If you’re a professional, you may as well not exist if you don’t have a LinkedIn profile. The granddaddy of professional networking claims more than 400 million members in over 200 countries and territories—making LinkedIn one of the most trafficked social platforms in the world. It’s especially important for small business owners, who can’t afford to overlook LinkedIn as a prime opportunity to connect with potential clients and employers, so they can position their company as an industry influencer.
That’s why you must create a LinkedIn business profile and consistently leverage it to interact with your target audience. Bonus: these pages are actually free.
Creating an Effective LinkedIn Profile
First create a profile by entering your company name and email, and follow the prompts to verify that you can administer the page.
Be sure to thoroughly create the profile. Be concise, and use key words to describe what your organization does and who it serves. Fill out as many fields as you can, including the number of employees, year founded, your website, and what industry you’re in. You can also add other people to administer the page, like social media or marketing employees.
Don’t forget to make it visual, and do not skip the option to add your company logo and image—both are powerful branding tools. If you’re a solopreneuer, consider using a headshot for one of these visuals.
Building and Managing Followers
It’s important to have people following your profile. Similar to friends on Facebook or followers on Twitter, the more people who follow your LinkedIn profile translates into more people being exposed to your content and the updates that you share.
There are a number of ways you can promote your LinkedIn business profile. You can ask your employees to link to the page in their individual LinkedIn profiles, and have them add a link to their employee email signatures.
You can also include a LinkedIn “follow” button on your company website and promote the page on your other social channels. If you belong to any LinkedIn groups, be sure to announce your page when you’re participating in their discussions.
But like any social media, the most powerful and enduring way to build a following on your company page is to regularly share original and useful content.
Creating and Sharing Content on LinkedIn
You definitely want to post useful content often. Daily or more is ideal, but aim for three times weekly. Using the “publish” tool, content shared on LinkedIn can be a mix of thought leadership pieces from members of your executive team, product announcements, educational and promotional videos, and updates from your vendors and any causes your organization supports.
Tips for creating and sharing content:
- Make sure your content is visual. Add colorful, eye-catching photos to any blog posts you create on LinkedIn, since they’re proven to attract more followers and encourage interaction.
- Repurpose content. If you’re just starting out, don’t feel pressured to create original content every single day. Instead, recycle and reuse existing assets. For example, you can your share videos housed on YouTube and Vimeo. Your email newsletters, SlideShare presentations, and blog posts can be teased or copied here, and you should always post your hottest job openings on LinkedIn.
- Share content with your social channels. If your CEO writes a post that’s published on your company page, share that post via Twitter, Facebook, and G+.
- Use analytics. LinkedIn’s company page analytics tool can help you understand how your content resonates with your audience, and how your engagement compares with competitors.
- Pay LinkedIn. LinkedIn knows just how valuable these pages are for businesses, so consider paying for extra features. The platform allows you to buy content sponsorship to boost post visibility among a targeted audience, as well as “Follow ads,” which target LinkedIn members by industry, organization, or geography, and invites them to follow your page.
For examples of stellar LinkedIn company profiles, check out LinkedIn’s Best of Company Pages 2014.