So I have a confession to make. I pretty much ignore LinkedIn on a personal level. I know, it’s bad. Maybe it’s because I’m not looking for a job or because there are already way too many social networks vying for my attention. Yesterday Rhea shared her PubCon Vegas takeaways with all of you but if I had one to add it would be this:

LinkedIn: Stop Ignoring It.

If you’ve accidently ignored LinkedIn like me, here are some awesome features that you may not know about and which may give you a reason (or six) to sign off of Facebook this afternoon (even temporarily) in favor of the more business-inclined social media site. Because if you haven’t been using LinkedIn to promote yourself and your company, well, turns out you’ve been missing a lot.

Company Pages

Whether you plan on becoming a LinkedIn devotee or not, you should at least have a Company Page set up for your business, especially if you were one of those going bananas over the release of Google+ for Business. Getting set up is as simple has claiming the profile and Inc Magazine is happy to walk you through the launching a LinkedIn Company page process if you need.

Once you get set up, a couple of magical things happen. Not only will it display all the information you’ve manually entered for your page, it will pull in other relevant info it finds elsewhere about your brand. For example, it will show any LinkedIn job listing you’ve created, recent press mentions that have been shared about your company, etc. All of these things will help make your company look more inviting to potential job applicants or anyone else wanting to get in touch with you.

With your page created, you’ll also be able to take advantage of analytics pulled through the site. This will help give insight about who is visiting your page, what industries they identify with, what companies they may work for, and their function there. You can also compare how your company is doing against similar industries in terms of page views and unique visitors. If that’s not the greatest competitive intel win, I don’t know what is.

Like all social profiles these days, once set up you can ask people to follow your company.

And the greatest advantage of ALL of creating a LinkedIn Business page? Well that comes next.

Product/Service Landing Pages

Through LinkedIn, businesses are also able to create individual product or services page to give more information about what it is they do. No, really, read that again. Create a LinkedIn Company page and you’re able to create individual product and services pages. These pages can be built out to address a more LinkedIn-friendly audience (based on who your analytics tell you is viewing your page or to address media outlets who may be trolling), direct people back to specific landing pages, and can be used to get service-/product-specific recommendations. You can even build out the pages to include video. Overall, this is a great way to display expertise in a particular area or vertical, in terms of attracting new clients, employees, and reporters looking for sources.

Advanced People Search

The Advanced People Search feature is cool for a couple of reason. First, as we highlighted in our post about hiring hot local talent, it provides those seeking employees an incredible way to find potential candidates. With the option to search not only by keyword but previous employer, group involvement, experience, and more, it can really help separate the wheat from the chaff and allow you to find better prospects.

Looking at things from the other side of the table, knowing what YOU would enter into those boxes to find someone worth talking to can also help you craft your own business or personal profile. During his Social Media Press Relations & Brand Management session at PubCon, Chris Winfield suggested that marketers review LinkedIn’s recommendations for how journalists should use LinkedIn and reverse engineer it to make themselves more attractive sources. I thought that was a really great recommendation and this allows you to do virtually the same thing.

Skills & Expertise

One LinkedIn feature mentioned in the how journalists should use LinkedIn article is something I stumbled upon by accident recently and thought was pretty neat – it’s the Skills & Expertise feature. What this does is allow you to look at different skills or topics like stocks to see how they’ve gone up or down and changed. For an always-emerging industry like SEO I found this to be a useful way to see how trends change, which were dropping, what was rising, and what people were becoming more interested in. As a pretend media person, this is interesting in helping me spot trends and discover what’s worth writing about. Even more useful is that you can see WHO is associated with what specific expertise.

For example, who’s most known for her online reputation management expertise? Well, Rhea Drysdale, of course.

Highlight Reviews & Recommendations

We’ve always loved LinkedIn because it served as our living, breathing resume, complete with recommendations from people who had worked with us in the past. But now we also love LinkedIn because it gives us another opportunity to secure reviews our business and (as mentioned above) the specific services and/or products that we offer. Knowing that many people browse Facebook with a specific business purpose in mind (finding a vendor, finding a job, finding a source), this is a great way to build authority, perceived value, and trust quite easily and land that lead, whatever it may be.
Who should you ask for reviews?

