Social | March 3, 2016

How You Can Use LinkedIn to Grow Your Brand

Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, Reddit, Tumblr… the list of social media platforms can go on and on. And although we all know it’s good for businesses to have a vast online presence, it’s important not to spread yourself too thin.So, what’s the next social platform your SME should invest in? Well, that’s simple… LinkedIn of course.

So, Why Should You and Your SME Use LinkedIn?

That’s a question the previous 4 million LinkedIn business page creators have asked themselves too. Why do you need another social media account? Well, LinkedIn can offer you something the others can’t… professional networking – among many other benefits of course.

LinkedIn’s strong authority within Google means this page will be one of the first things people find when searching your name, so it’s a great platform for your brand. Plus, LinkedIn offers your SME a number of advantages, such as opportunities to:

• Improve visibility of your business and its products or services

• Engage with followers, and possible customers, through group conversation, news and content posts

• Showcase opportunities for products or services through the use of video

• Gain online recommendations and endorsements from satisfied customers

• Advertise job openings among specific qualified individuals

• Build strong networking connections

• Improve lead generation

Who Uses LinkedIn?

Who are the types of people you could be connecting with on this platform??

Well, according to LinkedIn’s ‘About Us’ page, it operates an online network of more than 400million users across 200 countries and territories worldwide. And professionals are signing up at a rate of at least 2 per second.

Of this 400million, 10% are students and recent graduates.
Statista has found that more than 60% of LinkedIn users are male, and belong to between 1 and 9 LinkedIn networking groups.
What’s more, communications firm TopLine found that among LinkedIn users who are associated with companies with 50 staff or less, nearly ¾ are employees, with the other quarter being SME owners, founders or directors. The research also found that corporate, high tech and IT services were the most common sectors likely found on LinkedIn, with agriculture and transport the least.
So, it goes without saying that LinkedIn is a great platform for marketing professionals, who can introduce their brand to millions of potential customers.

Perfecting Your Profile

In the words of LinkedIn, setting up an account couldn’t be easier, ‘Build a presence for your business on LinkedIn. Create your page, attract followers, and post company updates to drive engagement.’
Your business LinkedIn page should highlight your company’s latest appointments, awards and content publications, and you can keep your photos of your last big company night out for a Facebook album. And the same tone should be used for any personal accounts too. Think of LinkedIn as a virtual CV.
When you’re setting up your LinkedIn page, ensure to upload a professional profile and cover photo as this canincrease the number of views your pages gets. It’s also important to add plenty of company information, such as your location, industry sector and services.
Just like a regular web page, your brand’s profile needs to be interesting and aesthetically pleasing. Make sure your profile conveys your brand’s personality with well-written copy (we don’t need to tell you how off-putting a badly-written, typo-strewn page is). A compelling summary in the ‘About Us’ section is essential. A few short bullet points simply won’t do.
Be interesting and engaging, and tell your page viewers exactly what the company is all about. You could even use sub-headings to space it out and improve its readability.
If you think your target persona is more visual, and won’t spend the time reading through multiple long paragraphs, why not create and post a video summary? 30 seconds to a minute should suffice. Use keyword mentions throughout and keep the edits well-paced with a carefully chosen backing track to reflect your company culture and ethos.
Once your company profile’s looking good you can start to make connections with colleagues, suppliers and previous customers on your page. Join relevant groups around your industry and don’t be afraid to join in the conversation. This is a quick way of getting your followers up from that lonely zero mark and improve visibility.

Liberty’s Top Tips for SME Networking on LinkedIn

1. Create Showcase Pages

Showcase pages are secondary pages to a main LinkedIn business profile to drive engagement with best-selling products or product lines. These segmented extensions allow you to share specific content with targeted audience member and allows your followers to be ‘pickier’ with what they choose to learn from your company.
Whereas sponsored update and display advertising on LinkedIn is campaign based, showcase pages are all about building online relationships therefore these are the perfect place for networking. And don’t be shy about tooting your own horn here.
Like any social media page, LinkedIn is a great promotional tool as it connects you with people who want to know about your brand. If you’re launching a new store, have an influx of new staff or have just won an industry award, let the world know!

2. Promote Your Page

Yes, if your summary is well-written and your custom URL is optimised, people may come across your LinkedIn business page organically, but promoting it will give it a little boost and increase early engagement.
As we previously mentioned, it’s important to connect with your own staff and encourage them to share the page with their own followers. You could also encourage followers by adding a link to your email signature or adding a LinkedIn button to your company website.

