You most likely know that LinkedIn is a great way to network with other business owners. However, are you truly using it to its full potential?
Over the years, a number of LinkedIn tools for business have been introduced that can take your networking, marketing, selling and hiring efforts to new heights. While these tools can be useful, the company doesn’t always do the best job in surfacing them for you to discover.
To remedy this and to help you get the most out of LinkedIn, we’ve compiled a list of useful solutions, tools and apps this social media platform offers.
LinkedIn Tools for Business
LinkedIn Company Pages
A LinkedIn company page is the ideal way to promote your brand and build connections with peers, customers, prospects and job seekers. Company pages can be extended with showcase pages and career pages, both of which are described below.
LinkedIn Showcase Pages
You can further enhance your company page by adding showcase pages to spotlight a brand, business unit, or initiative. This enables you to create a page for aspects of your business with their own messages and audience segments to share with. Links to your showcase pages appear in the right column of your company page:
LinkedIn Sales Navigator
LinkedIn Sales Navigator turns the passive LinkedIn platform into a social selling machine. The solution’s features include: lead recommendations, account and contact import and CRM sync (Salesforce), advanced search with Lead Builder (access up to 400 million up-top-date professional profiles), account pages, a social selling index dashboard (to measure your efforts), real-time updates and more.
To enhance a business’ social selling efforts, LinkedIn offers Elevate, a tool that enables your employees to share approved content with their network. This enhances the reputation of both your employees and your company and thought leaders and experts in their relevant subject areas.
LinkedIn offers two types of ads, promotional and text, both of which enable you to target your audience using a number of filters.
Text ads are similar to pay-per-click advertising on Google where you set a bid and a budget per ad:
Promotional ads act like native advertisements, appearing on your targeted prospect’s home page stream on both computer and mobile devices.
LinkedIn Ads – Display Advertising
Okay, LinkedIn actually offers a third type of advertising however, this one is a bit different than the other two. Display Advertising such as the banner shown below can be served to your leads both on and off LinkedIn. That’s a pretty powerful as it extends your marketing reach exponentially.
LinkedIn Lead Accelerator
Take display advertising and throw in promotional ads and you’ll have LinkedIn’s Lead Accelerator. Lead Accelerator is like marketing automation LinkedIn style – it will identify your prospects on your site, LinkedIn and other partner sites and serve up either ads or sponsored content to nurture the relationship and convert those prospects into sales.
LinkedIn Sponsored InMail
InMail messages are sent directly to another LinkedIn member to whom you’re not connected. Sponsored InMails are juiced up to get the attention and action you desire from the people you’re targeting. Sponsored InMails stay at the top of a recipients’ inbox and drive conversion with personalized messages.
LinkedIn Talent Solutions
If you’re looking to hire new staff, LinkedIn’s talent solutions provide a robust suite of offerings for you to do so:
LinkedIn Recruiter is a robust tool that enables you to view and contact anyone on LinkedIn, search for talent using more than twenty recruiting-specific filters and save your best candidates from search-to-search.
LinkedIn also offers Recruiter Lite for those businesses that hire less frequently.
If you list many jobs over the year, using LinkedIn’s Job Slots is an economical way to do so. Think of a job slot as a re-usable job listing that you can use over and over without paying additional fees. What’s more, job slot listings can get featured on the jobs homepage, on your company’s career page and as a “Job you might be interested in” to passive candidates.
If you hire less frequently, LinkedIn offers Job Posts, a one-off job listing option.
Enhance your LinkedIn company page with a “Careers” tab that leads to your very own branded careers page. A careers page lets you establish an employer brand by emphasizing your culture, history and goals. In addition, job slots you’re currently listing on LinkedIn will be listed in the right column:
Work With Us Ads
Work With Us Ads are just that, ads that invite targeted candidates to view your job listings on LinkedIn. The company claims that these ads outperform their other banner ads up to 50% – that’s good news for recruiters!
LinkedIn Referrals enables you to unlock your employees’ profiles to discover connections who might be the perfect fit for a position.
LinkedIn Content Marketing
LinkedIn provides two ways for you to publish and share content:
LinkedIn Updates date back to the birth of the social media network and they’re still the most social-ish part of the site. Essentially, updates are similar to Facebook’s posts even up to the point where you are alerted when a connection liked or commented on another update.
Long Form Posts
In trying to imagine long form posts, think blogging because that’s just what they are – blogging on LinkedIn. The advantage to publishing your posts here is the fact that LinkedIn’s already done the heavy lifting when it comes to traffic – your audience is already on the site. How do you make the most of this platform? Here are some tips…
An API, or application programming interface, is a go-between software solution that enables different programs to interact and share data with each other.
LinkedIn offers APIs in 4 specific areas:
- Sign-In with LinkedIn: enable your users to sign into your site or solution using their LinkedIn credentials.
- Add to Profile: make it easy for people to showcase your certifications with a simple “Add to Profile” button.
- Share on LinkedIn: add a “Share on LinkedIn” button on your site to encourage visitors to share your content on the social media site.
- Manage Company Pages: make it easier to increase your company’s presence on LinkedIn.
API Partnership Programs
If you want to partner with LinkedIn to provide solutions and apps that work with their API, check out their partnership programs page for more information.