  • Previous customers
  • Colleagues and industry contacts
  • Vendors you’ve used
  • People you’ve partnered with for events or services
  • Previous (happy) employees

Because you can feature these things on your profile, it’s a great way to build social proof for folks who may be using LinkedIn to sniff out potential vendors. LinkedIn even allows you to build reviews directly from your own Web site by embedding a Review button that allows someone to leave you a LinkedIn review without ever leaving the page. Pretty sweet.

While I’ve never been an active LinkedIn user, as a business owner, LinkedIn’s making it pretty hard to stay away. What do you think? Are all the savvy LinkedIn features giving you a reason to log on or are you still conducting business solely via Twitter and Facebook?

 

[Photo Credit: @TheSeafarer]


About the Author

Lisa Barone

Lisa Barone co-founded Outspoken Media in 2009 and served as Chief Branding Officer until April 2012.


25 thoughts on “Why Your Business Should Maybe Stop Ignoring LinkedIn


  • Kelly Kautz on said:

    A blogger friend of mine has had great success recommending his own blog posts on relevant LinkedIn groups. I’ve never tried this because it feels kind of spammy to me (“CHECK OUT THIS GREAT POST I’VE WRITTEN!”) But I’d be curious to hear if others have tried this technique.

    I HAVE tried building authority and generating leads by answering questions on LinkedIn forums, but this was a waste of time. Perhaps if I was in a local service industry (say, drywalling) it would have been more effective.


    • Lisa Barone on said:

      Re: the link dropping, I think it depends on whether or not you’re an active member of that community or if you’re just doing a drive-by to whore your links. If it’s the latter, then yeah, that’s kind of douchey. If you’re legitimately adding value, I think people can tell the difference.

      Thanks for sharing your experience answering questions. I wonder what others have experienced.


  • Ryan Hanley on said:

    Lisa,

    I definitely agree that LinkedIn is by far the easiest top tier social network to ignore. However, I want to reaffirm much of what you said about how influential and powerful some of the tools within LinkedIn can be. Of all my social network activities to market my insurance business LinkedIn is 2nd in generating revenue to my Blog.

    The reason is LinkedIn Groups and Authority you can establish by consistently participating in discussions within various LinkedIn groups that your customers frequent.

    LinkedIn is like every other social network, it takes time and effort, but utilizing all the features you listed above and then actively participating in Groups can be a legitimate revenue driver.

    Thanks!

    Ryan H.


    • Lisa Barone on said:

      Thanks for the comment, Ryan. I was really impressed with a lot of the tools and features once I started poking around. We’ve obviously been taking advantage of some for quite awhile (like the Advanced People Search & the Services pages) but others were very pleasant surprises.


  • Chris Winfield on said:

    For some reason it’s really easy to ignore LinkedIn because it’s not as flashy or ‘immediate’ as Twitter, Facebook or even G+ but the value is definitely there…


    • Bret Juliano on said:

      I completely agree with you there. I joined LinkedIn and thought it was a good way to connect with others in the job market, but soon found it rather dull compared to the other mainstream networks. It was great to get reviews and testimonials from clients there, but overall, I’ve yet to really see it’s value pay-off thus far.


      • Chris Winfield on said:

        It’s pretty amazing for developing stronger relationships with people or creating brand new ones.

        My favorite feature is probably around LinkedIn Answers. Not just for being able to ask something publicly but also being able to email it to selected connections in my network who I think will be able to help. Be sure to be careful about not just selecting the first 200 hundred or so and actually be selective.

