LinkedIn is a great tool for showcasing your business for potential clients, customers, business partners, new employees, stockholders, and investors. As with any social media platform, however, it's not something you tend to once in a while and forget. It's this view of social media that convinces business owners that their efforts aren't working. Before writing off LinkedIn, consider some of the steps you could be taking right now to grow your business with a social platform that boasts nearly 400 million members.
1. Update Your Profile on a Regular Basis
Things are likely to change with your business over the course of year -- new management, new team members, mergers and acquisitions, or the relocation of your main offices, just to name a few possibilities. Outdated information isn't going to do you any favors if someone is coming across your business for the first time via LinkedIn. Even if no significant changes occur within your business, it never hurts to change wording or spruce up paragraphs now and then. Refreshing your LinkedIn page extends to:
- Profile photos
- Profile summaries
2. Incorporate Keywords and Phrases
You can have a killer LinkedIn profile, but it's not going to do you any good if it doesn't rank high on SERPs (search engine results pages). There are plenty of free online tools you can use to determine which keywords and phrases are most likely to give your page a boost on SERPs. Avoid Google no-nos like keyword stuffing or too many internal site links within your content to avoid getting penalized. If you need help with your SEO efforts, consider hiring a marketing firm that specializes in online content management.
3. Build a Quality Network
Just because you get an invitation, doesn't mean you have to automatically add another user to your network. Take a moment to review each invitation request to determine if the user at least has a fully completed profile. Too many users in your network with haphazard profiles isn't going to reflect well on your business. Resist the temptation to automatically accept LinkedIn suggestions of possible matches since there's no point in having people within your network you'll never interact with beyond that initial invite acceptance. A quality LinkedIn network includes users who tend to:
- Belong to the same group
- Have previously read and shared your content
- Include a personal note with their invitation to explain their reason for seeking a connection with you
- Work within the same general industry (or have previously worked within your field)
- Share common interests or support similar causes referenced in your profile
4. Remain Visible and Consistent
Be just as interactive as the people you wish to attract. Post regular status updates on your profile at least once a day to let people know you are active. If you have nothing groundbreaking to share, pose questions related to your industry -- What are the most important features you look for in a new home?, What are your top three must-have tech gadgets? -- to solicit responses. The "LinkedIn Today" tab will show you trending news topics you may be able to spin as relevant to your business. You can also check notifications at the top of your profile to see who's been recently interacting with you, who likes your posted discussions, who likes your updates, and who has made comments on your updates. You'll also get a glimpse at what people in your network are talking about, with the option to jump right into the conversation.
5. Choose a Handful of 'Quality,' Relevant Groups
Further increase your activity on LinkedIn by participating in 3-4 groups with equally active participation. While you can join up to 50 groups on LinkedIn, you're not going to realistically be able to be an active part of each one, so pick and choose the ones most relevant to your business. Position yourself as a leader by asking questions or starting new, relevant topics to establish credibility. If you can't a group that's right for you, start your own group. Be courteous and professional with your engagements and avoid:
- Sending anything that can be considered spam
- Making public sales pitches (a link back to your website will suffice)
- Posting disparaging comments about competitors (whether true or not, such negativity isn't likely to go over well)
Only a quarter of LinkedIn's 400 million members actually use the social platform on a regular basis, according to one estimate. This means that many businesses aren't maximizing their efforts with a platform that can be a great way to make a good first impression on visitors. If you fall within this category, incorporate some of the above tips into your LinkedIn efforts. Track your stats (even with a free account, you can still see how many people are visiting your page) and adjust your efforts accordingly to fine-tune your results.