LinkedIn is a great way for SMEs to promote themselves and attract potential employees to their business. We attended a recent event hosted by LinkedIn, and according to the experts themselves, there are 10 no-brainer steps every business must take to ensure maximum effectiveness and exposure:
Your profile is the first and most important step. It’s your online business card and the first port of call for potential customers and employees. Use the LinkedIn Wizard to assist you and pay particular attention to the following:
Most of your employees will have LinkedIn profiles of their own. Have them link to your company profile, as well as your company website, company blog and whatever other online presence you may have. This all helps raise your profile and improve your company’s search engine ranking.
According to LinkedIn, you should “join many groups, participate regularly in a few and manage one yourself”. Groups are a great place to network with other business owners, industry players and those with common interests. They are not the place for promoting your products and services, other than indirectly. Groups are a way to make contacts which can lead to later sales or employment opportunities. They are not the place for blatant self-promotion.
The key to groups from a business perspective, is to establish yourself as an authority on whatever industry your business is involved in. Once people see you as something of a guru, then it’s time to start and run your own group and it’s here that you can really promote your business.
These are amazing tools that every email user must install. For Outlook, LinkedIn recommends you download the Outlook Social Connector (OSC), which allows you to sync your online social networks to your Outlook Inbox and organise your LinkedIn contacts from within Outlook.
Rapportive is the Gmail plugin, recently purchased by LinkedIn. It gives you a quick ‘social overview’ of anyone you are about to email, or have received an email from. This is my #1 Gmail plugin.
Making use of LinkedIn’s Polls is a great way to gather statistics related to your business. You just ask a question and LinkedIn polls all your contacts plus millions more LinkedIn people from various demographics to give you statistics you can use to better focus your marketing and recruitment strategies. Each poll can have one question and up to five multiple choice answers.
It is important to regularly update both your personal and your company status. This keeps you top of mind with more of your contacts and gives you the opportunity to advertise your latest project, demonstrate your knowledge, or talk about current news or issues in your industry. If your updates are of interest to others, they will choose to ‘follow’ your company on LinkedIn. As with any form of advertising or promotion, don’t bombard people with updates. Just do it when you have something worthwhile to tell them.
LinkedIn also suggests you follow other companies. This is a good way to keep tabs on your opposition, identify potential clients and partners and keep up with industry news and events. LinkedIn allows every individual to follow up to 50 companies.
In an attempt to become more relevant from a content perspective, LinkedIn now offers LinkedIn Today, a targeted news feed that delivers the day’s top news stories, tailored to your particular industry. According to LinkedIn, it’s ‘an easy way to become a thought leader in your industry’.
Adding this button to your job postings allows candidates to apply with one click, using their LinkedIn profile as their application. This means you will attract more candidates, including those active/passive types (not actively seeking work, but open to looking) who probably wouldn’t get around to applying through normal channels.
Adding this tab to your company profile page gives you a dedicated area to display your company’s goods and services. It also lets visitors recommend your company to all of your contacts, which is the best kind of publicity you can have for attracting customers or job candidates.
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