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Reasons why your business or professional networking group should be LinkedIn

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LinkedIn company pages are important because they give you exposure and visibility allowing you to keep track of company news, updates, and announcements, and give your clients and customers the opportunity to recommend you, your products and your services on a professional business network.

When creating a business or professional networking profile on LinkedIn, it’s important to get it right so you are sending out the right message to the audiences and businesses you are trying to attract.

In a recent study by MarketingProfs, “33% of B2B marketers surveyed said LinkedIn was the most important social platform for their business; Facebook was second (31%), followed by Twitter (16%), and blogging (11%) in comparison to B2C where just 6% of the vote said LinkedIn in comparison to clear winners Facebook with 68% of the vote.

The study also revealed that marketers plan to devote more time to blogging (68% of those surveyed plan to use more), YouTube (67%), Twitter (67%), LinkedIn (64%), and Facebook (64%).”

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Here are some ideas on creating your professional LinkedIn profile and find some of the best groups to join.

Top tips for creating your LinkedIn profile

Customize your URL

You can customize your LinkedIn Company or personal page URL to something more memorable and meaningful than simply your name and a string of numbers

* Visit your linkedIn settings by hovering over your profile photo in the top right corner of the page then click on "Privacy & Settings."

* Click on "Edit Your Public Profile" on the bottom right of the settings page under "Helpful Links."

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* On the right side of your Public Profile page, you will see “Your public profile URL” Immediately underneath it you will see a link to "Customize your public

profile URL." Use these section to include your brand name or a more memorable and searchable name for your LinkedIn page.

Make sure you have a good profile photo

Your profile photo represents you or your brand and is the first thing visitors will see. Make sure your company has a good image. Don’t use a stock image or cropped photo of you on a night out on the town! Make sure prospective clients or contacts can easily recognise you or your brand. 

Add relevant keywords

Include a number of relevant keywords in the description of your company to increase your chances of ranking high in relevant LinkedIn and Google searches. Describe clearly the service that you offer or the products that you provide. If it’s a personal profile spell out what you can do for potential new clients using popular industry terms to describe your job role.

Add regular engaging content

LinkedIn is a great social channel for sharing blog posts, press releases, company updates and other news. However, LinkedIn recently announced that it is now a hub for your original content and not just sharing existing content, which opens up LinkedIn to become a platform similar to a blog for sharing in-depth articles and resources relevant to your business and your clients.

Make sure you are posting relevant, interesting and helpful information. Rather than just post about your company, let your followers know what is happening in your industry. As well as your own news you can piggy back off other news events that tie into your business. For example if you’re a local gym you could use the world cup to write interesting content that links back to your football fit gym membership.

Update your page regularly as posting fresh content on a daily basis can help make your page look more engaging and resourceful so people are likely to interact with you. However be careful that you’re not publishing content for contents sake. 

Request recommendations

Just as you can request for happy customers to leave reviews of your business on sites like ‘Yelp’ or ‘Google My Business’, ask for product and service recommendations on your company LinkedIn profile.

Request employee recommendations

One of the best methods for generating relevant profile traffic and generally setting your business apart from the pack is to gather recommendations from both current and past employees

Sync your social media profiles

Add a stream of your company's latest tweets and blog posts to your LinkedIn Company page to keep your page fresh and engaging. You’ll have slightly different audiences on each platform but where content can overlap you should share across them all.

Participate in LinkedIn Groups

Sending LinkedIn professionals to your Company page helps when finding, joining and participating in industry-relevant groups on LinkedIn; you not only increase your visibility on the platform, but contribute real value and thought leadership to colleagues and potential customers.

It’s important to remember that LinkedIn isn’t just successful between big businesses. You can also join small business groups and location specific groups and offer advice to these smaller businesses, all the while building brand awareness and relationships with your brand. If you are a professional working mum for example, you can find groups dedicated to mumpreneurs. Here you can ask for and share advice for business and work problems, knowing that the other mums that you’re talking to have probably already faced similar issues to yourself.

Measure your competitors

You should be checking out the types of posts that generate engagement, from impressions to clicks to interactions, and tailoring your approach to what works for your audience. Once you have worked out what works for your brand use LinkedIn analytics to measure your engagement to identify further places to tweak your content for further success.

Find the best groups on LinkedIn

When joining LinkedIn, carefully consider why you want to join Groups, because you can only become a member of fifty LinkedIn Groups at any time. Here are some tips to make sure you are joining the most relevant groups to suit your needs.

When searching for the best groups for your industry look for them in the search bar using keywords and industries, sectors, associations, alumni (companies and education) and anything else you can think of.

Group Directory

This way you can filter the search by country language as not all the LinkedIn Groups are in English.

Groups on People’s ProfileS 

Each time you find good potential people that seem promising for networking or recruiting, always scroll down to the bottom of their profile, and see what Groups they are in. If the person is in a similar business to yours then the groups they are active within could well be suitable for you. 

Using one Group to find similar groups

When you have successfully joined a Group click on the group profile as this will show you all the people you are connected with in the Group and (by scrolling down the page) other similar Groups you should also consider joining. 

I hope these tips will help you get the most out of LinkedIn and facilitate you in making the connections that will help your business succeed. If you have any tips to add to the list, or would like to share your experiences of using LinkedIn, then let us know in the comments.

By Chinny Ogbuagu, of Pitney Bowes Ltd – a leading provider of customer communication technologies. Chinny writes content to help and advise small business on the Pitney Bowes blog – you can also follow her on Twitter and Google+.

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