LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional social network with over 610 million users across the globe. Although many prospective clients and employees view a company’s LinkedIn profile before making a business decision, many businesses do not take the time to optimize their LinkedIn profiles or develop a strategy to leverage the platform.
Marketers often create a profile that may be similar, if not identical to their website and neglect to update it for months or years — the ol’ “set it and forget it” mentality. However, social channels like LinkedIn are not fixed assets. Users expect businesses to engage with them and to use the platform intentionally, maximizing the value of features offered.
In order to use LinkedIn to its full potential, marketers must realize that communication is a two-way street; organizations cannot push content and hope for the best. They must engage proactively, listen intently and iterate to succeed.
Build your foundation for LinkedIn success
According to LinkedIn, companies with complete profiles get 30 percent more weekly views. So before getting into tactics, here are some specific actions that will lay the foundation for a successful LinkedIn strategy:
- Update your company’s profile, including your business locations, capabilities and overview. Schedule a monthly or quarterly reminder to update your profile with new accolades, fresh images and company stats such as size or services offered.
- Ask employees to update their profiles, including their headshots, work history and education/ certifications. According to LinkedIn, employees typically have 10 times the social reach of their company. Leverage their networks to build your brand by sharing their posts or by asking them to invite relevant connections to like your business’ page.
- Optimize and maintain the profiles of your executives. The profiles of your executives should be as active as your company’s profile. This will allow you to leverage your executives’ networks and will position them as thought leaders in their industry.
- Invite your clients and/or personal contacts to follow your page. Taking the time to import your company’s contacts into LinkedIn is worth it. It is too easy and valuable a step to skip.
“In order to use LinkedIn to its full potential, marketers must realize that communication is a two-way street.”
Optimize your LinkedIn content strategy
Now that you’ve updated (or built) your company’s profile, it is time to identify your target audience. Visit your company’s analytics page to understand the traits of your page visitors and what types of content they’ve engaged with. Ask yourself the following questions to build a target audience profile or persona:
- What industry is the individual in?
- What companies do they already follow on LinkedIn?
- What is their age and gender?
- What is their field of study and what did they major in?
- What is their job function?
- What is their level of experience?
- What is their title?
- What are their skills?
- Are they future employees or clients?
Next, determine what actions you’d like your target audience to take and what outcomes you want to achieve. Some examples may be generating more business leads, growing brand awareness and attracting more new hires.
Come up with clear business objectives that will move your business forward and develop strategies that will help you reach your goals. You can also test different strategies and measure your results by keeping a close eye on your analytics page to see what works best.
Some basic strategies to begin with could be creating content that gives clients a reason to contact you or educating clients on the benefits and value of your services. Companies that post weekly see two times the amount of engagement with their content, so aim to get at least one post in per week.
No matter what strategy you use, follow these content best practices when creating content for LinkedIn:
- Develop creative that is appealing to your target audience and aligns with your company’s visual identity.
- Develop a next step for prospective customers to engage with you. Invite them to a webinar, a luncheon, or to simply send you an email.
- Address your target audience in the posts, include statistics in posts, and create a strong call to action so audiences understand how they should act once they have digested your content.
- Include rich media, including videos, images and audio. Images generally result in up to two times higher comment rates. Custom image collages (containing 3-4 custom images in one post) perform especially well for organizations, according to LinkedIn.
- Using the target audience profile you’ve built, target your posts to reach audiences with the ideal function, seniority, industry or company size.
Using LinkedIn for employee recruitment and retention
Not only is LinkedIn a great way to get new business, it also allows you to showcase your company’s unique culture. You can do this by celebrating your employees’ successes, including industry awards, internal recognitions, graduations and certifications.
Beyond focusing on individual employees, identify ways to leverage awards like “Best Places to Work.” For example, HubSpot strategically places its “Best Places to Work” award at the top of its page to drive prospective employees to apply for open positions.
No matter what your goals are, taking the time to strategize and leverage professional social networks like LinkedIn will pay dividends. Using LinkedIn’s features can help increase profits, gain new connections and attract the talent that your company needs in the long run.