Founded in 2002, LinkedIn is a social media veteran which has stood the test of time. With over 675 million users, more than 310 million of whom are monthly active users, it remains firmly positioned as the world’s largest professional network. The way people use LinkedIn has shifted dramatically since its launch. The site began as a true social network (think Facebook for yuppies), founded on the unique concept of building professional connections and interacting with them online. It has since evolved into more of a social marketplace, where recruitment and advertising underpin its survival. For businesses, LinkedIn is a lucrative marketing tool with various functions. It can be used to develop referral relationships, prospect for quality sales leads and share high-converting content. LinkedIn also allows businesses to tap into a niche userbase, which facilitates the targeting process. This is especially true for B2B companies who might struggle to reach their customers via other social media channels.
Every company can leverage the reach, scale and functionality of LinkedIn to amp up its online presence. Here’s what it can do for yours.
A LinkedIn account is essentially a virtual business card – minus the hassle of its physical counterpart. As well as being environmentally unfriendly, paper business cards are usually left in pockets and desk drawers, or worse, tossed in the (hopefully recycling) bin. Online, you don’t run the risk of being forgotten about. Connecting on LinkedIn is a simple and sophisticated way to follow up with somebody, keeping your business fresh in their mind. Once you are connected, you can keep in touch effortlessly. You never know what a connection might lead to - a new supplier, client or even employee. LinkedIn makes all of this possible without having to meet face-to-face; something which isn’t always feasible in this time-poor world. LinkedIn also allows you to connect with some of the most influential figures in your industry. Sponsored InMail has a 52% open rate, so you can potentially reach out to these people without having their contact details. As the most-used social platform amongst Fortune 500 companies, no other network gives you direct access to this level of expertise.
Businesses should take advantage of any low-cost opportunity to promote themselves online. Creating an account is free and incredibly simple, but can have significant payoff. It’s true that some businesses are better suited to certain social media channels, e.g. baristas and Instagram. LinkedIn is the exception, however. If you are a business, you belong on LinkedIn – full stop. Even if you’re not regularly active on the site, it’s better to show face than not turn up at all. Treat your page as a sales pitch, showcasing the best your brand has to offer. Use it to tell your brand’s story, highlight its unique selling points, share its accomplishments and steer visitors towards your website. LinkedIn can also add a layer of legitimacy to your business. For SMEs, in particular, simply having a company page can make you appear more credible in the eyes of the consumer. The more visible you are, the more likely customers are to trust your business.
LinkedIn is a breeding ground for cultivating potential customers; the statistics make this abundantly clear. Hubspot found that LinkedIn is a whopping 277% more effective at generating leads than Facebook and Twitter. For marketers, this is a bullseye. While its overall reach may be smaller, quality trounces quantity when it comes to leads. LinkedIn’s userbase means that B2B companies get the best return, with 80% of their social media leads coming from LinkedIn. Its tools allow businesses to target with surgical precision, ensuring that marketing messages will reach their intended audience. Its long and specific list of targeting criteria includes industry, company size and job seniority. Cost per lead on LinkedIn is also 28% lower than on Google AdWords, which could make it a more viable option for SMEs.
LinkedIn offers unique content marketing solutions. Like other platforms, you can use the site to share and upload text, images and videos. However, LinkedIn also allows its users to publish articles. This special feature gives regular businesses the chance to be seen as thought-leaders in their industry. It’s a great way to share your personal insights and knowledge with like-minded people. Topical articles, such as opinion pieces on industry developments, usually make for readable content. Authentic stories of success and failure also tend to be well received; this style of writing can help to humanise your company. What’s great about LinkedIn is that it’s not dominated by well-known figures. Many normal people with normal jobs have thousands of followers and enjoy high engagement. If your content is good enough, you too have the potential to generate a large following.
If people want to find your business online, they will likely search you on Google. Having a LinkedIn page for your business means it will appear in the results, likely below your website. LinkedIn profiles are ranked highly on Google. Just by having a presence on LinkedIn, you are increasing the chance that people will find you online. Unlike personal LinkedIn accounts, businesses are public on the site. If somebody wants to reach out to your business, doing so on LinkedIn is a more personable and professional approach than simply sending an enquiry via the “contact us” page on your website.
If you’re prospecting for talent, LinkedIn is a gold mine. With more than 14 million open jobs, LinkedIn attracts an army of choice candidates seeking employment opportunities. This is especially significant for SME’s, for whom recruitment can be a real headache. Instead of outsourcing an agency, they can use LinkedIn’s simple and precise recruitment tool to connect with the right person. It’s a professional match-making service. As a recruitment solution, data shows LinkedIn to be highly effective. A study found that 122 million people have earned an interview thanks to LinkedIn, with 35.5 million having been hired by a connection. Another encouraging statistic is that employees sourced via the site are 40% less likely to leave the company during the first six months.
Are you looking to take your online presence to the next level? Let the experts step in. At Elephant in the Boardroom, we are masters of digital strategy. Whether you need a sleek new website, an SEO boost or some killer content, Elephant's got you covered.
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