The proliferation of social media has well and truly affirmed the lonely days of HTML flat land ‘Web 1.0’ are kaput. Much like the iPod classic. While not all of us welcome the idea of shifting out of real time to connect in the digital space, every technological cloud has a silver lining –computing pun intended. Enter LinkedIn, one of the most useful business tools on the web.
Launched in 2002, LinkedIn has grown into the world’s largest, professionally oriented social networking site. As the contemporary epitome of ‘six degrees of separation’, it is known as the marketing hub for many corporate companies HR departments, job-seeking professionals and ‘solopreneurs.’ However, it exists to provide a much more comprehensive array of services that are benefitting small businesses.
Tips on how to use the site to enhance areas such as professional branding, marketing, sales and hiring can be found in LinkedIn’s digital resource centre for small businesses. The Style team have collated a few standout points to run you through why this rather busy corner of the Internet could be essential to growing the success of your business.
1. Professional Branding
Not only can your personal LinkedIn presence tell potential clients, customers, business contacts and employees who you are, your business’s profile can too. By actively (it’s the definitive word here!) sharing pertinent images, presentations, articles and in-house news you can showcase what makes your business unique and relevant, and further grow your network. Joining other LinkedIn-based company pages and groups, will help you understand how this works and provide plenty of inspiration to keep up. It’s insightful and addictive!
Once established, you can utilise your company page to highlight all your business has to offer. Tech-savvy professionals are people too; LinkedIn is one of their news resources and where they may discover your brand! This is where your business can establish a community of followers and brand advocates. The power of word of mouth is still going strong, via social media! You can even ensure your message gets to the right people with sponsored, geo-targeted updates.
LinkedIn has powerful and easy-to-use search tools that will allow you to seek out potential buyers, investors, sponsors –who ever it may be you need to collaborate with in your location. Perhaps most importantly, the site enables you to make contact with these individuals or companies in an appropriate networking context. If meeting in person, some professionals may have expected you to ‘check them out’ in a do-your-homework sense! It’s key to read up on and master LinkedIn etiquette when moving forward with sales pitches.
There are a plethora of job pages scattered across the web, however LinkedIn is becoming the cleverest of them all with job ads posted straight to networks of existing followers, potentially people who hope to work for or admire your business. You may call them ‘brand fans!’ Great results have stemmed from finding already enthusiastic and clued-in employees on LinkedIn and contacting via InMail –the site’s private messaging functions. If candidates reach out to you, it’s a huge bonus.