We all know the power of social media these days and run our businesses accordingly, encompassing social into our PR and marketing plans and creating content to drive engagement.

However, it’s surprising how many companies and individuals alike ignore LinkedIn, as it’s not commonly perceived by some to be a leading social network. It is, of course, and any business that don’t make the site a part of their marketing plan will miss out.

Your LinkedIn Profile

Do your employees use the site? If so, then you can use this to your (and their) advantage once you have set up the company LinkedIn page, but let’s start at the beginning.

Firstly, set up your own profile, ensuring that it’s highly comprehensive, lists all of your skills and work experience, any professional bodies that you belong to, your resume and most importantly, some recommendations and endorsements from your colleagues and clients, both past and present.

Once you have your profile fully fleshed out and have added your connections, which should be people you have done business with or know, you can begin to concentrate on your LinkedIn company page.

Get to Know the Site

In order to be effective on LinkedIn, it’s necessary to use it regularly in order to further raise your profile. Join industry groups and contribute regularly, not just with links, but with discussion around relevant industry news and issues with other professionals.

Share content that’s produced by your business and curate from the web, making sure it’s all specific to your sector. Comment on content from your connections and share it too occasionally and you’ll soon find that leads present themselves.

Setting up Your Company Page

Ideally, you need to think about your page as being an extension of your main website, so do spend some time branding the page with company graphics, as well as information that’s short, snappy and tells the tale of your brand. Then you can add products, services, job openings and so on.

Once the page is set up, then invite everyone you do business with to follow the page, including:

  • Employees
  • Suppliers
  • Customers past and present
  • Partners

You can then ask people that have used your products/services to recommend them in order to gain great testimonials that will act as a draw.

At this point, you can consider if it’s worth using LinkedIn’s paid advertising. Some people believe that the network is more powerful than Facebook with regard to this, as LinkedIn users tend to have profiles that are more complete, thus extending your reach. Whatever the case, it’s recommended that you use LinkedIn advertising as it’s highly targetable, enabling you to target by industry, company and region.

Managing Your Page

You will of course need to spend time on the page updating it with regular posts that are interesting and useful to your audience. Encourage your employees to do this too and interact with the page as much as possible. Once you’ve grown your following you can also segment members in order to target them with updates that are highly relevant to them.

It’s also recommended to start a discussion group for the company. These show up in search a lot and can be a great breeding ground for customer engagement. Think about what your customers want, what they enjoy discussing and don’t be afraid to bring up controversial subjects to further drive the conversation.

Try to talk about subjects that are your areas of authority, in order to gain trust in groups and amongst followers. You will find that as your reputation grows, so too do followers and more importantly, sales.

Also link to exceptional content and ensure that you remain friendly and approachable, as well as helpful.

Set up Outlook

At MySocialAgency, we use the Outlook connector to set up email so that it includes LinkedIn details at the bottom of every mail that we send out or reply to. You can also add a follow button to the company website and broadcast it across all of your other channels, encouraging your existing social following and newsletter/mailing list subscribers to follow you.

Employee Ambassadors

Appoint one or two people in your workforce to be your social media ambassadors and ask them to spend time promoting your page on LinkedIn and away from the site. These people should be able to hold expert conversations on your industry, they should also post highly interesting and engaging content, such as:

  • ‘Best of’ lists that point to a page rounding up that week’s most interesting happenings in your industry
  • Videos that are interesting or amusing
  • Blogs, articles, useful white papers and case studies

Ambassadors should also deal with customer feedback and comments and this takes a particular type of person. They should be friendly, articulate, have enough authority in the company to be able to answer questions effectively and make decisions – in short, these are PR people above all else and present the best of your company to the outside world.

Customers like the opportunity to put their opinions across too, so ensure that they have a platform to do so by asking relevant questions that are designed as ‘bait’ to entice followers into discussion.

Lastly, but certainly not least, follow up on any leads immediately, giving a brief overview of what you can do for them. Don’t be pushy or use sales talk, be casual, informative and friendly.

LinkedIn is used by some of the top global companies and their leaders and is an excellent place to find business and meet like-minded people that could be future employees or partners. It’s important to note that above all else, it’s a true networking site and the premium currency is content. Bearing this in mind, ensure that yours is good enough to get you noticed.