Are you on LinkedIn? Considering that you are reading this blog, the chances are pretty good that you are. You might have even found my blog through LinkedIn. I love LinkedIn, and I'm very active on it. If you aren't on LinkedIn, you are missing out on some serious opportunities from a personal and business standpoint.
In previous posts I've talked about engagement strategies for what I call the BIG 5 social media networks: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google Plus, and LinkedIn. These are the 5 most important social networks that you can use to engage your audience socially. I am not saying these are the only ones, but as they are the most populated, these are the ones you should consider right now.
As you will hear me say often, find out where your audience or potential audience hangs out and spend a larger portion of your time, money, and resources there. For my business, Social Media, LinkedIn has proved to be a huge traffic driver for me and a valuable lead source.
WHAT MAKES LINKEDIN SPECIAL?
There are 200 million registered LinkedIn users worldwide. 64% of the users are based outside of the US, which makes it great for reaching an International audience. 35% of LinkedIn users use the network daily, primarily for business purposes.
LinkedIn is no longer just a resume holder. It is a robust network of individuals representing employees in over 2 million businesses. From a B2B standpoint, this is huge! In this post I am going to show you exactly how you can use it to engage with customers, clients, and potential business partners.
HOW TO INCREASE ENGAGEMENT ON LINKEDIN
LinkedIn is one of my favorite networks for a few different reasons, the most important being that it is strictly related to business. Where Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest are a bit more personal, LinkedIn is all business and it is great for small businesses. In fact, LinkedIn generates more leads for B2B companies than Facebook, Twitter or blogs.
1. Upgrade Your Account
Before I get into the nitty gritty of how to use LinkedIn to increase engagement with your audience, I want you to consider updating your account. The prices are very reasonable and the benefits are great. With a premium account, you can send InMails to reach just about anyone on LinkedIn. You'll also be able to see more in the search and see who has viewed your profile.
2. Connect With People Who Have Looked At Your Profile
A quick warning: if you have viewed my profile, I am going to add you, because it shows you are interested in me. I have also noticed that as I increased activity on LinkedIn, I have been viewed by more people, which is a clear sign of how my engagement is helping me grow my audience and network on LinkedIn. As LinkedIn is the most open of all the networks (it doesn't have a private setting), people are more likely to accept your request than on any other network. Most everyone is looking to grow their business, which is why I see no problem having as many connections as possible.
3. When Connecting, Write a Personal Message
To distinguish yourself on LinkedIn, try to steer clear of the default message. Instead, write a little about yourself and why you are interested in connecting. Remember, first impressions are important in life, and this is your first impression. Your LinkedIn profile is also very important, which I will devote a post to. I wrote about it here a few years ago. As social networks are constantly changing and updating their features, I am due for a follow up post, so stay tuned for that.
4. Join Groups
There are over 1 million groups on LinkedIn. This means there is no excuse- you can always find a group that is relevant to your industry. 81% of users are in at least one group, which means that your prospective clients are already members of, and might even be active in, a group.
I have discussed the value of joining groups in my article about where to promote your blog posts. But beyond promotional, LinkedIn groups are a valuable tool with which to brand yourself as an expert in an industry or topic, and to gain insight and knowledge.
Once you join a group, it shows up on your newsfeed. As you know from my previous posts, newsfeed marketing is crucial to social media success. If anything, it puts your name out there. Another benefit of being in a group is that it connects you to people which means you might not have to add their email to add them as a connection. It also shows the person you are connecting to that you have something in common. Common ground is a good thing.
5. Share Your Content With Relevant Groups
Sharing content is the number one way to engage on all social media networks. It's what makes these networks social in the first place. And social media is all about the shareable content. Having a blog is social media bait. It gives you something to share. And if you provide valuable content (which I hope you do) you will notice your influence grow.
I share my blogs to a variety of different groups on LinkedIn. As I blog daily and people are interacting with it (commenting and liking) I have found that I show up on the "Most Influential" list day after day. For branding within a network of business-minded individuals, this has been very critical to the growth of my blog. As the ConvertWithContent blog is set up as a funnel, I have seen an increase in leads as I continue to blog on a daily basis.
If you don't have a blog, you can still participate in sharing content. Find articles that are relevant to your business and encourage people to comment on them. This tactic goes for your own posts as well. The more comments and likes a post gets, the more often it will show up in the newsfeed. Each time a person likes or comments, it will show up on their newsfeed and open you up to a whole new audience, their connections.
NEWSFEEDS ARE THE KEY TO SOCIAL MEDIA SUCCESS.
To encourage people to comment and like, add a question to your post. I often comment on it myself to get the conversation going. An active post encourages more people to comment. There is nothing quite like an active discussion.
6. Comment On Posts
In your newsfeed you will see that people are sharing tons of content. The platform gets over 2 billion network updates viewed weekly. Do a quick scan and see if anything relates to your industry or if there is anything you have knowledge about, and let your knowledge shine. It will help to brand you as an expert in a certain industry or topic, help brand your business and introduce you to new people.
Beyond commenting on posts in your newsfeed, you can comment on posts in groups as well. Make sure you are thoughtful in your commenting and encourage more conversation. Don't be a know it all, be a know it and want to learn it all. Of course, there is the newsfeed ripple effect when you comment on posts as well. If you know me by now, you know how much I love newsfeed marketing.
7. Build Your Company Page
Company pages are relatively new. They are becoming more and more robust as we speak. You can have a cover photo and you can now update with photos. As you know, photos rock in the social media world, so utilize this tool.
Again, share content about your business here. This can be articles, photos, videos, and slide show presentations. The key is consistency. Make sure you share your company page with your network to start building it up. This is a great place to showcase your business and take on a more corporate profile.
Make sure your personal profile is connected to your business page in your "About Me" section. If you are just creating your business page, you can edit your profile to link to your company page.
In order to have the most complete and engaging company page, make sure you fill out the Product & Service portion. You can include a special offer for LinkedIn members here as well. Exclusive content goes a long way.
8. Follow Other Companies
Following other companies in your industry, or those who can become potential partners, is a great way to learn what they have to offer. There might be something you can partner on now or in the future. In never hurts to poke around a bit. The more you put yourself out there, the more you are going to get in return.
LinkedIn just updated their search capabilities. The new search is called Unified Search. It is simple to use and set up a lot like Facebook's new Graph Search. The search is more filtered and more personalized. Search for keywords that are relevant to your business. Now group and post content shows up in addition to jobs, companies and people.
Once you find relevant content, comment and like. By commenting on others' content, you are likely to pull them into yours as well. Never forget that social media is a two-way stream. The more you put in, the more you are going to get out.
LinkedIn endorsements are the new Facebook poke. So go ahead and endorse away. Of course I only recommend this if you actually are familiar with the person's work. By doing so that person is going to get a notification of your endorsement and you will show up on their radar. If you get an endorsement make sure you thank that person. A thank you to their inbox can go along way. Not only does it open up a conversation for you to build that relationship, it is just plain nice. As Peter Shankman says, "Nice Companies Finish First." That goes for people, too.
Double Bonus Tip:
LinkedIn just added a way for you to tag your connections on LinkedIn in a similar fashion to Facebook. This is a great addition to LinkedIn lineup as it allows you to have conversations in a new fashion. By tagging someone in a conversation, they will receive a notification and they can comment directly. As this just launched today, I will keep my eye on it for you.
Stay tuned and make sure you connect with me on LinkedIn.
How are you using LinkedIn? Have you had success in building your list, finding new customers, or increasing traffic to your site? What challenges do you face with your LinkedIn profile?