Social media has proven to be an effective marketing strategy for a while now because it gives an in-depth insight into product information, customer service, all through entertaining content. While people lean on Facebook and Twitter to promote their business, the major crux of business opportunities can be channeled through LinkedIn on account of 2 factors: the business intent of users and much more professional status updates. When a user creates an account on LinkedIn, you know that he/she means business. The database of 300 million users stands testimony to that, and they aim to extract maximum from the following benefits:
1. Networking 101
LinkedIn was founded on the basic principle of connecting with relevant people in the industry, staying in the loop, and building relationships where they matter. Be it third party businesses crucial to your company or prospective customers, LinkedIn provides you ample opportunities including searching for a right candidate to fill in the position at your business.
- B2B Networking – Looking for vendors, suppliers, and other possible third parties is a walk in the park using LinkedIn. Also, a vendor’s online presence gives a more holistic view regarding employer experiences and recommendations, and you get to choose who you deal with based on that picture.
- B2C Networking – Brand value is extremely sought after for a small business and goes a long way in establishing an enterprise. You can promote new products and services, publish posts relevant to your business or just connect to your customer database on a personal level, all in the aim of building trust and loyalty. In essence, you get to use LinkedIn as a free customer relationship manager (CRM).
2. Influence the industry for good
When you have access to all possible peers and influencers of your industry, it is bound to shape your entire approach to the business. You have the added advantage of unrestricted access to experts for consultations and second opinions. You get to utilize and contribute to the question bank of challenging, vexing queries (provided by LinkedIn Answers & Groups). In time, you may end up parting wisdom and changing the industry for good.
3. Detect industry trends
LinkedIn provides you with an important tool known as the Skills & Expertise Search wherein you get to tap into the all-important information about changes in the market and how they influence the industry. It gives you an overall feel regarding demographics of growth, information such as:
- Comparison of that growth to related fields
- How large is the field
- How did new technology or innovation fare in the market
- Check in on competition
In addition to the basic necessity of networking, LinkedIn can also be used to keep a lookout for competition. You get to know their important connections, the recommendations for their services, and most importantly, the projects they work on. You also get to stay updated on the HR front by knowing who’s hired, who’s fired and how were the employee experiences overall. Business decisions are made based on this information and LinkedIn provides a lot of them the proper use of LinkedIn can give your company that required an edge.
5. Finding new talent
If is LinkedIn the ultimate recruiting tool. Using the functionality provided by Advanced Search, you can sift through an array of prospective employees by gathering information such as:
- Project relevance
- Previous employers, and
People dress up their LinkedIn profiles to impress knowing that careers are made on this platform.
6. Raise funding
LinkedIn provides a solid platform to connect with mentors and potential investors. There are over 3 million startup professionals and 12 million small business professionals to connect with. Suffice to say, it never hurts to stay associated with people with relevant wisdom and experience, and if impressed well enough, possibly even invest in your venture.
7. Market Research
It is interesting how you can use social media to minimize on cost and maximize on outreach. LinkedIn brings that idea to the forefront by providing tools to conduct polls using the LinkedIn Q & A feature. You get to gauge people’s opinion on brand value, new product ideas, and based on the analysis, pinpoint where improvement is needed.
You have access to analytical data to understand about key demographics, about cause and nature of page traffic, and ultimately you get to realize how to engage the audience through your posts.
8. Capitalizing on use of search engines
LinkedIn Company pages and posts rank pretty high up the ladder in Google and other search engine results. You get to update your company page and optimize posts based on delivering performance in search results pages. This, in turn, can drive website traffic, provided you embed relevant links in posts.
At the end of it all, there is no limit to what you can achieve through an effective social media strategy using LinkedIn. Networking, emboldening your brand image, hiring the cream of the cream, shaping your company philosophy are just among the few things you can achieve. It’s a brave, new world out there and we are just getting started with the extent of social media.
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By Rahul Chowath