After our two-part exploration into Twitter, continuing our journey through social media is the next platform that requires a little bit more attention than just a broad overview: LinkedIn.  LinkedIn, for those of you that don’t know, is a professional network that has a lot of marketing capabilities behind it.  Not only do people have their personal LinkedIn profiles online, you can also make your company a professional profile, which is a really great idea if you’re trying to make your social media presence generate some substantial leads.  In fact, if you’re not sold on LinkedIn just yet, here are some statistics that may spike your interest:

I think that LinkedIn sometimes gets the short end of the stick as far as social media platforms go.  It may be because it’s not as “fun” as Facebook or Twitter, so people often forget about their professional profiles and abandon them.  Sure, you can’t put up a ton of pictures from your weekend adventures or post random thoughts and feelings about things on LinkedIn, but that’s honestly a good thing.  Why?  It’s a good thing because that means that the people who come across your personal profile or your company’s profile are most likely in your industry and simultaneously interested in what you have to offer.  On LinkedIn, instead of “friend-ing” or “following” someone, you make a “connection” with them.  LinkedIn also shows you some (or all, depending on your subscription level) of the people who view yours or your company’s page.  Wait—doesn’t that sound a little bit like getting “open” or “click-throughs” for free?  LinkedIn is no joke, and if done right, it can become a great opportunity for your company.  Here are some tips that my research yielded:

  • Just like any other form of social media, there is a large portion of LinkedIn that relies upon interaction.  They have an entire section called “answers” which essentially acts as LinkedIn’s overall forum.  You can answer questions, and view who the industry experts are so you know who to connect with.  It’s very user friendly too, and extremely professional, since you need to be a registered LinkedIn member to post on these topics.
  • LinkedIn is an epic tool in the world of SEO, and here’s why.  There are different sections on both personal and company accounts where you can add your website, twitter, and any other sites you want your LinkedIn connected to.  If you have a personal account or if your company has an account, your LinkedIn will most definitely show up in the top section of search engine results (if you have an account go see for yourself after you’re done reading!) but there’s even more you can do.
  • Instead of just typing the URL for your company or twitter, use industry key terms, or your/your company’s name for the Twitter hyperlink.  For example, instead of typing www.companyname.com; make the description of the link something like “Efficient low-cost [product/service offerings]” so it will get double hits when being searched.
  • LinkedIn also has a “Groups” section.  Groups range from what school you are an alumni of, student organizations you were in, to industry and business groups.  They have a ridiculous amount of members, and it’s definitely the smartest way to connect with people who are interested in what you have to offer.  Sometimes the groups even require an authorization, where your membership will be pending for a few days until one of the administrators verify that you or your company belongs there.
  • If you weren’t sold on the superiority of LinkedIn above Facebook or Twitter before, that should definitely show you why the leads that come from LinkedIn are way more substantial and successful for companies.  As opposed to the general “interests” on Facebook or “suggestions” on Twitter, LinkedIn’s groups and associations create the best environment possible for a genuine interest in your company’s offerings.

There are a lot of other aspects of LinkedIn that can be discovered just by setting up an account and going through the website.  You may even find some new way to market your company.  They of course sell ad space and other sponsored sections like any other social media platform, but there are tons of ways to utilize LinkedIn without spending any money.  Try and figure those out first!  Comment and let us know how it goes.

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