LinkedIn is focused on a niche...professionals. No matter your industry, people come to LinkedIn for one reason- networking and making connections for business purposes. But, chances are you aren’t using your LinkedIn business profile to its full potential. We recently realized we weren’t! We’re kind of embarrassed about it, but we’re not afraid to admit our mistakes and share what we learned from them.
We recently read a few articles with some great stats about LinkedIn that caught our attention. According to a recent study by HubSpot, LinkedIn proved to be the most effective social media channel – over Facebook and Twitter - for lead generation -- 277% more effective, in fact. When we heard about businesses generating lots of leads, and securing new clients through LinkedIn, we knew we had to take another look at our profile. Woah! Were we surprised to discover all the great new features for networking that we weren’t using.
Here are 6 LinkedIn features that will help you create a more effective LinkedIn Business Profile:
1. Company Status Updates
Did you even know you could have followers on LinkedIn and post status updates to your audience like you do on Facebook, Twitter and Google+? We didn’t either. (Hello McFly) This is a new feature (as of October 2011) that allows businesses to post updates. But like with all social media platforms, building a solid base of followers is the name of the game. Before company updates were an option, followers were kind of useless. Now, without any followers, your company updates are useless! Put time into attracting new followers for your LinkedIn Company Page by adding a LinkedIn follow button to your website and blog, write a blog post about your LinkedIn profile and what it offers, and tell followers on your other social networks that you’re on LinkedIn too. Don’t forget to give them a reason to follow you there. i.e. Follow us on LinkedIn to find out about job openings and new products.
2. Products/Services Tab
Businesses can now highlight specific products and services in a separate “Products & Services” tab. This is an easy way to show off your key products and services (and why wouldn’t you want to do that?). Even service businesses like ours can get creative with this tab by featuring things like custom ebooks, downloads and special offers. Here's a sample of what we're offering on our Sprout Content LinkedIn Company profile.
You can also create targeted content within this tab for specific audiences. Some smart companies are using this feature to personalize messages in their Products tab. Just click "Create New Audience" in your Products tab (while in edit mode of course), and simply follow the wizard to choose your audience by company size, job function, industry, level and geography. How cool is that?
This neat feature lets you create three scrolling, clickable banner images (640x220 pixels) at the top of your products tab. You can create vibrant banners with specific calls to action, job opportunities, special offers or draw special attention to your blog, Facebook page, special event or other new products.
Here’s how the Content Marketing Institute is using spotlights to promote its upcoming conference.
3. Emloyee Connections
Make sure you and all of your employees connect your company page to your personal page. If your company has a page (and it should especially once you're done reading this!) make sure everyone who works there has the company name "linked" not just typed in in their personal profiles. If you don't, just edit your current job and start typing in the company name and it should pop up. This way on your Company page, you, and anyone else with a LinkedIn acct will appear in the Employee Insights section.
On LinkedIn, testimonials are instant recommendations. On your Products & Services Tab, people can recommend your individual products and services. Pretty neat. How do you get thse glowing recommendations? Just like in your personal profile, use LinkedIn's "Request Recommendations" option to ask friends, colleagues and customers to offer a recommendation for you if know they’ve had a great experience with your business. This is another important reason to add products and services to this tab. When a LinkedIn user recommends one of your products or services, it's displayed on the individual detailed page for that product, and the total number of recommendations your company receives is displayed on the main products tab on your page. Numbers speak volumes to potential clients.
Since it’s filled with professionals looking to network, LinkedIn is an efficient tool to help you recruit talent and promote job opportunities within your company. You can advertise jobs in the Careers Tab on your business page, but this is a paid feature.
If you really want to boost your LinkedIn recruiting efforts, upgrade your account to a Silver or Gold Career page, which gives you access to lots of other features to promote jobs at your company including a clickable banner, customizable modules, page analytics and direct links to your company connections. The Gold page even lets you customize up to five different versions of the page based on the viewer's LinkedIn profile, just like the customized target audience tool in your product tab.
So.. Have you been using all of these new LinkedIn features? If so, have you noticed an increase in activity, followers and leads? Share your experience with us!
Note: This post was edited and updated on 9/18/12 to reflect other changes in LinkedIn business profile settings.