How to Market Your Business through LinkedIn
LinkedIn can play a significant role in the effective marketing of your business. LinkedIn's value as a marketing tool gets a lot of buzz from most companies’ finance departments, especially because they see LinkedIn as a free way of marketing the business.
Although you don't have to pay anything in terms of money to take advantage of most of LinkedIn's functions, you do have to factor in the cost of the time you put in to manage your profile and use LinkedIn to the fullest.
Marketing your business on LinkedIn involves working through your own network, employing both your current list of contacts as well as potential contacts in the greater LinkedIn community. Your efforts should also include making use of links from your online activities to your LinkedIn profile and promoting your business online from your LinkedIn identity. Here are some things to keep in mind as you develop your LinkedIn marketing strategy:
Encourage every employee to have a LinkedIn profile and to link to each other. Extending your network in this way increases your exposure outside your company. And if anybody in your organization is nervous about preparing her profile, just tell her that LinkedIn can be an important asset in their professional or career development. You can mention that even Bill Gates has a LinkedIn profile.
Make sure your business websites and blogs are linked to your LinkedIn profile. By offering your website visitors a direct view to your LinkedIn profile, you're allowing them to verify you as an employee of the company because they can see your experience and recommendations from other people. They might also realize they share a bond with you and your business that they never would have discovered without LinkedIn.
Make sure your LinkedIn profile links back to your business website and blog. You not only want your visitors and potential customers to be able to verify who you are, but you also want them to go back to your website and do business with you! Make sure you, and every employee of your company who's on LinkedIn, includes a link to your business's website and the company blog.
If you have a search engine expert working for you, that person may complain about something called a two-way link, which is a link from your LinkedIn profile to your website and a link from your website to your LinkedIn profile. This practice, known as reciprocal linking, hurts your search engine ranking. If so, have that person identify which of the two links is more important and implement that link.
Make sure that your most popular keyword phrases are in your company or personal profile. Use sites such as Wordtracker or Good Keywords to find the hottest keyword phrases in your field. If your business is doing any online ad campaigns, make sure those keyword phrases are the same as the ones in your profile. Presenting a consistent image to customers makes you and your company look more professional.
Develop relationships with key business partners or media contacts. When you search for someone on LinkedIn, you can be precise about who you want to reach. If you know that your business needs to expand into the smartphone market, you can start reaching out to smartphone companies such as Apple, Samsung, and HTC. If you want to increase your visibility, reach out to media members who cover your industry.