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I've got a profile on LinkedIn, but I'm not sure if I should do something more to grow my business. What do you think?
As you probably already know, LinkedIn is known as the professional social network. At its heart is the individual profile, our online resumes for the world to see. We connect with our peers from college, from previous jobs, and professional networks.
You may have heard that it's a great place to network and look for a new traditional job.
But if you're a freelancer, soloprenuer, or business owner, should you invest time in LinkedIn?
If your product or service is business related, then the chances are, yes, you should be investing in LinkedIn.
Should I have a LinkedIn Business Page?
LinkedIn business pages are designed to connect the business with employees, customers, and prospects (both prospective customers and prospective employees). With a business page, you post updates, just like you do from your personal profile. You can also run groups associated with your business. (Sounds a lot like Facebook, doesn't it?)
With a Facebook business page, you can also run ads; either sponsored posts or text ads. This is where LinkedIn really gets its power. You can target your ads using virtually anything on a profile – and any combination of it. Let's say you were looking for people with Salesforce skills in New York that worked at a company with 11-50 employees…you can target that. How about art directors with 10 years of experience that went to Texas A&M? You can target that too.
What about Groups?
LinkedIn groups are a great way for your customers and prospects to connect with one another. Unlike a Business Page, any members of the group can post. If you want, you can choose to approve all postings before they are published, as well as any members before they can join.
LinkedIn groups can be great if there is value in your customers talking to one another and collaborating. You can also host a LinkedIn group on a related topic to your business. For example, if your industry has a certification (like the Project Management Professional, or PMP certification for project managers), you could create
You can also host a LinkedIn group on a related topic to your business. For example, if your industry has a certification (like the Project Management Professional, or PMP certification for project managers), you could create a group where they can connect with their peers. While it may be challenging to sell to the group members directly, this type of group can establish your place in the industry.
LinkedIn sounds a lot like Facebook with Pages and Groups. Why should I pick LinkedIn?
While Facebook is the epitome of a social network, not everyone uses Facebook for business or professional purposes. Many people use Facebook to connect with family and friends, sharing pictures of their breakfast and cat memes. If you're in a business-to-business industry, or providing professional development services, then LinkedIn may provide additional value to your business.
I've seen some people blogging on LinkedIn. Should I do that?
LinkedIn launched a publishing platform in 2014 for key influencers to write about their experience and expertise. Since then, they've opened it up so that any LinkedIn member can post their own articles. While some people contribute substantial, well-thought out and unique articles, others re-post content from their existing blog, and still others just take the intro from their blog as a teaser before linking back to their own site.
My first recommendation is always to put your best content on your own website. In order to capitalize on LinkedIn exposure, create unique complimentary content that adds value on it's own. Then encourage readers to visit your own site for more details or additional, similar content.
For example, if you're a business mindset coach, you may post a blog on LinkedIn about how one client had increased their close rate by 33% when they started meditating for 30 minutes a day. At the end, include a link to an article on your website where you give tips on how to fit meditation into an already busy day, and a free audio file of 3 guided meditations.
What about advertising on LinkedIn?
LinkedIn offers three primary advertising options:
- Sponsored Posts
- Text Ads
- Sponsored InMail
Sponsored posts and text ads offer pay-per-click or impression based advertising to your target audience. You get to use all of the data that LinkedIn has collected about its users for targeting. Options include details about where they currently work (like company size), skills, education, geographic location, and even group membership.
Sponsored InMail uses the LinkedIn messaging system to send emails to your target audience. One unique think that LinkedIn offers with Sponsored InMail that I haven't seen with other services is their delivery. Your message appears in the inbox when someone is logged into LinkedIn. This helps boost open rates; although not necessarily responses.
As an individual or business, it's smart to have a profile on LinkedIn. Before you invest time or money in marketing on LinkedIn, however, you should answer the following questions:
- Does my product or service meet a professional development or business-to-business need?
- Is my audience on LinkedIn? (LinkedIn is most popular among white-collar professionals)
- Is there an existing group that I can participate in?
- Do I have time to manage a presence on LinkedIn?