I know what you’re probably thinking: LinkedIn is just a haunt for spammy salespeople and job offers that I’m not interested in. I hear you! I’ve had my fair share of spam and scams.
But it turns out there is a very good side to LinkedIn. It can be a great place for owners of smaller businesses to reach new people, grow their networks and find clients.
When the clock struck 12am on 1st January this year I didn’t expect to say that 2020 seems to be the year for LinkedIn, but it does. I heard some good things about it and realised I needed to up my game.
Like any other form of social networking LinkedIn is all about building relationships and providing value to your audience, so the recruiter or salesperson who bombards you isn’t doing it right. There is definitely a right way to use LinkedIn that can make it a powerful tool for business owners.
Before thinking up a content strategy we need to start with a proper understanding of the main purposes of LinkedIn. They are thrice:
- Jobs: a place for recruiters to post job postings and job hunters to post resumes
- B2B sales: a place for business to find and sell to each other
- Business related content: Now more than ever LinkedIn is a growing content hub. You can keep up to date with trending topics in industry, connect with thought leaders and find entertaining and informative blog posts, videos etc.
Most people in LinkedIn’s orbit probably associate it most strongly with job hunting, but does LinkedIn really have any use for people who are already running a business and not looking for employment?
For businesses that sell to other businesses, I think the answer is yes. Here’s why.
1. LinkedIn is a professional networking platform
Unlike Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc, people on LinkedIn expect to talk business. They know what they’re going to get. That makes people much more receptive to seeing your case studies, sharing business tips, discussing interesting business experiences or reading your testimonials.
Because LinkedIn is an explicitly business-oriented network people there will already be in a much better frame of mind to see what you’re offering, book a call or purchase from you.
2. LinkedIn is great for selling B2B
LinkedIn makes it much easier to reach and connect with people who work in large companies.
On Facebook we have friends, on Twitter and Instagram we have followers but on LinkedIn we have connections and followers. It may feel a bit intrusive to send a personal friend request to the CEO of a large company but following or adding someone as a business connection on LinkedIn is a much easier bridge to cross.
3. LinkedIn users have more to spend
So LinkedIn users are a little more likely to be able to afford your services. You’re less likely to be putting effort in to connecting with people who may love your work but are actually unable to buy from you.
4. LinkedIn doesn’t feel as competitive
This surprised me.
The tone of communication on a platform will always be somewhat subjective but I’ve personally found the professional context creates a helpful atmosphere.
On other platforms there’s also simply so much more competition. Twitter and Instagram seem to be much larger playing fields which makes the competition for the attention of algorithms and people that much fiercer, but exposure on LinkedIn is very much based around interests and personal connections, so it’s easier to stay in the view of people you’re connected to.
The content sharing side of LinkedIn is somewhat newer and people expect more businessey posts, so when people see genuinely engaging, helpful and personal content they’re much easier to impress. A little bit of creativity on LinkedIn goes far.
5. LinkedIn agency pages interconnect well
Just like with Facebook you can have both a personal LinkedIn profile and a company page that can post and interact separately. Unlike with Facebook, however, the links between companies and people are much more transparent, so they can be more useful for building a brand through your personal connections. You can act as the face of your brand without confusing people.
You don’t need to set up a company page to use LinkedIn but there are a few reasons you should consider setting one up:
- If you want to run ads these will have to be run through a company page
- If you want a team of employees or supporters to advocate your brand on LinkedIn they can do this best by being connected through a company page
Here’s how a personal profile and business page can work together well: when you find a helpful article, a cool photo or a video talking about your services, share it on your business page then reshare it as your personal profile. That way your connections will see your company post, reinforcing the brand and hopefully some of them will click through to follow the page to stay connected to the business, not just you personally.
What do you think? Do you have any questions or have I missed anything out? Leave a comment below.
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