Many of Women in Biz Network members have truly inspiring businesses and I encourage each and every one of them to be showcasing themselves and their businesses on Linkedin. Linkedin is growing leaps and bounds every year. You may have heard that Microsoft recently acquired Linkedin and there are many new and exciting changes coming to Linkedin on a regular basis. Statistics show us that there are still more men than women on Linkedin and we need a bit of catching up here. You have an amazing opportunity here to share your values and the good work you do for your business using the platform Linkedin. Publishing articles and updates should be at least a weekly occurrence to keep you top of mind with your target audience.
Tip: Setup a Company Page for your Linkedin Profile if you haven’t already
According to INC magazine:
LinkedIn recently shared some eye-opening statistics that should give you serious pause to consider the time and effort you spend (or don’t spend) on the platform.
“Studies show that 80% of B2B leads come from LinkedIn, and 94% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn to distribute content,” LinkedIn shared in a recent blog. “On average, 46% percent of social media traffic coming to B2B company sites is from LinkedIn.”
These statistics give substantial legitimacy to the platform, which has moved beyond its well-worn reputation as a site for job seekers and hiring managers. LinkedIn now has nearly 500 million users in 200 countries, and 2 new members join the network every second.
Even more, LinkedIn indexes, sorts and organizes every piece of content created and shared on the platform. The idea is simple: LinkedIn wants its users to use the site like a professional version of Google, finding answers to their questions in the form of blog posts, status updates, online courses, company pages, individual profiles and more.
Here are some tips courtesy of Linkedin (Paul Petrone) on what business owners should be doing on Linkedin:
1. Make your own personal profile stand out
The first step to mastering LinkedIn is ensuring your own personal profile stands out from the crowd. After all, your LinkedIn profile is often one of the first things that pop up when people search your name online. So, you want your profile to make a good first impression.
Building a great LinkedIn profile begins with picking the right profile picture, then writing a clear mission statement in your headline, and an engaging summary and a work history – with examples – that prove your expertise. For a full rundown on how to build a great LinkedIn profile, you can download this free ebook.
Big picture – you want a profile that accurately reflects who you are and what you are about. Don’t be generic – write it in a way that gives people a true sense of who you are.
2. Set up a Company Page that accurately reflects your brand
Once your own profile is set, it’s time to create a standout Company Page for your business. And you want a strong one for the same reasons you want a strong personal page – LinkedIn is a highly visited, SEO-friendly site, so you want a page that’s going to leave a good impression.
This site will guide you through exactly how to build a great Company Page on LinkedIn. But the fundamentals of building one are very similar to the fundamentals of building a great personal profile – you want a strong banner photo and an engaging company description that describes what your company does and your mission.
3. Post status updates and your own blog posts to start building a following
Once you have both your personal profile and Company Page ready to go, it’s time to start drawing people to both and building a following. The reason is followers are 2X more likely to respond to your InMail than non-followers, so essentially your followers are a stockpile of warm leads. And the best way to build a following is to post status updates or to blog on LinkedIn.
- Keep it professional. Yes, you should show the lighter side of your company by posting photos of employees having fun or office parties – that makes for great content. But avoid the things you would avoid at work, mainly personal photos and certainly topics like religion or politics.
- Post about what you know. If you are a real estate agent, post status updates about real estate advice. And the more specific to your target audience the better – if you are a real estate agent in Boise, Idaho, post about the real estate market in Boise, Idaho. That’s something people can’t get elsewhere.
- Aggregating content is okay. In other words, you don’t have to write an article yourself to share it. Instead, share links of article from other sites that your target audience would be interested in, perhaps adding a line or two of commentary.
Another way to build a following is to start blogging on your own personal page, with some great advice on what to write about from LinkedIn’s own executive editor. There’s a lot of competition writing on LinkedIn, but it does represent a rare opportunity to reach hundreds of thousands – even millions – of people with your words and get them interested in you and your company.
4. Join relevant LinkedIn Groups for both connections and expertise
One of the best ways to use LinkedIn to build relationships and gain expertise in your industry is to join relevant LinkedIn Groups. No matter what industry you are in, it’s almost guaranteed that there are a number of active LinkedIn Groups built around it.
Join these groups. Mostly, people in your industry use them to ask advice from others in the same industry. You can learn a lot reading through them, as often the problems relate to you as well. And, you have the opportunity to share your own expertise.
Additionally, these groups are a great way to network with people in your industry, or people in related industries. Bottom line, these groups have all the same benefits as an after-work meet-up group, without you worrying about what to wear.
5. Use InMails to start building relationships
One of the best ways to reach out to new people is via an InMail. A LinkedIn InMail is guaranteed to reach the person and is a professional way to start a new business relationship, as opposed to simply cold calling someone or getting their email somehow.
We write a lot about InMailing best practices, but here’s the real key – make it personalized to the person. The worst thing you can do is just cut-and-paste a host of InMails, as that will kill your brand.
Instead, only InMail when you are truly interested in starting a relationship with a specific person, and make the InMail reflect that. If it sounds inviting, people will be happy to respond, and it might mark the beginning of a long-lasting partnership.