        The biggest tips I could give you about actually growing your network would be to ALWAYS send a customized intro letter (not just the standard: ‘I’d like to add you to my professional network’ crap) and make sure you choose the right connection (don’t say that someone is your colleague if they aren’t or that you have done business with them if you haven’t). Those two things will increase your connection conversion rates dramatically…


        • Lisa Barone on said:

          I want to +1 all of this. Thanks for chiming in, Chris. :)

          And I think your point about choosing the right connection is really important. One of the reason I ignore LinkedIn is because I’m always getting emails about So and So, a colleague at Some Company I Never Worked At, wants to connect. When the requests to connect appear so spammy and irrelevant, I think it casts that image on the whole site, which isn’t exactly fair.


          • Chris Winfield on said:

            Agreed. It’s one thing that I wish they could control a bit better or give you the option to change it to the ‘right’ relationship. So if someone adds me and says we worked together at ‘Company X’ but I only know them from conferences, I can change it to ‘friend’. Since I am the one who is ultimately ‘approving’ the relationship/connection – it’s a no brainer to me.

            I think this would help to increase the amount of connections made and also fix the association problem you described.


  • Rosemary ONeill on said:

    Dangit, there you go leaking the secret sauce again…LinkedIn is like the charcoal briquets of social networks. You need to set up the little pile, douse it with lighter fluid, and wait patiently for the coals to get hot. It’s not a gas grill. By the way, do you have a link to the place where you build the recommendation widget?


  • Sully on said:

    Lisa,

    I recently started an industry group on LinkedInand invited business partners and clients to join through an email campaign. The group quickly grew from a half-dozen (all employees) to close to 400. What’s great is that our competitors have started to trickle into the group and spam. This is great because I immediately delete spammy posts (per the rules of the group), and then continue to post attractive content to pull potential leads back to my site for conversion.

    I laugh at how some people see “Wow – 400 people will see my post”, not thinking that it will get ignored like any piece of bad marketing. Yet, I’m very easily able to track my ROI.

    -@Sully


    • Lisa Barone on said:

      I laugh at how some people see “Wow – 400 people will see my post”, not thinking that it will get ignored like any piece of bad marketing.

      Heh, well welcome to most people’s misconception about social media. ;)


  • Leo Saraceni on said:

    I’ve had a profile on LinkedIn since 2007 and it still lists the job I had at the time. When they IPOd, I was surprised at the huge numbers and did some digging. It turns out lots of people ignore it (maybe because it’s really boring – no, really!) until they need a new job or leads.

    One thing I do use every single day is linkedin.com/today. That tool is just amazing!


  • Geoff Jackson on said:

    I’m really digging the new analytics for groups currently, really neat work from LinkedIn with some insightful demographic data that could be extracted for targeted marketing.

    From a business perspective, I would certainly advise not to ignore LinkedIn, great for building relationships and engaging in industry topics.


  • Treosha Blue on said:

    Hi Lisa,

    Great blog post. I agree that Linkedin has some useful tools for business. I just think other social media sites like Facebook provide an immediate reaction because everyone uses it and its easier to interact with your customers.


  • Leigh Whitney on said:

    LinkedIn is predatory. Rude, intrusive, and uncooperative.
    It does not give me the option to opt-out, so it can shove off!!!


  • Shelli McMillen on said:

    My networking group has started using linkedin as a tool for developing leads for each other. We are able to look at 1st, 2nd and 3rd tier connections and ask for specific introductions. We have only just starting to use linkedin as a tool, but it seems to have a lot of potential.


  • Bruce Bixler on said:

    @Kelly, you wrote : “I HAVE tried building authority and generating leads by answering questions on LinkedIn forums, but this was a waste of time”. It takes time go back to it and be patient, 12 to 18 months, it takes awhile to get an expertise badge on LinkedIn.

    I saw a post recently not sure of source, Mashable, Hubspot, or CNN, where LinkedIn has outperformed Twitter for converting B2B customers.


  • Adi Gaskell on said:

    LinkedIn is hugely valuable if you’re in the B2B world. It’s been much more valuable to build a group for our members on LinkedIn than it has on Facebook so far. All of the social networks offer something of value depending on your market and how you can add value to that market.

    The key for me is establishing what the purpose of your community is and then looking at how you can support that purpose and what platform will do so best.


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