When it comes to Social Networking, it is safe to say that Linked In does get the least publicity, and in comparison to the Twitter’s and Facebook’s of the world, I think we are all a little guilty of neglecting it somewhat.
But with 122 million members, and a recent study showing that 22.5 million uses platforms such as Linked In to discover a new brand or company, and to learn about these brands and their products, that is a lot of opportunity that could be passing you by.
Here are some quick pointers to make sure you are in the right direction to getting the most from your Linked In experience:
According to Linked In Stats, there are over 2 million businesses with a company page onsite. This size of network can provide endless opportunities with the right company presence. Once a page is set up, users have the use of hyperlinked banners, Twitter Feeds, links to websites and blog and video content all in one profile.
Once your page is set up, there are a few key areas you need to focus on.
Make sure that your business products and services are easily displayed on your profile. Include images, business descriptions, key features, benefits, embed video content from YouTube, special promotions, etc. By inserting a blog feed URL your most recent posts will appear on page too. Don’t forget to post available jobs and opportunities you have to offer.
How and what is displayed will be specific to you and your service/product, but ensure the information is interesting and packs a punch to the reader. Make the most of any recommendations you have received about your products and services, an make these visable for anyone viewing your page.
Along with great content, make the most of the customizable options on page and really showcase your company.
Engage and Add Value.
So, you have a company page, what do you do next?
As with all social networking, the next step is engaging with your audience. LI isn’t the place for commenting on the weather or what you had for lunch, but it is a place for gaining a reputation as an expert in your field.
Use Groups to comment on discussions and answer questions posted by other uses. Present valuable solutions and advice to your network of connections (and potential customers).
Promote and add recommendations to companies important to your business (whether its partners or customer sites) and share their updates. As well as portraying yourself as an ‘active’ user, you are encouraging them to return the favour and share/like your posts in return.
Build up a strong relevant network – LI’s advanced search features can help you locate others within your industry, and make the most of existing contacts in the ‘real world’ and promote your new page with them.
As well as engaging with other people, the easiest way to get people to engage with you is to provide interesting and added value updates and information. Share statistics, trends, and links that prove helpful to others, and helps you stand out as the resident expert.
P’s and Q’s.
It is perhaps something a little basic compared to the usual tips and tricks, but its the one that goes amiss more frequently than any other. Its an addage that is as old as time itself, but manners really do go a long way – especially on Linked In (and on all other sites too of course!)
Don’t forget that there is a person sat on another computer, in another company, drinking another cup of coffee, reading at the other end. Computer aside, you should network and converse much like you would in person. Be polite, credible, and positive. Personalise connection requests and In-Mails to stop it appearing ‘spam like’. Acknowledge difference of opinions on discussions respectfully and discuss subjects in a knowledgeable fashion – don’t appear arrogant. And of course, when it comes down to it (in person or otherwise) If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all.
Set Your Goals.
As with any business plan or marketing strategy, you need to lay out and be clear on what you want to achieve. Are you looking to promote your services and products? Are you looking to convert connections into customers? Are you wanting to achieve free PR? Without a goal, you cannot take steps towards achieving it.
It is important to keep track of any progress you are making with Linked In, and there is an Analytics tab available for company page’s that is a useful tool for doing exactly that (note, this can only be viewed by the page administrators).
Using Analytics you can monitor who has been visiting your page, which area was of interest to their, and how that data compares to other competitor companies. Study the data on a monthly basis to analyse how users interact with your content and tailor your page accordingly.
[image via http://blog.hubspot.com]
To App, or Not To App…
Creating apps is not always the best idea. Based on the study conducted by Pew Internet and Life, not all mobile users use apps for their news and updates. In fact, a mere 13% of mobile phone users were reported to download apps. Applications should be created only if you have something unique and special to offer, otherwise, mobile users will simply look someplace else to get the information they need.
[image via google.co.uk]