Emerging Heavyweight Social Media Tool
Just when you figured out Facebook and got into a Tweeting groove, the popular social media channel LinkedIn, is emerging as a vital component of most business social media marketing mixes—most definitely not to be ignored. As a business professional and consummate networker, you may already have a LinkedIn Professional profile set up. You might also have some great testimonials and have called on the social media site at one time to find employment opportunities. What you might not know, however, is that LinkedIn is a vital business tool beyond business and employment networking. Unlike Facebook and Twitter, it has functionality and benefits that most are unaware of. If utilized correctly, this could mean a competitive advantage for you and your business.
About LinkedIn, The Facts
According to the LinkedIn site, LinkedIn was started in 2002 and since has become the world’s largest professional network on the Internet with more than 120 million members in over 200 countries and territories. More than half of LinkedIn members are from outside of the U.S. The company is publicly held and has a diversified business model with revenues coming from hiring solutions, marketing solutions and premium subscriptions.
As of June 30, 2011, LinkedIn counts executives from all 2011 Fortune 500 companies as members; its corporate hiring solutions are used by 75 of the Fortune 100 companies and more than 2 million companies have LinkedIn Company Pages. Due to it’s specifically affluent and influential membership, albeit smaller than Facebook in quantity, LinkedIn is looked at as a valuable demographic for marketers looking to reach this audience for B2B and B2C communications and outreach. Also, the development community leverages LinkedIn’s technology source code for innovative tools and solutions.
Why use LinkedIn? (most of these were taken from Success Stories posted on http://press.linkedin.com/success-stories)
As a business professional, the benefits for actively using LinkedIn (focus on the word “actively”) are pretty obvious:
- Build professional relationships and partnerships domestically and internationally
- For employment purposes, or to “put yourself and your professional profile ‘out there.’” In other words, to make yourself available or promote your professional profile for employment opportunities (opportunities to you and your company and for you and your career)
- Acquire valuable industry intelligence. A new feature allows for you to view what thought leaders in your space are tweeting and news that’s happening in real-time
- Generate leads and make important professional introductions
As a company, the benefits of using LinkedIn actively may include:
- Drive followers, traffic and participation. To set up communities, or social networks of existing and potential customers who advocate and evangelize your products/services and/or company
- For recruiting. To source, refer and land talent for available jobs within your company
- Sales leads. To build business partnerships, secure contract work. Connect with Fortune 500 executives
- Tap into industry experts for information regarding your industry and what you might need to know quickly
- Support Search Engine Optimization. All of the social media efforts link back to mentions of your business (or product or service) and can count towards search engine rankings.
Getting Started with LinkedIn Company Pages
Company Pages are a company’s profile of record on LinkedIn and a powerful way to speak to millions of professionals through word-of-mouth recommendations and trusted testimonials. Similar to your professional profile for yourself, Company Pages are a LinkedIn profile for your company.
Why set up a Company Page for your business?
- It allows members a way to research companies they are interested in working for or doing business with including keeping current with your products, services, employees and news.
- To highlight the individuals behind your company and how members use your products or services.
- Since the Company Page includes job openings, new hires, promotions & changes, it gives a good snapshot of the employment landscape or your business to the network of members.
If you don’t already have a Company Page, you can set one up pretty easily by first logging in at LinkedIn.com. You can customize your Company Page and update info on your profile, description, HQ address, website and revenue. Employees who are member and are listed are included and a lot of the information is automated. You can also post targeted jobs, recruitment videos, and other promotional material for recruitment and provide information about products and services and showcase recommendations within a member’s network.
There are promotional opportunities to promote your company within various industry segments and locations. It’s pretty cool to see that you can search by professionals within your industry and even your location as well.
Too Many Social Media Tools, Too Little Time
Yes, setting up and managing your Company Page and your Professional Profile Page on LinkedIn takes time and consistency. Is it worth it? Considering that LinkedIn is emerging as the B2B social media channel of choice, for reasons mentioned above, I’d say yes, it is worth the time and energy investment! Much like other new and emerging forms of integrated marketing, those that dip their toes in and start experimenting minimize risk and time going forward and reap the benefits sooner than those that sit back and wait for the tools to be more popular. I try to manage my social media time spent in that I put in about 35% Twitter, 35% Facebook, 25% Blogging, and 5% LinkedIn. Finding the right mix for you and your time is critical. Leaving important social media tactics and channels vital to your business—even more critical!
About the Author
Angelo Biasi is General Manager of SMART Marketing Solutions, LLC, a leading full-service integrated marketing company in Naples, FL since 2001. He has helped create and execute marketing plans and integrated marketing solutions for companies such as Playtex, Bic, Rogaine, Tauck, and over 35 colleges and universities, to name a few. Angelo has an MBA in Marketing from the University of Connecticut and teaches Marketing at New York University where he has for over five years. For more information or to learn more, email him at abiasismartmarketingllccom (abiasismartmarketingllccom) , visit www.smartmarketingllc.com or call 239.963.9396.