Reasons to Use LinkedIn for Business
LinkedIn has long been the most business-oriented social network. Originally biased towards professional males and job seekers, it has evolved considerably over the last few years and is currently undergoing a wave of changes slanted towards helping it not just compete with Facebook and Twitter – but carry more weight.
So why should you used LinkedIn if it sits in fourth place behind Facebook, YouTube and Twitter?
LinkedIn captures an audience tired of the spam and irrelevant chatter across Facebook: One that is serious about business. There is still a social element (which LinkedIn is working hard to increase) but it consists of a focused group of people who are passionate about their professions.
If yours is a B2B business, this is an ideal social network for you. Let’s take a look at the top ten ways to use it.
1. The Ability to Create an Interactive Company Page
Why do you need to create yet another Company Page? Don’t you have that on Facebook?
Well, yes – but Facebook doesn’t allow you to choose what content your visitors always see. It’s feed-driven, and mercilessly controlled by the Facebook Edgerank algorithm.
A LinkedIn Company Page offers you something quite unique – the ability to display a “page” that is unchanging (unless you change it)… while being highly interactive. Visitors can click on tabs to access the sections of your Company Page they are most interested in. (Really, “Company Page” is a misnomer: It’s like a mini-website!)
Not only can you add rich media such as videos, sound files and slides to various sections; you can highlight each one of your products (or packages) singly under the “Products and Services” tab.
And if you have a paid account, you can choose which of your ads (if you decide to advertise with LinkedIn) is always in the number one spot. Your contractors and employees can also create their own accounts and link to your Company Page, which gives it added value and credibility.
A LinkedIn Company Page allows you to design a highly effective sales vehicle… without hiring a highly expensive web designer.
2. Network Through Groups
Choose a group that is active: Don’t just join groups where you like to hang out – join groups where you think your potential clients might congregate.
Even so, it is important that you feel comfortable with the group’s central topic or theme so that you can converse intelligently and with animation and ease. The key to making LinkedIn Groups really work for your business lies in being a habitual user. Visit your Groups daily. Comment. Respond.
You can also connect with them through direct messaging, if they are in the same Group, as well as announce events and invite people to sign up at your site, help themselves to resources – and more.
Direct people to your website from within your Group, if you genuinely have a page or resource there that solves a problem someone in the Group has expressed.
3. Create Instant Authority With Your Own Group
Take the credit for getting your subscribers, connections and peers together, all helping each other out and sharing the community you created.
The beauty of creating your own group: You are automatically accepted as an authority figure. Group ownership invests you with the illusion of leadership – but now it’s up to you to make that illusion into reality.
The same rules apply as for joining Groups. Maintain a daily and consistent presence. Moderate the group, even if only by keeping an eye on the conversational flow. Keep things going by introducing hot topics, polls, questions or more. Set intelligent guidelines. Make it easy for people to join.
And focus on quality.
4. Share Instantly with Twitter and Your Connections
And you can do that with any post, at any time. It’s as simple as clicking a radio button or a drop-down.
…Or share after you’ve posted, by pressing the “Share” underlined link and selecting the Twitter icon radio button or “Send to Individuals” in the window that opens up, before pressing the final blue “Share” button.
5. Get Recommendations from Your Contacts
One of LinkedIn’s most unique features is the ability it bestows on you to gather Recommendations from people familiar with your work. Yet there are ways to ask – and ways you never want to get caught trying!
LinkedIn Recommendations are universally regarded by all but newbies as solid testimonials to your skills, attributes and work history. They have nothing to do with pressing “Like” buttons just to help out buddies, and should never be asked for lightly.
LinkedIn Recommendations carry a lot of weight. When you ask someone for one, you’re also asking them to put their professional reputation and integrity on the line – so make sure you actually have worked with or for the person in question before you even consider asking: It’s not enough for them just to know you have certain skills.
If it’s a former employer, reconnect with them first and re-establish a relationship before asking. And do make sure they remember you – and your work.
If it’s someone you’ve worked with recently, go ahead and ask – but never just send the generic letter that pops up when you press “Recommendations” from your Profile tab drop-down and press the underlined “Ask for
Always personalize your request.