Why Your Business Should Maybe Stop Ignoring LinkedIn

November 16, 2011
By Lisa Barone in Social Media

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]

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