LinkedIn is a social network with nearly 240 million users. The social media network enables its members to network professionally, post and find jobs, ask and answer questions, and build thought leadership. As a marketer, LinkedIn is one of the most effective places online to engage with decision makers within your target market who may be in need of your products or services. The goal is to be consistently visible and valuable. It’s not about selling. You need to educate and provide useful information.
7 Ways to Use LinkedIn as a Marketing Tool:
1. Make Sure Your Profile is Current & Complete
The first thing many people do when they receive your connection request is look at your profile. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date, and complete. Use a high quality, professional looking photo. Be very clear about what you do, whom you help, and how you can help.
2. Build Your LinkedIn Company Page
The goal is to be consistently visible and valuable. It’s not about selling. You need to educate and provide useful information.
Company pages are becoming increasingly important on LinkedIn and are a great way to showcase your company, the products and services you offer, and share relevant and useful information with followers. In addition, each of your employees’ profiles will list where they work. Every person that connects with your employees’ profiles may potentially click on your company name and view the company page. This is a great way to extend the reach of your company.
A great and inexpensive way to increase your company page followers is to run LinkedIn ads focused on your LinkedIn group members.
3. Focus on Growing Your Connections
The more connections you have, the more opportunity there is for engagement with your target audience. Focus on the depth and breadth of your network and make sure to consistently grow your connections.
Invitations to Connect
If you know someone’s email address, you can send them an invitation to connect. Make sure to customize all connection requests and invitations as this will increase the likelihood of having the connection accepted.
LinkedIn’s Advanced People Search
Use LinkedIn’s Advanced People Search tool to locate people and leads based on the criteria you’ve established for the leads you want to generate. The results will show your first and second connections at the top of the list. Click on the second connections link. This will bring up a list of names of people at your target company and a list of your shared connections. Ask one of the shared connections to introduce you via LinkedIn to the key people at your target company.
Request an Introduction
An introduction lets you contact members who are in your 2nd or 3rd degree networks through a connection you have in common. Introductions are free to all users. Here are step-by-step instructions on how to request an introduction.
InMail gives you the ability to send a direct message to any member of LinkedIn, regardless of whether you are connected to them or not. The response rates to InMail tend to be high, as long as you have a good reason to connect. It shouldn’t just be a generic sales pitch. LinkedIn actually offers a response guarantee to inMails and will issue you an inMail credit if you don’t get a response within 7 days.
4. Use Status Updates to Post Links to Useful & Relevant Content
Try to spend at least 10 minutes a day on LinkedIn to make a good impact on your network.
Posting useful and relevant information on your personal profile and company page, on a consistent basis, is a great way to position yourself in your connections’ minds as a thought and industry leader. It also helps to showcase your company’s capabilities, personality, and the work you’ve done for other customers. Avoid giving sales pitches though. Instead provide interesting and useful information. Sharing others’ articles and adding your two cents on each of the topics is also a good way to use status updates. You need to interact with your LinkedIn community. The best way to do this is to produce regular content and updates. Ultimately, it’s all about creating a connection and establishing trust and credibility.
5. Join or Start LinkedIn Groups
LinkedIn Groups provides a place for professionals to share content, find answers, post / view jobs, make business connections, and establish themselves as experts within their industry. LinkedIn has a group directory that features nearly 2 million different groups. Join several groups on LinkedIn. The best way to reach your target audience is to join the types of groups they belong to and then actively engage with the group’s members. You can also start your own LinkedIn Group and act as the facilitator for the group.
6. Follow Other Company Pages
Following your partners, customers, and prospects’ company pages and engaging with them by commenting, liking, and sharing their updates is a great way to get your company on your prospects’ radar.
7. LinkedIn Ads
LinkedIn Self-Service Advertising provides an effective way to raise awareness about your company, share useful and relevant information, build relationships, and drive quality leads. You pay by clicks and focus on reaching people with specific job titles, functions, seniority level, or companies within a certain industry and company size.
To create an ad, start by writing a headline, add some copy and create a destination link. Then, bid on how much you’ll pay every time someone clicks on the ad. One key point to keep in mind: people read content and ignore ads. Try to craft your ad in a way that provides some value to your intended audience, such as linking to a useful blog post on your website, a white paper, e-book, video, etc.
LinkedIn also provides premium display advertising.
LinkedIn is a tremendous resource for companies looking to grow and find new customers. For more information on how to use LinkedIn, checkout LinkedIn’s Learning Center.