With more than 500 million registered users spanning the globe, LinkedIn is a social network you can’t afford to ignore as a small business owner. The professionally focused social media site is booming and helping users across industries find jobs, hire qualified employees and network with individuals and organizations around the world.
However, LinkedIn is also proving to be a valuable marketing tool. This is particularly true for B2B companies, which stand to gain most by building a LinkedIn marketing strategy. According to LinkedIn, 79% of B2B marketers use the platform to generate B2B leads, and a whopping 80% of B2B leads received come from LinkedIn.
Growing your customer base (and, in effect, growing your business) as well as leveraging LinkedIn to help explain your value to potential partners are two of the best ways to leverage the social network. Plus, it only takes one bad partnership or deal to sink a small business, so more and more entrepreneurs are using tools like LinkedIn and business credit reports to do their due diligence and make sure the vendor or client they’re working with is legitimate. If you don’t have a LinkedIn page, that potential client or partner may wonder how mature your company is and whether you’re a professional operation.
Here are some of the ways you could be sabotaging your own best efforts on LinkedIn and how to make sure you’re putting your best foot forward.
1. Your Company Page Isn’t Complete
You wouldn’t send an incomplete brochure to a client, nor would you show up to a meeting with only half the information, but when your LinkedIn page is incomplete, that’s exactly what you’re doing.
Even if your company is the most detail-oriented, well-organized machine, if a potential client lands on your page and it’s missing information, then that’s the lasting impression they will have about your brand. Unfortunately, once that first impression is made, it’s hard to bounce back.
Be sure to fill in the required content areas, and pay special attention to the “About Us” section, which should be intriguing and informative; the Product and Services tab, which should showcase your most successful or sought-after product or services; and a cover photo that intrigues potential clients and supports your brand.
2. You’re Not Asking for Reviews
Reviews could make or break a company, and that’s why it’s important to showcase positive ones. Each review stands as a testament to the capabilities of your company, and a great review can be the decision maker potential clients need.
It would be great if satisfied customers could simply leave a review without a request, but the nature of LinkedIn makes that a little less likely. On other social networks, a quick “the food was great” or “supreme customer service” may be enough, but LinkedIn reviews often require a bit more thought.
With that said, if you don’t receive a review but feel that the client was satisfied with your services, go ahead and reach out to them. A small request could lead you to big future returns.
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3. You’re Not Publishing or Sharing Content
It’s hard to even say the word “marketing” without immediately discussing the importance of content. The same should be true about LinkedIn. Yes, LinkedIn is a mecca of job opportunities and professional networking, but it’s also a place professionals, including B2B decision makers from all industries, go to seek out relevant content — particularly that which solves a problem they’re facing.
In fact, LinkedIn says 74% of B2B buyers end up choosing to do business with a company because they initially provided useful content. Content, particularly custom content, showcases your company’s knowledge, establishing your business and employees as experts in the field.
Keep in mind that content can mean a variety of things, so in addition to authoring articles or blog posts, you can round out your content strategy through the use of videos, slides, infographics, etc.
4. You Don’t Treat It Like a Viable Marketing Channel
A successful marketing plan often includes multiple channels, short- and long-term goals, benchmarks and, of course, an overarching strategy. LinkedIn is no different; simply filling in content spots and hoping for the best is not enough.
To make the most of LinkedIn, you need to equip yourself and your team with the tools necessary to plan, execute and monitor your progress. This means creating content calendars, actively engaging with followers, and checking key metrics.
Like most social network platforms, LinkedIn offers business users access to valuable analytics to help you see what’s actually engaging the community and what’s falling flat.
5. You’re Not Leveraging Your Employees
While many people shy away from mixing business with social media pleasure, and rightfully so, LinkedIn is one of the few platforms where that general rule becomes immediately irrelevant. Your employees are the face of the company, and on LinkedIn, they become extensions of your brand.
One way employees can help boost your LinkedIn efforts is by becoming brand ambassadors and sharing content within their network. In addition to sharing content, your employees can also help you increase referral traffic and generate leads.
How do you get your employees on board? LinkedIn recently published a guide that addresses this specific question. And among the tip and strategies, they recommend highlighting how the partnership can mutually beneficial.
Employees who engage with and share on behalf of their place of employment portray themselves as experts in the field, helping them build their own profile and personal brand. They also have the opportunity to build their own network along the way.
As an added bonus, by getting your employees involved and subsequently increasing your followers, you can tap into a larger pool of professionals, which will provide access to top talent should new positions become available within your business.
LinkedIn is a powerful tool, and if you own or are marketing for a business, it’s something that should definitely be added to your roster. Be sure to hit the ground running by having a solid profile and a strategic plan of action.
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