Tim Sanders has said, “Your network is your net worth,” and Porter Gale wrote a book with that title. What they’re saying is that the size and quality of your network may better predict your future wealth than your company’s balance sheet.
Building a business is about building a network. It explains why business failure is not a disaster, and why so many successful entrepreneurs could rise after a failed venture. The business may have failed, but they built a network that would outlive the business.
The best online place to expand your network in the Western hemisphere is definitely LinkedIn.
Overview: What is LinkedIn?
LinkedIn is a professional social network. It’s Facebook for business. Not to say you can't use Facebook for your business, but the origin of Facebook is the personal sphere, whereas LinkedIn’s is the professional sphere.
Your personal LinkedIn profile is your CV. For some, it’s also their personal branding, their marketing, or even their sales channel.
On LinkedIn, you showcase your business experience, you detail your competencies, and you collect endorsements. And a LinkedIn profile is more reliable than a CV because of its interlinks to verifiable information on other LinkedIn pages.
What is the benefit of using LinkedIn for marketing your business?
LinkedIn is an excellent recruitment platform, but it’s much more than a collection of CVs and a job board. It’s a professional network where business is conducted.
From product search to reviews and recommendations to marketing and sales, the stronger your business profile, the more credible you will be. And the more active you are on LinkedIn, the more likely you are to reap the benefits of that strength.
LinkedIn helps you improve your profile by giving you access to your Social Selling Index. Here’s mine.
How to use LinkedIn effectively to promote your business
Your closest connections on social networks are indispensable. As a business, benefit from the strength of your team members' social profiles, but remember they are not yours, they belong to the members. Let's go through some of the most effective ways of using LinkedIn for business.
1. Create a business page on LinkedIn
If you haven't already, create a LinkedIn business page. You might not need it as a solo business, but if your company includes even a few people, set one up. A business page is free and easy. You do it directly from your personal LinkedIn account.
Use your logo and a background image, and describe your business in a concise manner. And most importantly, think about the content you will publish on the page.
2. Connect your team on LinkedIn
A LinkedIn profile is an interactive CV. By adding your company page, anybody who has worked in your company can now connect their CV to the company profile.
Remember, each person owns their personal profile, so you can’t connect for them. What you can do, however, is provide them with the right elements to support the company branding for them to include in their profiles.
If they connect to your company on LinkedIn, their profile is an asset to your company profile. Here are a some things you can do:
- Review your team’s profiles on LinkedIn.
- Provide team members with the correct linking and wording information for the company profile.
- Do a photo shoot of each team member so they have great portraits to use on their accounts.
- Provide additional images in harmony with your logo which can be used as profile backgrounds.
- Suggest all team members interconnect to strengthen their profiles. This seems obvious but not everybody thinks about it.
- Do an audit of member profiles and use a consultant to advise on improvements.
- Suggest LinkedIn skills team members can include in their profile.
- Endorse or recommend your team members. Nobody is better suited than you to do that.
Perhaps after you have so generously helped your team improve their profiles, they will reciprocate and communicate on the company profile. You can also interact with them. Some might even post or write articles on LinkedIn in the company’s name.
Interactions, posts, mentions, comments, and articles all strengthen your company profile. This is how to build employee advocacy. If your team is so inclined, you can ask them to invite their business contacts to follow the company page.
3. Apply your content strategy to LinkedIn
If you are in the B2B sphere, LinkedIn is probably the primary social network in your social strategy. This means you can directly apply your content strategy to LinkedIn. Most types of social media content work well on LinkedIn: video, articles, and image posts.
4. Tag and comment as a business
LinkedIn marketing allows you to use content other companies have published. A few years back, a company page was an inactive repository of posts and job offers, and only candidates would follow a brand.
This has changed radically since LinkedIn allowed pages to comment and users to invite other people to follow a business.
A good way to generate interaction and increase the reach of posts on LinkedIn is to tag people in posts. If you followed the advice above on connecting your team on LinkedIn, then you can tag some of your team members in your post to make them aware of your post and invite them to interact.
You simply type the @ symbol and then the person's name. Once the name is highlighted, you can see it is linked to the user’s profile.
You can also comment as a business. The personal profile which is the admin of the company page will sometimes receive notifications with an invitation to engage in conversations as the company.
5. Find your next client on LinkedIn
Once you have a strong company profile, communicate consistently on LinkedIn. Now it’s time to look further and consider the network an acquisition channel.
You can use a LinkedIn search with keywords to identify prospects and connect with them directly. LinkedIn also has a powerful advertising engine to reach your target audience.
LinkedIn is where business connections thrive
Great for recruitment but so much more than a job board or collection of CVs, LinkedIn today is the professional social network of choice for most business communication.
Strengthen your company profile, increase your reach, engage with prospects, and communicate with your target audience to win business there.