3. Optimise Your LinkedIn Page

You’d optimise your website’s meta data and site copy, so why not your social pages? Perhaps more so than any other social media site, people use LinkedIn to search for new professional services. Make sure your page is optimised to help you show up when people are looking.
Fill in all fields in as much detail as possible; include relevant keywords in your ‘about’ page; discuss your product offering on the ‘product’ page and add in your specialities and industry title. Optimise your LinkedIn page for relevant keywords and you can improve your chances of the company page appearing in searches for your desired terms and for users who are more likely to become followers.

4. Regularly Post Engaging Content

According to DMR’s social media statistics, the average number of weekly updates posted by the top companies on LinkedIn is 12. That works out as twice a day during the working week and daily on weekends and reflects the activity of Coca Cola and the other brands mentioned previously. More modestly, it takes just 20 posts per month to reach engagement with 60% of your LinkedIn audience.
However, as an SME you wouldn’t be expected to post as frequently. We’d advise posting around once or twice a week to begin with. Share your latest blog posts, company news and any other industry findings that you believe your followers may find interesting and monitor engagement figures.

5. Construct a Careers Tab

Did you know that three out of four LinkedIn users want to be approached for other job opportunities? If you’re recruiting, the site has a wealth of potential employees to choose from. It costs money to post a job on LinkedIn (as much as £189 for a 30-day posting) but if you’re looking to grow your business with technologically-advanced, ambitious staff then this is the place to do it.
LinkedIn offers its users the ability to publicise and apply for job vacancies worldwide. And if you regularly recruit new staff members, you may like to create your own careers tab on your page to raise awareness of these availabilities. All three of the examples listed above (Coca Cola, HP and L’Oréal) do this with great success.

6. Know When to Post

In order to maximise engagement and shares, strategy should be used to plan out a content sharing calendar. Knowing the best times to post and share content can also have an effect. In further research presented by DMR, it has been found that the best time to post for engagement is Tuesday between 10 and 11am, whereas if you’re looking to gain shares you should post content between 10am and 2pm daily.

7. Utilise Sponsored Updates

Want to get your content under the eyes of key industry influencers and decision makers? Then LinkedIn sponsored updates may be able to help. These posts help you network while building credibility and increasing your brand exposure to those who are not in your immediate social network.
Thanks to LinkedIn’s advanced audience segmentation, you are able to target precisely the type of people you want to see the post. You can then track its performance, such as impressions, CTR and CPC, using the analytics provided.

8. Get Involved with the Conversation in Discussion Groups

Your aim is for your blog content to be interesting, engaging and add value for the customer, but what if you could do that in fewer words? Establish thought leadership online by engaging in discussions in LinkedIn groups, with the hope that when it comes time to purchase, the reader will remember the company that came to their rescue previously.
By answering relevant questions that people ask, contributing interesting content and discussing industry news you’ll be seen as an authority in your particular sphere. Just as with the rest of the internet, LinkedIn works well when you put the hours in – creating and sharing great content is a great way to get your name out there.
Don’t spam these groups with useless, unrelated content though; simply add to what is already present and you may be able to gain valuable sales leads.

9. Search Using Advanced Options

Once you’ve set up your company profile and have a few followers you may like to learn if you have connections with anyone at a specific company. No problem. You can simply use LinkedIn’s advanced search options to filter your results by relationship and company name to see if you have any first or second degree connections to contact.
Remember, searching for and keeping in contact with businesses and connections isn’t just so you can stay on top of all the hot gossip. Well, not all the time. If a company you’re linked with is growing and needs new commercial partners or is looking to develop a PR initiative that you could help with, you’ll find out about it on LinkedIn – potentially before anyone else.

10. Ask Customers to Recommend You

It goes without saying that if you were looking for a company to work with, you’d choose one that had been recommended numerous times by people you trust. You’re much less likely to trust a company with no recommendations.
So, if a client is satisfied with your work, ask them to recommend you on your business page, or to give you a recommendation on your personal profile.

Let Liberty Help with LinkedIn for Business

Whether you need consultancy services and advice on how to set up your own LinkedIn account, or you’d like to run social ads for your SME, our friendly expert digital marketers can help. Tweet us @_libertydigital or call us on 02920 766467.

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