Using Social Media for My Business. Part 2 - How to use linkedin

To use Linkedin effectively, 2 distinct activities should be properly executed. Firstly, your profile page should be top notch and fully integrated with a variety of add on apps and secondly you should understand how the network works and “play the game”.

When setting up, or improving your linkedin profile pages, the following best practice information should be followed step by step for almost any business, or user representing the business. The basic information to be filled in is a given, the following will help give your page a lot more weight and impact

Application Installations

  • If you use video as part of your marketing mix, Install SlideShare. This is used for displaying videos your home page or profile page
  • Install Google presentation - this allows you to display PDF and powerpoint presentations / brochures, etc. direct from your profile page.
  • Install ‘Blog Link’ to present the latest items from your blog on the home/profile page
  • Install 'Tweets’ to display the latest tweets on the home page
  • Install 'Creative Portfolio Display’ to display portfolio examples (image and title) on the home/profile page
  • Install the LinkedIn bookmarklet in Chrome to allow quick addition/sharing of links

Application set up

Once you’re set up, we’re ready to start populating your new improved profile page - add your first videos, portfolio items (try and add several) and PDF / PPT giving a more general company overview. Straight away you’ve contextualised your page and added far more live and relevant content than you can without installing the extra tools. Now you’re set it’s just a case of keeping on top of the content - here’s a few great tips to help you do that.

General updates & best practice
Make sure that your strap line under your name is relevant to what you do, i.e, if you’re involved in the fabrication of doors and windows, say so - people aren’t searching for you under the term “all round nice guy”. It’s good to be friendly, but it is more important to be “on point”. Linked in profiles should have some personality, but content needs to be shaped for business and less towards the “friendly face”.

Keep your profile updated to include to include latest key information. If you’ve just moved into international markets or started working for a high profile client, this could be could “soft sell” for your business.

Make sure web links are correct and up to date, do include your blog and web site, plus display relevant text rather than 'Company website’

Add new relevant sections to your profile. e.g. publications, volunteering/causes, etc

Seek new connections - ensure that your network is as wide as possible, not only does this help with your visibility within linkedin with your own clients, it also makes it easier for people who know your connections to find you..

Use the recommendations feature well. Recommend people and ask that they reciprocate. Keep away from fluffy language like 'xyz is fantastic’. A good recommendation would be “Tom worked on a complex planning application for us that none of us were sure would get through, his knowledge proved invaluable and the project received the green light. Couldn’t recommend him highly enough”

Linkedin has an “answers” section. Consider adding yourself as a voice. If someone has asked a question which you have extensive knowledge of, help them by answering it. This generates a lot of very visible good will, not only for the person who asked the question, but also for any other interested parties. I touched on the importance of this in blogging to promote yourself as a thought leader. It’s what we’re doing here. It’s my home that you take this advice on board, use it successfully and come back to Stunn to help you leverage that new found success.

Join groups in areas of work you are interested in and have knowledge of, or groups relating to the sectors in which you operate. On the personal / social level, one of the most successful type of web site has been the bulletin board / web forum where people of common interest congregate to socialise online - Linkedin groups bring the same functionality into a business environment.. A “netmums for commerce”

Linkedin can be a very powerful tool for networking, sales and information gathering. It is exceptionally popular but is still much less widely used than the more personal networks such as facebook. That said, it is almost purely B2B or candidate to employer and is there to drive business. For many industries it is an invaluable tool for online marketing, and one that shouldn’t be ignored.

In Part 3 of this series, we’ll be discussing the power of facebook and twitter.