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How to use LinkedIn to promote your business

Written by Chris McCarthy Posted in Think. Dare. Do., Social Media, LinkedIn, Marketing

How to use LinkedIn to promote your business

LinkedInMany people are frustrated that they don't seem to be able to generate any leads from LinkedIn, while it seems to be the perfect vehicle for others. This tutorial will help you in generating business from LinkedIn. The topics we will cover are the following (click on the link if any of these topics interest you in particular):

  1. Create your personal profile
  2. Create a company profile
  3. Promote your profile
  4. Find leads on LinkedIn

 

LinkedIn_profileStep 1 Create your profile

1. Open an Account

Without an account on LinkedIn, you aren't going to get very far, so join LinkedIn here. Once you've confirmed your email address, you'll be able to fill out all your details, such as experience, previous work, education and contact preferences. Do this, it will help people who want to find someone with your skills.

2. Add connections

Make sure you connect to friends, family and former colleagues. LinkedIn will make this easy for you by looking in your email address book to find contacts who already are on LinkedIn. You can also use the search box on the top right to look for people you know. Once you are connected to colleagues and friends, you can then browse their networks, find potential prospects and ask the people you are connected to for an introduction, or simply directly contact the decision makers in these businesses. But more on how to generate leads on LinkedIn here.

3. Add your company's website and blog as links

People will want to browse these links to learn more about you and will add to the credibility of your profile.

4. Make your Profile more informative

Many people skip this step, but it is very important in being more informative and establishing your personal 'brand'. LinkedIn offers many applications that can help your profile come alive and be more 'interactive'.

Google_AppsAdd a PowerPoint presentation

The Google Docs Application allows you to upload your main PowerPoint presentation straight to your LinkedIn introductions page. If you are only going to use one application on your LinkedIn profile, this is the one. If you have more than one presentation, add them via SlideShare. The added benefit will be that your presentations will gain some exposure on Slideshare's main website, so don't post any company secrets here.

Add your blog to LinkedIn

Blog Link will allow you to integrate your company's blog on LinkedIn. If your company has a WordPress blog, then use the WordPress application instead.

amazon_readinglistShow off your interest in the industry with Amazon

Show that you read the latest books in your industry and brand yourself as a cutting edge player. This will help others both to identify with you and understand that you update your expertise. However, make sure that you only show books related to your industry, as this is a professional network.

Keep it interesting

Not all applications seem to be created equal when it comes to their usefulness, but if you travel a lot, the travel application might be something you might want to add to communicate your movements. It will be a good tool to share upcoming trips, current location, and travel stats with your network. Before you travel to a location, always check it to see who else among your connections is in that city that week. You can also keep the interest high with Polls and conduct a survey within LinkedIn or share some of your larger files that you can't easily email via the box.net application. However, if you really want to share large files online then box.net isn't very useful as a free solution, use MediaFire instead (there is no LinkedIn application for them, but who cares).

5. Create a more memorable and SEO friendly URL

Change the linkedin URL to end in your name or web site address. So instead of looking like this: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/0/722/21ca, it will look like this http://www.linkedin.com/in/lorenzlammens

6. Allow your profile to be found in the search engines

Look to the top right for the Account & Settings tab. Click “Edit Public Profile settings” to control which parts your profile will be visible to search engine users.

7. Ask for recommendations from anyone you have ever done business with, worked for or worked with

Testimonials are the essence of social proof. Get recommended. If people have recommended you before, make it easy for them: send them their previous recommendation and ask them to republish it on LinkedIn.

8. Update your status messages on LinkedIn

Chances are you already update your business status on Facebook or Twitter. Using services like Ping.fm you can update all of these platforms with one single entry. Use this, save time and network better at the same time!

Step 2 Set up a Company Profile on LinkedIn

1. Go to the LinkedIn Company profile page and enter your company name and your email address. This ensures that you are a current employee of this company and that your company doesn’t already have a profile..

Create_company_profile

2. Once your email has been verified, you can provide basic information about your company. 

Create_company

3. Now when you have a skeleton of your company profile it’s time to provide more data about your company. Add location and related companies. Spice it up with logo. Editing a company profile is as easy as the above 2 steps. What’s better is that your colleagues from the company can also edit the information once they’re identified as belonging to a specific company group. 

Company_profile_completed

Once you have created a company profile, be sure to invite your colleagues to join LinkedIn and swell the number of employees on your LinkedIn Company page. This will help with your corporations credibility. An example company of a page of our company on LinkedIn can be found here.

Promote your LinkedIn profile

1. Add a link to your LinkedIn profile in your corporate signature

If you are going to use LinkedIn as your networking platform, you should promote it amongst all your contacts and leads.

2. Link to your LinkedIn profile on your forum signatures

If you are active in forums make sure to add a link to your profile there

3. Promote your LinkedIn profile on the social networks you are part of

Spread the word, that's what these networks are there for.

4. Join a group, there are tons of them

Add the top right of your LinkedIn page, you will see a search box. On the left of the search box there is a drop down menu, if you click on it, it will bring up the options, choose the 'search groups' option. Start with searching for

  • Groups in your geographic location (most likely the cities you operate in)
  • Then groups that give industry advice to businesses (only choose those within your industry).
  • Join groups withing your sector.
  • Look what groups your contacts have joined and join these.
  • Or join more. Be as creative as you like.

If your groups have meet-up events that make sense to join, go to them! Also read the emails you get from your groups and actively post news to your groups. Answer questions that are asked within your groups, post questions that might help you understand the needs of your group, this will help you to create a name for yourself.

How to find business on LinkedIn

In many ways, all of the above recommendations are steps towards finding business on LinkedIn, from the suggestion to clearly feature your most powerful PowerPoint presentation on your profile to effectively promoting your profile and actively engaging in LinkedIn groups. But here are some additional suggestions that will drive lead generation:

Leverage your contacts to get introduced to THEIR contacts

Look at the contacts people in your network have and profile their contacts: are they part of your target group, could they need your business. Then either ask the connection you share to introduce you or call the company directly. The most useful benefit of joining LinkedIn is that it gives you a chance to learn who the decision makers are in a company and to contact them directly.

Track start-ups.

You can see people in your network who are initiating new start-ups by doing an advanced search for a range of keywords such as “stealth” or “new start-up.” Apply the “Sort By” filter to “Degrees away from you” in order to see the people closest to you first.

Discover leads

Create a group that focuses on solving problems for the target demographic that might be looking for or might need your product. When accepting join requests make sure that you accept people who have the right demographic profile.

Buy LinkedIn ads and serve them to your target demographic

Direct ads are powerful tools to generate awareness of your product

Creating relationships that help you and your business grow

  • Keep track of your colleague’s promotions and title changes on LinkedIn and send congratulations. They will probably show up on their profile or Network Updates before the company newsletter.
  • Network with professionals in similar roles in your industry.

Useful Tools

You can integrate Outlook with LinkedIn, and keep in touch with all your contacts in one place. A great tool to get updates every day of potential new contacts, contacts getting promotions or moving companies or special offers from contacts in your network. Download the plugin here. There is also the FireFox plugin (also works for Flock if you use the FireFox derivant) and you can download it here. Make sure your FireFox browser is up to date first.

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About the Author

Chris McCarthy

Chris McCarthy

Chris blogs on marketing for small businesses and social media.

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