Most of us probably think of LinkedIn as the go-to social network for B2B businesses, professional networking and recruitment. Certainly at first glance it’s not the obvious platform for small businesses and B2C focused companies. However, with steady year-on-year growth and 380,000,000+ registered users LinkedIn can offer your business some real benefits.
“51% of B2C companies use LinkedIn as a marketing platform (far more than the 35% who use Pinterest).” LinkedIn Pulse
More and more businesses are using social media as an integral part of their marketing strategy. So too are consumers with 52% using two or more social networking sites. LinkedIn is a key social networking platform and so we take a look at how small businesses can profit from a LinkedIn presence.
Don’t dismiss the numbers: LinkedIn statistics
380 million registered users in 200 countries
2 new members every second
3 million company pages
1 in 3 professionals are on LinkedIn
35% users access LinkedIn daily
LinkedIn has over 1.5 million groups
93 million monthly unique visits
How can small businesses benefit from LinkedIn ?
LinkedIn offers you the opportunity to strengthen your brand, extend your reach, support your content marketing efforts and better understand your market. You may already have your own personal profile (as we mentioned earlier one in three professionals does!) but LinkedIn also encourages smaller businesses to build a company presence. They offer helpful tips and advice about how to set up your company page and make the most of your businesses profile. Check out LinkedIn Small Business .
Extend your reach.
When we think of LinkedIn we tend to think ‘business people’ but remember professionals are consumers too. Of course you may need to adjust your tone and content to reflect a more business orientated environment but LinkedIn offers you an additional platform to reinforce your brand, drive traffic to your website and generate new leads. It provides the opportunity to reach potential new customers who may not be preset on other more ‘consumer’ orientated networks. Research shows that:
13% of LinkedIn users are not on Facebook
59% of LinkedIn users are not on Twitter
83% of LinkedIn users are not on Pinterest.
Build your brand
LinkedIn provides an additional channel for you to raise awareness, reinforce your brand and increase your business’ visibility. To do this, creating a strong Company Page is essential.
When you out together your Company Page think about how to best optimise your presence. Use high-quality images for your logo and banner and think carefully about the keywords you choose for your description. You can also create separate Showcase Pages that link off your main page. You can have a number of different standalone showcase pages (up to 10 initially) that allow you to highlight particular products or services. To create a Showcase Page click on the ‘Edit’ drop down to the right of your company page and click on ‘Create a Showcase Page’.
You and your employees should also have up-to-date Personal Profiles pages connected to your company page. It will help further promote your business and your brand personality.
Support your content marketing
LinkedIn offers a further channel to support your content marketing efforts and drive traffic to your website. You can post content through Status Updates on your company page. To make the most of your presence post interesting content regularly and where appropriate include a URL link back to your site. For example try sharing industry updates, blog posts, company news, new product launches, Videos and infographics
Research shows that 60% of LinkedIn users are interested in industry updates, therefore when you are sharing updates do bear in mind that what you might post on Facebook may not work as well on LinkedIn. Choose content relevant to the LinkedIn environment.
Don’t forget to try to include eye-catching images with your updates. High-quality visual content will help increase engagement.
LinkedIn Pulse is another way to raise your profile and help establish you as an expert in a particular industry or field. Pulse is LinkedIn’s publishing platform. Although you can’t currently publish articles off you Company Page you can publish them from your (or your employees) Personal Profiles page. If you are interested in posting a blog article checkout this helpful video on ‘How to publish blog posts and articles on LinkedIn Pulse’.
Networking is central to success with LinkedIn. It will help you connect with potential customers, industry influencers, third-party suppliers and potential employees. Keep active on LinkedIn through regularly sharing interesting content, following relevant companies and professionals, always responding to comments, reviews and queries and joining LinkedIn Groups.
Networking can help build leads for your business. Indeed, research from HubSpot found that traffic from LinkedIn generated their best visitor-to-lead conversion rates – three times higher than Twitter or Facebook. There are over 1.5 million LinkedIn Groups so chances are you’ll be able to find one relevant to your business sector and of course if you want you can even set up your own group.
LinkedIn is an excellent way to gather market intelligence. Joining groups can help you collect useful insights into your target audience and stay abreast of industry trends.
LinkedIn is also a great way to keep on top of competitor activity. Check out their company pages. What are they posting? Who are they following? How can you differentiate yourself?
Learn from other business outside your industry as well. Take a look at out the top sites with LinkedIn Best Company Pages 2014 and check out this link from the Content Marketing Institute for some great examples of how B2C brands are doing it.
Hopefully this article has shown that LinkedIn isn’t just for recruitment and B2B companies. Small businesses, including B2C, can also benefit from a presence. We’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences using LinkedIn for your business, so please do leave a comment.