, infographics, SlideShare presentations and linked articles. Update your profile regularly so that its content is dynamic; include recent press articles, work samples, case studies, screenshots of tweets based on your work, special programs and events, and speaker videos.
- Make influence networking work for you
You want to develop real relationships on this platform, as opposed to simply collecting connections. One way to do this is to provide targeted value within your niche. Contrary to the common practice of broadcasting at your wider audience, instead aim to connect with your network to ultimately create an active relationship that is mutually beneficial and ultimately grows your business’ bottom line. This will humanise you, your business and your brand, and your engagements and interactions will become more meaningful.
As a result, you will stand out from your competition, position yourself as of value to your connections, trigger reciprocity, and engage your network.
Ways to make influence networking work for you include:
- Identify the most valuable people (MVP) in your network.
- View the MVP’s profiles to learn what is important to them.
- Use this information to find ways to interact: Help, promote, congratulate, acknowledge and connect with them in a mutually beneficial way.
- Use @mentions.
- Promote and share the ideas of your MVP.
- Launch an industry-specific LinkedIn group
LinkedIn groups bring together members of the platform who share common interests and goals. By creating and launching such a group specific to your niche, you can position yourself as an authority and a thought leader within your industry.
LinkedIn groups also allow you to message your members directly each week, delivering campaigns and promotions and directing them to your compelling content like newly published blog articles.
Assign a moderator role to a person who asks open questions, pre-approves discussion topics, and manages group membership. Organically inform clients, customers, partners, vendors, relevant connections and employees as well as key influencers in your industry. Key influencers can become ambassadors for the group to enlist new members and help lead discussions to keep the group activity dynamic.
- Provide thought leadership
Prove yourself to be an expert in your field and you will achieve greater results with your marketing campaign. As a marketer that provides value to others through compelling content that is of high quality, you will be remembered by consumers when the time comes to make a purchase to fulfil a need. Great social content helps to foster and generate leads.
It’s also a great idea to designate suitable company employees to assist in the implementation and maintenance of your overall LinkedIn marketing strategy. Having employees on board fosters an extended network and a greater presence for your business.
- Utilise sponsored updates and paid ads
LinkedIn sponsored updates allow you to target your content towards the key influencers and decision makers on the platform. This in turn will result in your credibility as an authority in your niche expanding, and your exposure across the platform will be enhanced.
- Monitor your LinkedIn marketing campaign
Thanks to LinkedIn’s detailed analytics tools, you can track the effectiveness of your LinkedIn marketing campaign via the following metrics:
- Audience demographics
- Followers acquired
- Social actions and engagement
- Total spend
- Click-through rate (CTR)
- Cost per click (CPC)
- Sponsored versus non-sponsored updates
Blogging on LinkedIn
When you consider how to use LinkedIn for business, one thing to adopt is blogging on LinkedIn. LinkedIn’s Influencer Program was launched in 2012, and it allowed thought leaders to publish highlighted blog posts on topics ranging from innovation and leadership to case studies. The capability was extended to all platform users in 2014, and anyone in your network can see and benefit from your blog posts.
Blogging on LinkedIn enhances your profile and professional standing. Some basic tips for successfully blogging on this platform and to enhance your social media marketing campaign include:
- Write what you know. Demonstrate your expertise in your field and incorporate the function of your job and what makes you and your role unique.
- Reflect your profile in your articles. Keep aligned with your brand identity.
- Don’t write too much or too little. Tell a story that is valuable, but make it readable. Ideally (according to LinkedIn data analytics), an ideal blog post will be in the vicinity of 700 words.
- Include images, links to your website, videos and other visual content to engage readers.
- Engage with readers in the comments section; social media is about dialogue.
- Track analytics to learn what works and what does not.
- Share your content with links to your posts outside LinkedIn, posting to Twitter or Facebook, for example.
LinkedIn is a powerful professional social tool for growing your business. With some attention to the above suggestions, you are certain to enhance your overall social media marketing campaign. LinkedIn can’t be ignored.
Special invite for the Inspire Community..
If you’ve got some ideas for LinkedIn from Adam in this article, we strongly recommend his free four week LinkedIn eCourse – it will fast track your path to raising your profile, generating leads and boosting your business through LinkedIn.