LinkedIn reached 450 million users in Q2 of 2016. That’s almost half a billion business professionals on a network waiting to connect to an influencer, promote their business, or find their next job.
But even today, professionals continue to misuse or squander their opportunities through the network. LinkedIn isn’t just a social network, it can act as a platform for industry news and reports, as well as a way for businesses to connect more directly.
Below, we’ve prepared three different ways you can use LinkedIn to benefit your business:
Publish blog posts
One way to raise awareness and boost credibility is to start writing and publishing blog posts. LinkedIn’s Pulse platform is a great place to start.
What business are you in? If you work in a criminal law firm, write about a recent high-profile case spotlighted in the news. Maybe you run a restaurant, in which case you should post a recipe, or a guide to healthy eating. The point is that your followers receive a notification each time you post, and if it’s written well enough and pertains to your industry, it’s likely to be re-shared. Posts show off how smart your business is, and doubles as brand exposure.
In fact, a recent study shows that listicles (articles with a list of items, like 10 best restaurants in Chicago) and how-to guides (How to work remotely) are the most effective on LinkedIn.
Did you know you could advertise on LinkedIn? If you’ve used LinkedIn in the past, chances are you’ve already seen a couple without realizing. That’s because they’re designed to blend with other posts. You just have to know how to make it compelling enough for people to want to click on your ad.
There are a couple of different ways you can go about advertising on LinkedIn. For one, there are LinkedIn Showcase Pages. These pages show the other sub-brands or additional tools and services offered by your company. In the example below, Microsoft Office, Dynamics, and Lync all have separate pages under Microsoft.
Another route is through display ads, with a small 50×50 image, title, and description of your company, as seen below:
These ads show up on the side of your feed, or of a profile when you look someone up. Make sure the image is clear, your offer is enticing, and that your brand name is clearly listed.
The great thing about these text ads are the freedom with which you can target audiences. You can decide whether you want to target big businesses, which industries to look for, or which locations to focus on.
This may seem straightforward, but this means more than just following as many people as you can. It can involve truly engaging with your current network, or being a helpful contributor to other groups.
LinkedIn has thousands of groups to choose from, so choose the ones most relevant to your interest or your business. Once you join, don’t just add people, send messages to show your interest. Don’t just flick through the posts, but try posting something of use (maybe a helpful link or resource), and try commenting on some. You won’t just develop some new connections, but your business will be seen as a thought leader in that space.
LinkedIn can be a powerful tool if you learn how to use it properly. Keep in mind that there are millions of businesses on the platform. The best way to stand out is to help others, and to observe what practices work best. Experiment with different strategies, like sponsored posts or LinkedIn groups, and analyze how many more followers or inquiries you get after the change. You might just find that your next employee, customer, or business partner is just a few connections away.