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Six Ways to Use LinkedIn to Grow a Business

According to a recent Motley Fool article, every second two people sign up for LinkedIn. This is great news for businesses; the more users LinkedIn has, the more opportunities are born for businesses to use it as a tool for networking and growth.
Marketing research has found that traffic to a company’s website from LinkedIn generates the highest visitor-to-lead conversion rate at 2.74%, higher than any other social media platform. This is almost 3 times higher (277%) than both Twitter (.69%) and Facebook (.77%). Done well, a LinkedIn account used in conjunction with a website and a sound communication strategy can act as an automated salesperson generating new leads and opportunities for your business.Here are six, strategic ways to use LinkedIn to help grow a business:

LinkedIn Groups are a Powerful Tool

Joining various groups on LinkedIn to share articles, insights and to network is a great way to expand a company’s reach. An even more powerful way to use LinkedIn groups is to create and maintain your own group, designed to target and network with the appropriate segment. With some commitment to nurturing, a group could grow to have thousands of members participating and interacting with your company and others every day. The best kept secret of having your own LinkedIn group is the ability to send out a weekly email “digest” highlighting specific posts and conversations. This is free and savvy way to use LinkedIn email marketing to drive traffic back to your website or highlight important industry issues.

Build a Company Page, Use it Wisely

A somewhat new feature,
company pages, now gives business owners a place to feature their company on LinkedIn (as opposed to only featuring their own personal profile). Company pages not only allows businesses to have a featured page, complete with a scrolling banner of images, but also allows you to list products and request recommendations from current customers or connections in your network on LinkedIn. These pages also offer the capability to include special offers and promotions, for a period of time, or as a reward to those who recommend your company. Once a page is built and complete with product/service listings and recommendations it can be promoted in a group or on a personal page. This a great feature to help branding and marketing efforts for any company.

(Another way to help promote a company pages is to include a link at the bottom of company email signatures.)

Use LinkedIn to Help Promote Other Social Media Pages

Remember that scrolling banner I mentioned in the company pages section?  If used correctly, these banner images will not only help illustrate a company’s core messaging to visitors, but can also be used to help promote other social media pages. This scrolling banner feature allows for three separate images, and all three can be linked to outside web pages. A graphic designer can design these images with a company’s branding in mind, and also feature a Facebook icon (for example) with the message “Like us on Facebook for special offers.” The tool within LinkedIn will then allow you to link the picture to the company Facebook page. Businesses should also use a banner image (or two) to link back to pages on a company website where prospects can find information on products or fill out a contact form.

Success is in Engagement

Simply building elements like a company page or a group without engaging in them won’t get you far. Companies have success on LinkedIn when they take the time and care to actually engage with their contacts and groups and bring a more human face to the business. This doesn’t need to take a whole lot of time, but setting aside 20 minutes each day to sign in, share interesting articles, comment on articles posted by your network and find new connections, will do wonders for your presence on LinkedIn. The theory behind the practice is that by engaging connections to you personally, they will then become interested in your business and products. Maybe they need something your business is offering now, or maybe they will think of you in the future.

Position Yourself as a Thought Leader in Your Field/Industry

This idea is the crux of social media marketing and networking. But LinkedIn offers the tools to do it in a very powerful way. By joining specific groups related to your industry and connecting with members in those groups, you will start to build a large network of colleagues (and sometimes competitors) that create many opportunities for industry dialogue. This is an opportunity to offer your expertise and perspective on a given topic, answer questions prospects may have and publish articles on important subjects and problems that your business may solve. This is a great way to establish credibility which ultimately leads to more business.

Opportunities for Market Research

Some companies don’t have the resources to outsource market research to specialized firms, or the manpower to conduct it themselves. But that doesn’t mean that it isn’t just as important for them to understand the behavior of their target markets. LinkedIn offers users the ability to publish polls to their networks and groups and gather marketing insight. If successful, this is an incredibly valuable tool that could help direct marketing or ad campaigns and product development.

Interested in seeing some examples of great company pages? Check out the
Best LinkedIn Company Pages of 2012. Which ways do you use LinkedIn for Business? Share your ideas below!

 

About the Author
Rachida Essadiq
Rachida Essadiq, Director of Marketing at NTC Texas is a successful five year marketing veteran, running events and campaigns for large to  small enterprises and non-profits.  She specializes in blogging, social media, branding/ identity and search engine optimization, striving to provide NTC Texas customers and fans with entertaining and valuable educational resources to find success in all areas of their businesses.

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