Let’s face it: Too many of us spend a lot of time actively ignoring LinkedIn. We don’t intend to, it’s just not as flashy as some of the other social networks. But if you haven’t checked out the business social networking site lately, it’s time to stop ignoring LinkedIn and go back. Because the site has added a host of new features in recent months that have helped transform it from a static resume site to a full-blown business networking site that SMBs will want to take advantage of.
One feature small business owners want to specifically be aware of is the ability to create company profiles on the site. By claiming and building out your profile, SMBs will be able to increase your company’s prominence on the site, help prospective employees find you, and use it as your own personal recruiting network. If you’ve ever had to hire locally, you know important this is.
So how can small business owners take advantage of this new feature? Here are five easy tips to get you started.
1. Create/Claim the Page
Your first step to creating a rocking LinkedIn company profile page is to create and your claim your page. By creating your page you give your brand an outlet to highlight your products or services, keep followers updated on what you’re working on, show career opportunities within your organization, tell your personal story, and highlight various aspects of your company. To get started, perform a company search to see if you’re already listed on the site. If you are, it’s a simple process to claim your profile. If you’re not, once you’re in the search feature you’ll see an option on the right-hand side of the screen to add your company. Select that and claim your company page.
Once you’ve added your company (or have found an existing listing), it’s really important that you take the time to fill out the profile in its entirety, including:
- Your Company Overview
- Company Product & Services pages
- Information about Career Opportunities
The more information you provide, the easier it will be for like-minded prospective customers to find you, AND the more likely it is LinkedIn will show your company for prominent search queries.
2. Get Your Employees Using LinkedIn
The more involved you can make your company with LinkedIn, the bigger payoff you’re going to see. For more information on how to use your employees to create a rockin’ social media presence, check out a recent Blueglass post entitled 8 ways employees can improve your company’s LinkedIn presence where writer Kerry Jones discusses, in impressive detail, what steps SMBs should take to maximize their exposure. I won’t ruin the post for you, but she mentions things like:
- Taking advantage of the activity field
- Properly highlighting the teams skills & expertise (and why this is so important)
- Including customized links
- And lots more
If you haven’t used LinkedIn much in the past, that post is a really great primer to get any business up to speed. SMBs can really increase what they’re showing up for simply by showing employees how to set up and use their own profiles.
3. Follow Relevant Companies
Another thing SMBs may not know is that with the creation of LinkedIn brand pages, you can now follow companies of interest. For example, maybe you want to follow what your vendors are doing. Or companies that you’re considering partnering with in the future. Or people whose radar you want to get on for media opportunities. Or to hire down the road. This feature allows businesses to do stay up to date on what other businesses are doing, who they’re hiring, what they’re working on, etc. If you like your social media with a high amount of signal and very little noise, you may prefer to follow a brand on LinkedIn instead of on a more socially-inclined site like Twitter or Facebook.
4. Build Followers To Your Page
Obviously if you’re taking the time to build a brand page, you want to get people follow that page. Doing so will help you increase your visibility and authoritativeness with relevant users. Without that following, all the work that you’re doing on LinkedIn may go relatively unseen.
Encourage people to follow your company page by:
- Using your profile to share exclusive information about your company and/or articles and news pieces relevant to your audiences’ interests.
- Highlighting your brand’s LinkedIn page on your Web site and in all company information (in email newsletters, direct mailings, etc)
- Following the LinkedIn pages of other companies in your neighborhood/industry with the hopes that they’ll follow you back and you can create a local referrer network.
- Participating in industry-relevant LinkedIn discussion groups and let them know about your business (without spamming them).
5. Stay Active
Unfortunately, you can’t simply create your LinkedIn page and then step away. Even though LinkedIn is a business social networking site, it’s still a social networking site. That means you’ll still need to be active there to develop a real presence and following, and keep the relevance of your company profile Being an active site contributor means making sure you’re using your page to share information via your status updates, participating in relevant discussions, joining and being active in groups, acting like resource in Linked Answers, and otherwise be a good site member. If you don’t keep up your site investment, you’ll lose all the goodwill you’ve created.
Those are some quick tips to help SMBs develop a strong presence on LinkedIn and keep it going. Are you using LinkedIn for business? Why or why not?
Staying active is the killer. The amount of fresh content needed to handle a Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn account is staggering – and if you double up, you start to lose followers.
Thanks for the LinkedIn advice! It’s always great to read how to improve the company profile!
I’m forwarding this to my dad because he has been slow getting on the LinkedIn train. Great advice.
Not bad lisa, not bad.
Besides the fact that LinkedIn is not as “Shiny” as some of the other sites that you and i frequent, what else could it be that stops us form hanging there?
I’m puzzled. I go there about once a day. I spend 10 minutes. (At the most)
I have however, optimized my profile. I change it about every 2 months, to keep things fresh.
Now, about that Google + …..
The Franchise King®
Lisa, a timely and informative article. I thought I was the only one actively ignoring LinkedIn. Now I put it on my to do list of daily activities. Thanks
Mine, too, Kip!
Oh and another thing: we recently added LinkedIn Sharing buttons to this site, also, and I am astounded by how much sharing goes on there.
Lisa, i completely agree with you. I’ve quietly used LinkedIn for years and gotten business directly from it. I can’t say that for the other social networks (that’s not a diss). One of the features that I find powerful is Recommendations — they serve as a documented, verifiable testimonial.
I landed two different large year-long projects because Wall Street Journal columnist (at the time) Tom Petzinger said I was a smart strategist. People don’t recommend you publicly unless they are willing to put their name on the line (so to speak) endorsing you. These are the first impressions people get when searching for someone to do a job or a small business to hire.
Thanks for the update on all the cool stuff LinkedIn is doing to be the business social network.
Mike @ DiveKnivesDirect
How true, I’ve been neglecting LinkedIn in part because people often pay little attention to it until they’re in job hunting mode, but I really have no excuse for not creating a company page.
We are on LinkedIn and have been for sometime. We have noticed that there are some people who post and use professional titles when in actually they lack professional experience. We have had potential business approach us on LinkedIn and asked for our information. After sending various K’s, marketing plans, etc, we never heard from them again, because, they took our documents and attempted to copy it, without having the experience to know how to execute the information that they were given. There seems to be a host of these type people all over the internet. Indeed there are those that are not willing to put in the work and time that one has to do in order to achieve success. Perhaps our world online, where so much is shared for free, things get lost in translation. It would be like a PHD who had to study for years, lose sleep,and in some cases, lose relationships, and someone who has that same goal of earning a PHD, says, to that person, ” let me borrow your brain, your time and wisdom, so that I don’t have to work and study as hard”. Nothing like committment and earnest work in striving for success. It’s a real genuine feeling that goes with it, wow, imagine that. All of the social media sites have their adds and negs, however, social media is still done best by word of mouth, along with posting and sharing online.
Errata: “to do stay up to date”, “profile Being”. Otherwise, good article!
Haha! I love your opening line! I actively ignore LinkedIn more times than not, as if I totally forgot I was the one who joined it in the first place. (shakes head at self)
Thanks for the tips, particularly the last two points.