When learning how to use social media as a professional, I enjoyed interacting on Facebook and Twitter. I found many interesting social media “experts” to follow, and quickly picked up on how to properly use each platform. However, I dreaded learning how to use LinkedIn, until I actually explored it and read of all the benefits to participating in a “grown up” professional community. Completing my profile was actually pretty fun.
My advice for business owners:
- Appoint one employee to be linked to, and manage your company’s LinkedIn page. If you’re a smaller company, you may consider doing this yourself, since the person linked to your page has access to edit all the administrative information, and you’ll (most likely) be linked to your own company for the duration of your career. Any other employee may be leaving at some point, and you’d have to appoint someone else to start managing the account. If you’re a large company, I suggest hiring a digital creative content coordinator (social media coordinator). Social media strategy development, management, editing, and publishing really are full-time jobs. Sometimes it takes more than one person!
- Create your company’s LinkedIn page. These are not as pretty or interactive as Facebook Pages, or Twitter Profiles, but they do serve a purpose. You have the option to post company information, awards, products, and services, job openings, recent blog posts, recent tweets, reading lists, PowerPoints, portfolios, etc. Click here for more on adding applications to your LinkedIn Company page.
- Use LinkedIn to generate leads. Now, nothing is more annoying that spam. I totally get that. However, I’m not suggesting you spam people. I’m suggesting you invest some time in conversing with people who can benefit from your service, and with others in your industry. You might learn something too! Try to dedicate 10-15 minutes every day to commenting on posts in a group you’re interested in. If you don’t see anything of substance, start a conversation.
- Ask and answer questions on LinkedIn’s “Answers.” Many people have had success generating leads and producing sales doing this, and it’s such an easy way to start a conversation!
The most important thing to remember about utilizing LinkedIn is that it’s still social media. Just because it’s a website for professional networking, doesn’t mean it’s a free for all to try and sell to every person in a group related to your industry, or to every one of your connections.
I’ve read on many other blogs that people should think of participating on LinkedIn as a networking event or a cocktail party, and I think that’s great advice. You wouldn’t just walk up to someone and start pitching your product or service at one of these events. You would introduce yourself; you’d get to know your new acquaintances, find out what they are interested in, and ask what they do. If the opportunity presented itself, you’d mention what you do, and how you might have something beneficial to offer. The same applies to adding your “two cents” to a group discussion on LinkedIn. Talk to people a little bit, and get to know their needs before throwing your product or service in their faces.
I’m contributing to an in-house seminar tomorrow, in order to help our office grasp and apply all there is to know about LinkedIn. Please let me know if I’ve missed something!
Apply these tips, and you’ll begin to see the difference a little socializing on the clock can make!
So, go be social!
I’ll see you online.