LinkedIn is well known for being a powerful and popular business social media tool. As a specifically business-focused social media site, LinkedIn is useful for far more than simply making connections. With 187 million unique monthly users and 3 million company pages alone (and growing), LinkedIn's stats and ever-improving features make it a must-have for your business. Here are some ways your SMB can use LinkedIn as a marketing and sales tool.
1. Create and Manage Groups
LinkedIn allows users to easily create groups that are specific to certain businesses and interests. By utilizing this feature, you'll be creating a platform for concentrated discussions as well as a place to market your business towards other like-minded people. Marketingland.com suggests first joining and participating in related groups on LinkedIn to get a handle on how they operate before making the jump into creating your own (Tweet This!).
Also, try joining "complementary groups" -- groups that aren't necessarily related to your business, but that your customers might be interested in -- as a way to better understand your customers and interact in the best way. Once you're managing your own group, you can use the community you've created to help promote your business and increase traffic to your own site.
2. Invest in Ads
LinkedIn offers a variety of types of pay-per-click ads (poll ads, video ads, and "Join Group" ads, to name some). These PPC ads are set up to allow businesses to closely target specific audiences, and because this is a fairly new feature and LinkedIn isn't as crowded as some other spaces, your ads will be getting more attention for your dollars spent. Select the ad type most applicable to your business and take the time to study up on what makes ads most effective, and your business can see quick results for your investment.
3. Monitor Content
LinkedIn recently released two features that allow companies to better keep track of their marketing effectiveness. Trending Content is a consistently-updating list that shows the most popular topics for certain audiences at any given time (Tweet This!). This allows your business to keep a finger on the pulse of what's going on in your industry. The second, Content Marketing Score, calculates your business' content effectiveness by determining how much of your target audience you're actually reaching (Tweet This!). Use these tools to figure out how you can improve your strategy and reach.
4. Make use of Sponsored Updates
Less than a year old, this LinkedIn feature allows businesses to boost visibility of certain posts. By setting up an update that's sponsored, you'll also be able to see the stats (impressions, clicks, and engagement) underneath the specific posts. This reveals how much impact sponsoring the particular update had, letting you know just how effective your investment was. This feature has the potential to be incredibly useful not only in terms of bringing more attention to certain posts, but for allowing your business to better understand what kinds of posts customers are more likely to show interest in.
LinkedIn's professional focus and its business-minded demographic make it a vital tool for small businesses. By utilizing these business-minded features that LinkedIn offers, you'll be setting up your business for greater visibility and success in the marketplace.
(Images via linkedin.com )