How an organization can use LinkedIn for networking

LinkedIn is world’s largest professional social media network out there. More than 30 million companies use the platform for business, especially for networking, recruiting, and hiring talent. LinkedIn’s professional environment and culture has created opportunities for its 760 million users to network, connect, and sell.

Off late, LinkedIn is becoming a sales and marketing platform in addition to a hiring tool. From small to large and B2B to B2C, it has created and made tools available for every business size and type. Sure, while the social network is a tool you can use to network and build connections with other professionals in your niche, it has also become a place you can use to promote your business.

If you feel it’s finally time to join, or take advantage of the services available on LinkedIn, here is how to make it more effective for you and your business:

Create effective profiles for you and your company

No matter how small a business you may be, every operational entity needs a profile page on LinkedIn. Company profiles called ‘Company Pages’ are given a priority to hank high in search results. Having even the simplest and basic information about your business is going to be very useful. Make sure, however, to keep the profiles public so anyone interested in what you/your business doesn’t have a obstacle keeping them away from connecting with you.

The value in having a complete profile, including your own (if you own a business) is that potential clients can confirm there indeed is a person behind the curtain who they can consider an expert in the field and contact should they want to reach out.

An inspiring headline, professional photo, a well-worked biography demonstrating the meaning behind why your organization exists and what it does is essential to create a good first impression. Add any presentations, videos, and published to showcase the work of the organization and show experience.

Connect with people

Whether you’re raising awareness or generating leads, targeting is key. Once you’ve defined your goals clearly, it generally becomes easier to define and filter your audience on the platform. If, for example, your company sells an organizational tool for social media, you will be looking for members with similar to ‘social media manager’ as their job titles.

Members always want to and are actively looking to make connections to generate leads into sales. However, no one is interested in a sales pitch on linked in. Rather, it’s better to be upfront about being interested in how yours and their companies may have a shared opportunistic interest and how it could value them. LinkedIn calls it ‘social selling’, and it has proven to many positive reactions and successful partnerships.

Furthermore, engaging in groups on LinkedIn is also a great opening into an array of people looking for similar things. It boosts your credibility and there is a greater chance of sharing your expertise with like-minded people.

Optimize your page for search

Well-optimized pages can increase visibility among others searching for prospects in the industry you operate in.

  • Incorporate keywords
    Use words in your phrases and paragraphs that potential customers might use to search for your kind of product or service. The best place to add them is in the ‘Headline’ and ‘About’ section of your profiles.

  • Create a link to your page
    Links are essential for boosting your search ranking, which may most likely take place on a search engine like Google. Create your own unique link to your profile through the option provided by LinkedIn in your profile settings and also incorporate the website/portfolio of your work/business.

  • Share relevant content
    The more frequently your page shares content your audience and connections may be interested in, the more they engage, which means your page will rank higher on others’ feeds and search results.
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Publish engaging content on your company website and share on LinkedIn

While it can be tempting to keep your website solely focused on your products or services, content that only promotes the advantages products of your business can be perceived as very ‘salesy’, which are not very well accepted and hardly gain engagement.

Fresh ideas are what people on social media find engaging. Publishing thoughtful leadership content, ideas that contribute to society, and show humanitarian efforts are one of the most powerful ways of not just growing your audience, but also keep them engaging.

Moreover, publishing and promoting your own often can be irresistible, but it’s also a good idea to share insightful content from others, which show your passion and support for the causes your business believes in.

Support recommendations and cultivate endorsements

Endorsements and recommendations are LinkedIn’s version of, say, testimonials. You can endorse members for their skills, while they can endorse you for yours. These can potentially win over a prospective client as opposed to your competitor who may not have been made credible at all. An endorsement is just one click away from verifying that a connection has credible skill or aptitude.

Recommendations go one step further. They are short narrative descriptions of a person’s performance through your own words. The time for doing this often comes when you have worked with someone and have gotten to know their ethos, working professionalism, and their personality. For both endorsements and recommendations, it’s best to give them to get them.

Tips for that first message

Communication is a key factor in take things to the next step. Connections can easily be contacted through the messaging tab. For members who have premium accounts activated, you can’t message before connecting with them, however, can send a personalized message with a connection request, or by using LinkedIn’s premium feature called InMail.

Here are some tips to get your messages and emails read:

  • Catch their attention with a catchy subject line. It may become the difference between receiving a response or simply getting ignored.
  • Short and sweet wins. • Not everyone may have the time to read through multiple messages they get each day. The ultimate goal of connecting is to find opportunities to work together, but the goal of a first message is to establish a handshake.
  • Personalize your message based on their profile. • You definitely want to avoid sending the same messages out to everyone you intend to connect with. Over 50% of people only reply to a message if it is personalized to them. You can mention a mutual connection, interest in a particular work they have done, or even alma matter.

Takeaways

Social media is all about communication. Real connections are made by giving a value and being personal. While the platform maintains its professionalism, people higher up in the ranks of CEOs and Founders or multinational companies have seen and been thousands and thousands of people trying to connect with them for opportunities. The key question is, “What sets you apart from the rest?”.

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