LinkedIn can be a bit intimidating for small to medium-sized business owners. We recently met with clients to discuss their social media strategy and were asked a very good question: “Do I need to be active on LinkedIn as both myself and my business?”
The answer is yes, it is helpful. While it’s not necessary for you to have an active and updated profile on LinkedIn in order to manage a successful company page, a robust personal profile will help distinguish you as an expert in your field and open you up to professional connections that could one day help your business.
For instance, you may need a printing company to help you get brochures out to your customers quickly and at a reasonable price. You can browse your personal connections on LinkedIn and see if anyone works for a printing company or has a trusted contact at a printing company.
But in order to grow your professional network and grow your company’s following, you need to know the steps to take in order to use LinkedIn to its highest potential. Here are our top tips for creating and maintaining both your profile and your company page:
- Fill out your profile with as much information as you can. Personally, I update my LinkedIn profile more often than my resume, just based on the ease of use. The most information that you can share with other users about you, your work history, and what you are looking for at this point in your career, the more people will be able to give you the resources and connections that you need.
- Be sure to have a profile photo, but keep it professional!
- Grow your network. Don’t use LinkedIn as a way for people to find you – go out and add them! Adding colleagues, people you’ve worked on projects with, classmates from college, people you want to work with and other industry professionals is appropriate. If you do not know someone who you wants to connect with, you will either need to provide their email address or ask to be connected to them through a mutual connection. You can also select the “Friend” option on the “Invitation to Connect” page, but provide a personal message on why you would like to connect with this user. An example would be:
My name is Jessica and I work for Imagebox. I noticed that you work at ___________ and that your specialty is coding HTML. I would love to learn more about coding, but I’m not really sure where to start. I know that you are one of the top developers in the Pittsburgh area, and I was wondering if you wanted to grab coffee sometime and possibly discuss any options that you think I would benefit from. Thank you!
- Join groups and take part in discussions. This will show other users that you know your business and can walk the talk. And when you don’t have the answer to something, you can use these discussions to ask for what you need and get advice from like-minded peers and experts in your field.
- LinkedIn Today is a resource that I use daily. LinkedIn collects articles based on your industry, the groups you join, and the influencers you follow on the site, and gives you a constant update of articles that you would find relevant. It’s a rare day when I don’t find an article here that does not help me in some way.
Your company page:
- Share regularly, whether you’re sharing company news, freshly written blog posts, or interesting articles written by other businesses and publications.
- Include an avatar and cover image in order to brand your company page. Keeping the branding on your social media channels consistent will help with brand recognition.
- Use LinkedIn’s analytics to gauge which kind of posts get the most engagement on your page, so that you can be sure to post similar content in the future.
- Cross-promote your company LinkedIn page on your website and other social media sites. While you make connections on your personal profile, your company page gets followers, so you don’t go out and actively “connect” with other users from your company page.
- Include keywords in your profile. Social media needs to be optimized just like your website and blog posts!
- While this goes outside of the realm of what you can do on your company page, you can also used LinkedIn to find prospects for open positions. If you would like to put some money into your search, you can click the “Jobs” tab and select “Post a Job” to include your ad on the site. It’s easy for everyone involved: You’ll be able to see which users viewed your job post, and users can skip the messy application process as their LinkedIn profile will populate most of the information you’ll need. The price for a 30-day ad posting is $195. Or, you can just do a manual search of LinkedIn users to find candidates who meet your criteria.