LinkedIn is the grande dame of social networks, launched waaaay back in 2003 as a platform for posting cvs and looking for jobs.
Often lagging behind more technologically advanced platforms such as Facebook, it is now really coming into its own. This is in part due to the very simplicity that made it look dated just a few years back.
At its heart, LinkedIn is indeed a simple beast. It’s an easy way to connect with business folk. Searches are quick, easy and so long as you’re not trying to find a John Smith, you’ll find the person you’re looking for pretty quickly.
You can also see contacts people you know have connected with, and expand your own network that way too.
And that’s the whole point of LinkedIn for business - finding people and making business connections.
What LinkedIn is really good for
LinkedIn is a way to make business contacts that can help you develop your own business, and you help develop theirs.
It’s like an interactive Filofax (remember them?) that keeps you in touch with that printer you met weeks back walking the dog, and also that eloquent influencer you want to keep an eye on for next year’s conference. It’s a great way to keep in touch with people you meet at networking events, without keeping stacks of business cards in a drawer that gather dust.
What LinkedIn is not good for
LinkedIn is not a great place to post about your blog or press releases once in a while and then do nothing more, what we call ’dump and run’. It’s not good for anyone who doesn’t want to interact and respond to posts, or who just wants to ‘big up’ themselves and their business. People will see through that in a flash.
Recruitment and LinkedIn
LinkedIn’s Recruiter platform is a good way to seek out new talent to join your team. The product had a major overhaul in October 2018, with new features announced that will enable to bring leads, sourced candidates and new applicants all together in one place.
Now the bad news...
According to Statista, the average LI user is on the platform for less than 2 hours a week. That’s less than 25 minutes a day, and many use it for far less. So, if you’re to capture the attention of all those contacts you’ve made, it has to be worth their while.
Here's how. Think what stops your scrolling down Facebook and make you pause - a great photo, an eye-catching graphic, a video. Now apply the same ideas to your LI posts.
Inevitably that means so-called native video. Native video is video content created by you or your business that’s done in-house. It usually features yourself in it somewhere. After all, your contacts have connected with you as a person. It doesn’t need to be fancy; mobile phone footage will be just fine so long as the audio is clear and the footage is well lit.
However, it does need to be SHORT. Go back to Facebook and see just how short most of the videos you click on there actually are. You’ll find they vary from 20-40 seconds.
Your LinkedIn videos need to be short, snappy and preferably useful. They can answer a single question, show a single product, or be a soundbite from someone else you met at networking. Make it interesting, and your contacts will engage with it, respond, and hopefully share too.
Back to basics
Now this might sound like a contradiction to the above idea, but text-only posts are making a comeback.
According to Search Engine Journal, “Basic text posts are generating more likes, comments, and views than any other form of content on LinkedIn.”
It’s simply because in a world of self-promotion and images, simplicity sometimes shines through. OK, not that simple - you’ll need to properly format your posts, add bullet points, and make it worth reading, but it can actually be relaxing for your contacts just to read something for a few seconds - and respond.
You probably know you can post an article direct on LI. So make it work for you. Again, don’t just copy and paste in your latest blog (which simply repeats text from your website). Instead create something that will engage and entertain your contacts, and maybe spark a discussion.
If you’ve been writing a longer article (like this one) and you’ve got a few left-over ideas or snippets of info (like we have), use them to create a short article for LinkedIn, and see what happens!
As PPC advertising options go, LI is pretty pricey. However, you can specify your key target audience and be sure you reach the right level of seniority or technical expertise you require. It’s a bit of an art, but with tracking and analysis, it gives you a double benefit for all the work you’ve put in. (For more info on this, go to https://business.linkedin.com/marketing-solutions/ad-targeting/website-retargeting.)
LinkedIn for small businesses
LinkedIn isn’t just for larger businesses. Small home businesses can benefit too, as just having an active LinkedIn profile is:
- “Giving you exposure to people hunting for products or services. LinkedIn's search features allow others who are looking for what you offer to find you.
- Getting you introductions to potential clients. Your LinkedIn business connections can give you an in with people and businesses you might not otherwise be able to reach.
- Displaying your recommendations from others on LinkedIn. Recommendations are word-of-mouth testimonials for you and your business. They provide credibility that encourages people to do business with you.” (2)
Make sure people know you’re on LinkedIn!
You’d be amazed how many business cards we’ve collected over the years with no LinkedIn address on them, yet the owners have a profile. As the saying goes, if you’ve got it, flaunt it! Put up your LI details on your card, and your email footer, and your company LI page link on your website.
It’s free for a basic account
One of the most remarkable legacies of years of free content on the Internet is that most social media channels are free to join. So make the most of it!
For more tips on how to post on LinkedIn, see this Hootsuite training video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4amoxMS7o1Y
(1) https://www.statista.com/statistics/264116/weekly-linkedin-usage-of-registered-users/ Admittedly these are 2016 figures, but even so….