Here at MINT, our social media management department handles a number of LinkedIn pages for our clients and are often asked how we can utilise the social network as part of a marketing strategy. In fact, we are asked so often that we decided to write this blog which will take you through how businesses should approach LinkedIn from both a company and personal perspective.
Firstly, imagine the LinkedIn platform is a worldwide, on-going business show or networking event. Now think of companies that attend exhibitions and what they normally need to ensure a successful, productive experience?
The most important aspect to exhibiting is having the salespeople and representatives at the event to speak to new people, garner interest in the business and create leads. In this LinkedIn-expo analogy, a personal page acts as the salesperson. It is down to the business owners, CEOs and other members of a business to create their own LinkedIn personal pages and actively connect and engage with other relevant LinkedIn members.
These personal pages must be well-formed with a good amount of information about the individual and the company they are representing. Much like meeting people at a networking event, someone who is just going to talk about how great their business is is going to get very boring, very quickly.
Finding connections can take a bit of time as email addresses are often required and not all connection requests are accepted. However, once a connection is made with someone it is important to interact and engage with them through direct messages or commenting on their posts. Like in all networking events, attendees will assume the majority of the people they meet will want to try and sell them something, so don’t be afraid to give them your best sales pitch once you have gone through the general chit-chat.
Now we have the representatives of the LinkedIn business show sorted, the next thing any good exhibitor needs is an exhibition stand; this is where a company page comes in.
What many business people don’t understand is that a LinkedIn company page doesn’t work in the same way as a Twitter, Facebook or Google+ business page. LinkedIn does not allow users to go actively engage with other people or businesses through a company page so they should be viewed as the exhibition stands at this huge, virtual networking event.
Obviously, a ‘stand’ should stand out from the crowd and in an actual business event this can be done by adding flashing lights, dancing monkeys or fireworks (not suggested for indoor events!). But on LinkedIn the best way to maximise a page is simply through ensuring the page has a decent logo and cover image, and includes as much information as possible. The more a potential client knows about what a business does, the more likely they are to purchase.
As company pages can’t be used to go out and look for followers, it’s important to drive new personal connections towards the page, much like salespeople would aim to do at a business show.
LinkedIn groups are also a great way of networking and gaining new connections. In our LinkedIn business show, these groups should be seen as seminars or workshops where relevant and like-minded, industry-relevant people will be congregating.
LinkedIn is a brilliant platform to find and develop potential business leads, but users have to be prepared to network, schmooze and pitch. If you decide to attend the LinkedIn Virtual Business Show and sit in the corner quietly without an exhibition stand, you’re not going to generate any leads.
Go out and mingle, tell people about yourself and your business, and create some great, valuable leads.