LinkedIn Plugins make it easy to add functionality to your website. Here’s what’s available:
- Follow Company
- Member Profile
- Company Profile
- Company Insider
- Jobs You Might Be Interested In
- Alumni Tool
LinkedIn Mobile Apps
In addition to its primary app, LinkedIn offers a number of specialized and super-useful mobile apps.
The LinkedIn Mobile App
If you want LinkedIn on the go, then start with the LinkedIn mobile app. Available for both iOS and Android, you can keep up to date on what’s happening in your network and reach out and respond whenever appropriate.
LinkedIn Connected App
The LinkedIn Connected app is a great way stay on top of important updates in your network, like work anniversaries and new jobs – the perfect opportunities to touch base with a connection. You can also use the app to prep for meetings by viewing information about your connections. This app is available on iOS devices only.
LinkedIn Job Search App
If you’re looking for a new position, then the LinkedIn job search app is an invaluable tool. As you can see below, you can use the app to search for openings and even apply with the tap of a finger. This app is available on both iOS and Android devices.
LinkedIn Pulse App
The LinkedIn Pulse app let’s you stay on top of the latest stories and articles from LinkedIn’s blogging platform, Pulse. Available on both iOS and Android devices, you can use the Pulse app to curate the stories you’re interested in by source or person. Pulse even learns as you use it, serving up the content you want to see most.
LinkedIn Groups App
The Groups app enables you to view and interact the LinkedIn groups to which you belong. The app is available for iOS devices only.
LinkedIn SlideShare App
You can use the LinkedIn SlideShare app to access over 18 million presentations and infographics. When you need to study up on a subject, this app can’t be beat. This app is available for both iOS and Android devices.
LinkedIn Lookup App
A truly useful tool, the LinkedIn Lookup app enables you to find, learn about, and contact anyone at your company, even if you’re not connected to them on LinkedIn. Before you download the app and start playing, make sure your company is signed up to use it by clicking on the “Get Lookup” button here. The app is available on both iOS and Android devices.
LinkedIn Premium Mobile Apps
LinkedIn also offers mobile apps for their premium services:
LinkedIn Recruiter App
If you us the LinkedIn Recruiter tool we discussed above, then you’re gonna’ love this app. The Recruiter app enables you to find and respond to talent on the go by searching and reviewing profiles of potential hires, responding quickly to candidates, and staying organized with projects. The app is available for both iOS and Android devices.
LinkedIn Sales Navigator App
LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator app enables you to access all the lead discovery and capture goodness of the Sales Navigator tool we mentioned above. With this app, you can find leads and accounts in your target market, connect or send messages, and get real-time updates on your leads. This app is available for both iOS and Android devices.
LinkedIn Elevate App
Our final LinkedIn app helps users of the LinkedIn Elevate tool discussed above build their reputation by sharing smart content. Share relevant content and then measure your impact. This app is available for both iOS and Android devices.
A Few Extras
LinkedIn Small Business
LinkedIn has created a handy repository of information for small businesses to use when learning to market on their site. LinkedIn Small Business provides tip sheets for establishing your brand presence, connecting with your audience and engaging your prospects with content. This is a must-visit spot for all small business folks who want to get the most out of their efforts on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn’s help section is fairly robust so make sure you check it out, even when you don’t have a question. We like the way they’ve divided the content into “Things You Want to Get Done” categories:
LinkedIn Certified Marketing Partners
Finally, if you’re looking for a way to expand your effectiveness on LinkedIn, they’ve compiled a big list of certified marketing partners who can help you with ads, content, company pages, custom apps and compliance.
LinkedIn has come a long way since its inception. The best way to make the most of LinkedIn tools for business and everything the social media network offers is to check out its solutions, tools and apps.
LinkedIn Photo via Shutterstock
More in: LinkedIn, Popular Articles
Nice piece, very comprehensive! Linkedin just announced they are retiring the Connected App and rolling into main app. I’m sure they should / are thinking about doing same for Pulse app (why do I need separate apps for all these things…?)
Mike – can’t disagree with you there! Maybe they were trying to keep each tool focused and easy-to-use however, it seems as if better design can handle the whole ball of wax in one or even two apps at the most.
I am not sure how I used Connected app and Pulse hasn’t been according to my pulse! 😉
I am impressed by LinkedIn’s acquisitions, e.g., SlideShare and Lynda.
The question is: when will be LinkedIn less “boxed in,” and more open for small business owners and entrepreneurs?
I am not involved in linked in but want to get involved . Any good training programs that a newbie could use to engage?
Gary – there’s a ton out there (search “linkedin training” over at Google for an example), but I’m not familiar with any actual programs.
My suggestion – check a few out and then search for ” review(s)” on Google and ask if anyone’s taken them on public forums to see how they liked it.
Same here. Not as active in LinkedIn either. But it has a lot of potential. I guess I really have to be active to see its real power and also learn the culture of community.
Great tools, I uses to struggle a lot with Linkedin before, but now its the time to increase the productivity by many folds. Thanks for sharing!
Hi, I’m wondering if there is any software that can help me send messages to my connections through Linkedin itself. I have over a 1000 connections and want to send them all a message. I know I can download their emails and do an email broadcast but I’m looking for a solution to send messages via LinkedIn. Thank you in advance
These are some really fascinating tools. I guess there is more to LinkedIn than a social network for professionals.