Many businesses tend to focus primarily on social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and YouTube, figuring LinkedIn is primarily just for job seekers and professionals. While LinkedIn is a great tool for job seekers and professionals and they use it as a way to network with like-minded individuals and to grow their networks, LinkedIn can also be used very successfully to grow your business. They key with LinkedIn is to use it to educate others on your business and provide useful content to them, versus using it as a platform to sell. With that in mind, here are some very simple ways you can use LinkedIn to market and grow your business:
1. Make Sure Your Personal Profile Is Complete. If someone were to search for your first and last name on Google, chances are your personal LinkedIn profile is going to be high in the rankings. So it is critical your personal profile is complete with your job title, name of your company, what you do at the company, as well as having a high resolution photo. If you have any employees, make it mandatory that they have a fully completed personal LinkedIn profile as well.
Here is a link to a great example of a LinkedIn profile - http://linkedinprofileservice.co/best-linkedin-profile-examples/cfo/
2. Complete Your LinkedIn Company Page. LinkedIn company pages are becoming increasingly important. They give you the perfect opportunity to showcase your company, how many employees you have, how long you've been in business, list the products and services you offer, and more. And by having a LinkedIn company page, when your employees build out their personal profiles, they will be able to select your company and any potential customers who visit your employees pages can click on that and access your company page, thus extending your potential reach. Here is a great example of a LinkedIn company page that is fully completed and up to date:
LinkedIn has a guide on best practices for company pages here - https://business.linkedin.com/marketing-solutions/company-pages/best-practices
3. Post Quality, Engaging Content. The goal with LinkedIn is not only to connect with your target audience, but to show them you are an industry leader in your specific niche. And you accomplish that by posting quality, engaging content on a consistent basis that offers real value to your target audience. You should cross-post all content on both your personal and company LinkedIn pages to ensure you are extending your reach as far as possible.
Many of your potential and current customers will choose to connect with you on LinkedIn, which is why having a completed personal profile is so important, and your status updates will be reaching them in a more targeted manner than on other social media networks. The idea with LinkedIn is not to post promotional content or sales pitches (at least not very often), but to post content relevant to your niche that solves problems your target audience has.
4. Join LinkedIn Groups. LinkedIn groups provide you with the perfect opportunity to connect, interact, and build relationships with your target audience. Regardless of your industry, LinkedIn groups should play a critical role in your overall social media strategy. The high quality, engaging content you're posting on your personal and company LinkedIn pages is perfect for posting in groups, as well. LinkedIn groups are not the place to be posting promotional content, however.
But if you are posting content that provides value on your company blog, your target audience on both your personal and company LinkedIn pages, as well as the groups you join, will be introduced to your company as they click on your links and read the content, thus giving you the ability to indirectly market to them. You should strive to be an active member in all groups you join, not only posting content, but commenting on content others post to build relationships with your target audience as an industry leader.
5. Take Advantage Of LinkedIn Sponsored Updates. The targeting options LinkedIn is able to provide is really unparalleled in the world of social media marketing. You are able to narrowly target only your specific audience based on location, company (by name or category), job (by title or category), school name, skills, groups, gender, and age.
Just make sure you are only sponsoring content that provides real value to your target audience, and by doing so, you should get a solid return on your investment, extend your reach, and help establish your company as an industry expert. The analytics provided by LinkedIn will allow you to see the impact non-sponsored versus sponsored content is having on your company page, as well.
For additional information on the LinkedIn features Social Report offers, please visit http://www.socialreport.com/features/linkedin.html.