5 excellent ways to use LinkedIn for business

You’ve already got a LinkedIn profile and want to know how to use this social network to promote your business and reach others.  Here are 5 excellent ways to use LinkedIn for business.  This is by no means a complete list, but it should give you a good push in the right direction.

 

Industry Research

LinkedIn Signal is a tool that scans user updates for any topic that you’re interested in.  In the left hand column on the image below, you’ll notice that you can search specific keywords through many segments including your network connections, company and location.  The search results are displayed in the middle of the page.  If you like this particular search, you can save it and come back to it anytime you want to look for updates. On the right hand side, you’ll notice the most popular posts, called Trending Links, on your chosen topic.

LinkedIn lets you search updates for the information you're looking for
LinkedIn lets you search updates for the information you’re looking for

 

The search bar is a fantastic tool to help you find the people and companies you’re looking for. All of the information you entered when you created your great profile is searchable.  The same goes for everyone other person and business who also created an account.  If you want to research specific information about people or companies, I’d urge you to play around with the advanced search bar features.

 

Try using the advanced search bar to find the people and companies you're interested in
Try using the advanced search bar to find the people and companies you’re interested in

 

Prospecting

When I was in sales, I used to cold call a lot.  A major challenge with this lead generation tactic is being completely in the dark about who the decision maker was or their interests.  The advanced search bar (described above) is a useful prospecting tool to find the people you need to speak with.  For example, lets say that I wanted to find the brand manager at Encana.  Below is a screenshot of how I could find that person.

Screen shot 2013-03-04 at 6.17.20 AM
Finding decision makers has never been easier

 

The next step is to connect with that person in a meaningful way. Once I click on this person’s profile, I can ask to connect with them (please, please, please put something personal in the message) and meet for coffee , introduce myself through inmail, scan their profile to look for common interests that I can use to break the ice or join and take part in online groups that they are also a part of.

 

Marketing & Advertising

I’m going to break this section down into a few subtopics – Positioning, lead conversion and paid ads.

 

Positioning

Everyone that you or your company is connected to may be exposed to your updates.  Sending out regular updates that are relevant to your follower will help you gain attention.  When your updates are frequent and consistent around a central theme, you’ll position yourself as a thought leader in that field.  There are two ways to come up with content for your updates.  The first is by creating it yourself.  This is a great way to expose people to your blog and showcase your talented team.  The second way is to curate content.  In exactly the same way that museums attract attention by curating art, you can gain attention by curating information about your business.  LinkedIn Today is a great tool that helps make finding content easy.

In general, it’s a good idea to include photos in your updates since they seem to stand out and get attention better than words.   Updates made from your company page to will also be sent to all of those following your business.

 

Further position yourself with personalized messages that offer your opinion on an article or topic
Further position yourself with personalized messages that offer your opinion on an article or topic

 

Lead Conversion

On your company page you can list the products and services you offer.  Each specific product or service should be Linked back to your website.  Think of this method like a sales and marketing funnel.  Once you create awareness, you can pull people towards your sales team through a well orchestrated conversion funnel.

The recommend tab is an added bonus.  Treat this like a testimonial and be sure to thank those who recommend your products.

 

Use your products page to create awareness about your company and convert prospects into sales
Use your products page to create awareness about your company and convert prospects into sales

 

Paid Advertising

LinkedIn gives you the ability to advertise on their network.  You can target ads to specific people, companies and profiles and pay for only those who click-through to the ad.

 

Click on the image to link through to the LinkedIn Ad centre
Click on the image to link through to the LinkedIn Ad centre

 

How did you find this tutorial?  Does it help?  Are there any other ways you’ve used LinkedIn to help your business?

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