Trying to grow your business on LinkedIn, and curious how to go about it?
I’m no LinkedIn expert, also not a social media expert either. But I have dabbled around enough to see the various things it can do, and special benefits it has over other social networks.
Pros to networking on LinkedIn
- Professional – it’s a fantastic place to reach professionals, and also carry a more professional tone for your brand. Everyone on here is [mostly] serious and mature.
- Professional info – great to see people’s professional info, career stats, and how they impact their companies. Great if you need to reach decision makers rather than to see what their favorite photos are, family members, etc.
- Business connections – whereas most social networks connect people in personal ways (making them shy about sharing their professional career), LinkedIn connects people in the professional world. Great for B2B!
- Industry connections – whereas most social networks recommends mostly people in your personal network, LinkedIn is good at recommending people in your professional network. Again, it’s great for business networking.
- Positive vibe – LinkedIn typically carries a more positive, more productive energy. Most of the posts are to help you do something rather than clickbait memes, personal rants, or spammy stuff.
- Can reach people not on Facebook – many people that don’t like Facebook/Twitter because they prefer to keep their personal lives private, can be found on LinkedIn.
- Can reach notable people – LinkedIn is somewhat like Twitter, in that you can reach famous people in your industry whereas that would be much harder on Facebook.
- Can sell – LinkedIn seems more allowing of “cold-calling” in a sense. It’s common for people with no prior connection to contact each other and offer a sales pitch. Whereas this would probably be banned on Facebook or even completely ignored. People are very wary of being sold on other networks.
- Targeted relationships – LinkedIn is probably better for finding longterm clients than one-time customers. It has more of a trust-building vibe rather than BUY NOW, BUY NOW!
Cons to networking on LinkedIn
- Limited market – LinkedIn is definitely sparse in certain demographics and niche/interests. Any folks below 25 years old, relating to non-professional interests, or just people having fun on social media would be almost non-existent on LinkedIn.
- Not casual – if your business relies on a fun, carefree or non-professional vibe, LinkedIn may not be the right place for it. Also, you probably won’t be able to reach people who are overworked and trying to avoid thinking of business, hahaha.
- Narrow industry reach – LinkedIn is great about connecting you to people in your industry, and people you already know. But outside of that is really difficult. Suppose you’re a printshop. I figure you’d want to connect with ALL business owners…but guess what, LinkedIn is likely to connect you only with other print-shops. So in a way…it’s kind of annoying and distracts you from reaching customers. (But hey, can be good for finding new employees/partners.)
- Inactive members – I’m torn about this. It seems most people with different social networks will be a hundred times more likely to be active on Facebook and what not because it’s more convenient to connect with their personal world there. HOWEVER…those that don’t care about Facebook will probably be more active on LinkedIn, and stay very engaged.
- Extra work – if you’re already active on other social networks, you may find LinkedIn to be a bit of extra work. It’s an entirely different set of people and tone of voice. It seems like maintaining another persona entirely. Also doesn’t integrate as smoothly with other networks. It’s basically the whole personal vs business thing.
- More like an email network than a social network – this can be a good or bad thing. Most social networks engage people who are already active. You’re notified from within the app/website itself. But for LinkedIn, I’m willing to bet most people aren’t logged in and engaging with each other minute-by-minute. It’s more often the email notifications that push you to log in and read/comment/share.
Marketing tips for LinkedIn
1. Choose one persona
I’m willing to bet you have probably one, or maybe two main businesses at the most. Sure… you can list all the other million things you do on the side, and that one tennis club from 15 years ago. But it’s probably better that you leave those things off to be super super clear about who you are and what you do (NOW).
2. Add everybody you can
That’s the beautiful thing about LinkedIn. There’s no stigma or weirdness about adding complete strangers. Just go crazy and add away. Of course, you’ll probably get better results adding all the people you know first and then working your way through the strangers that you have mutual connections with.
3. Post on your personal profile
LinkedIn gives you various options:
- Personal profile – the default profile that you get when signing up.
- Company page – this is like Facebook pages, that you can create for your company.
- Showcase page – used to showcase smaller subsections or specific products/services for your company.
In my opinion, you a hundred times more likely to get views and interactions by simply posting on your personal profile. Company pages are still useful for giving information, so you should still create them regardless. But they don’t get much hits unless users specifically click to subscribe/follow them. Showcase pages, you probably shouldn’t even bother with unless your company is so damn big that you’re ready to separate your following into smaller more-targeted groups.
Personal profiles will probably always get more hits simply because it’s more personal. People relate to people, not faceless brands.
4. General posting formula
Good title (please don’t be clickbait), personal image (not stock photo), and some emojis in the description text (for adding character). I think important posts can go out twice a week, tops. Beyond that and you run the risk of them just tuning you out as “noise” or spam.
And yes, of course…you should have fun posts as well. Some might be just images or just videos, for that full viral effect.
5. Be personable
I think the biggest issue with LinkedIn is that everything on there seems like a spammy/salesy business post shot out by a new intern. It’s the same old “personable branding post that’s speaking to YOU” post that I see every week. It would be great if you could find a way to make it sound/appear as if your posts were truly written by YOU, and not some assistant/marketer/proxy.
The other side of it is that company posts seem to communicate like a radio message, just broadcasting out info to no one in particular. I imagine you would easily stand out if your posts can seem more like a 1-on-1 chat at the water cooler, or even in an elevator. I haven’t mastered this art myself, to be honest, but I’m sure it can be done.
Not everything you write has to push towards a sale, or some kind of productive bottom-line growth. It could just be a video of you goofing off in the office with a tool that only people in your industry would know. Or maybe a story about how you helped save a customer thousands of dollars with free advice. LISTEN CAREFULLY! Don’t focus on the free advice, focus on the customer’s individual story and what you did exactly in that situation (how you picked up the call, what they said, what prompted you, and how you empathized with their situation).