LinkedIn is one of the most effective tools to market your business. In fact, thanks to the many options and features available (some of which quite hidden or underestimated), we have the opportunity to promote our business to a highly specialized target not only through paid ads but also organically. In this article, we offer you a complete overview of the major LinkedIn features, strategies and useful tips for implementing an effective personal profile and company page, as well as a preview of upcoming updates.
LinkedIn is undoubtedly the number one professional platform in the social media landscape.
Launched in 2003 and acquired by Microsoft in 2016, LinkedIn is mainly used for the creation of professional contacts, the exchange of information and content relating to the world of work and job search.
With over 575 million users, 40% of whom access the platform on a daily basis, LinkedIn is among the essential tools for professional networking, both on a personal and corporate level.
In fact, if it is true that having an up-to-date personal profile on LinkedIn can open us to new career opportunities, it is equally true that a company page on LinkedIn represents an important touchpoint, as well as a concrete opportunity to reach a highly specialized and potentially interested target.
LinkedIn, like all other social networks, was created to connect people and only later as a showcase for companies.
Therefore, before taking any action on behalf of our company, it is good to have a well-finished personal profile.
How to create a professional LinkedIn profile
An up-to-date, professional profile should feature an equally up-to-date and professional profile photo. So, forget about photos with sunglasses or vacation shots: let’s choose a photo that represents us, without necessarily being serious, but that conveys an image in keeping with the world of work.
Another important graphic element is the background image, which is often sadly left blank. Let’s use this image to say something more about us, about our interests, abilities or to promote the company we work for or what we do.
Yet another often overlooked element is the summary, a textual part that is displayed before work experiences. This section allows us to say something more about our skills, work experiences but also aspects of our personality or hobbies.
Let’s remember, in fact, one important thing: LinkedIn is not a CV and therefore, it should not be treated as such. Make way for professionalism, of course, but also to what distinguishes us and contributes to making us unique individuals. We are still on a social network: let’s leave our mark, exploit the medium and use it to communicate, always under the aegis of professionalism.
In a few words, let’s build a personal brand.
After completing this first introductory part, let’s get to the point by carefully filling out the section dedicated to the professional and academic career. The advice in this case is the same valid for CVs: does it make sense to put a past experience, perhaps from ages ago, that has no bearing on the path we have taken or want to take? Rather, let’s place greater emphasis on the most recent experiences and closest to our field of expertise.
If we have obtained certifications or licenses, we can add them to the profile to make it even more complete. LinkedIn also allows you to list other achievements on your profile, such as publications, patents, awards, as well as our language skills and any volunteer experiences.
Another interesting feature of LinkedIn is the ability to add skills to our profile, which can be endorsed by our contacts.
Our connections will also be able to write a recommendation, which will then be published on our profile.
Let’s not forget that all our activities, posts, articles as well as the pages we are following and the groups we have joined will be visible on our profile.
Now that we have created our profile and a personal brand, we need to network, connect with our colleagues and other professionals in our reference sector, and interact with them.
As anticipated, it is from our personal profile that we will have to take the first steps to promote our company – not only because technically we need a personal profile to be able to open a company page, but also because everything we say, publish and our attitude will also impact our company.
So, no to censorship but let’s make sure that what we express on a personal level does not lead to controversial implications for our company and for our own career opportunities.
But let’s get down to business and see how to exploit the potential offered by LinkedIn to promote a company.
Promoting a company on LinkedIn: 5 steps to take
1. Grow your network
As already mentioned, organic promotion tactics on LinkedIn (so, advertising excluded) depend on networking.
LinkedIn’s goal, in fact, is primarily to connect professionals from various sectors.
So, let’s create our network of contacts, connect and interact with them, and share interesting content for our network.
Only with a network of potentially interested contacts will we be able to actively and successfully promote our business through the various tools available on LinkedIn.
2. Create a company page
The second step to take to promote the services of a company and its brand is to create a company page.
Like personal profiles, company pages as well will have a header with a dedicated space in which to upload the logo and a cover image for a visual communication of our activities, as well as a specific area for the name and tagline of the company. Let’s take advantage of all these elements and remember that everything will have to recall the coordinated image and communication strategy we have chosen to present our company.
In addition to the main information on the page, in the header we have the ability to also insert a CTA button: Contact us, Learn more, Register, Sign up or Visit website.
LinkedIn provides a section for a more thorough overview of our company that we will have to fill in with a description of what we do and offer, and information about where we are located, our website, contacts, industry, company size and type.
LinkedIn also gives the possibility, through the Community section, to showcase on the page three hashtags of your choice and some groups. Obviously, both items should be relevant to our business and are useful for making users understand which hashtags to follow and which groups to join to find our updates or to be part of the industry community. The advice is also to always showcase a hashtag relating to the company, perhaps the name of the company itself.
Finally, it is possible to manage our page in multiple languages, adding translations.
Through our company page we can also create and publish job offers, which can be consulted by anyone who browses the page.
Now that we’ve created a company page, we need to promote it. Here are some best practices:
Post content regularly
We can spend millions on advertising but if we make our target land on a page with no content or with posts dating back to the Paleolithic era, we can rest assured that we will not leave a good impression nor entice our target to follow us.
Publishing content regularly is the first rule to organically promote our business.
Let’s promote not only the services we offer but also the sense of belonging to the corporate culture. Let’s involve our customers and leads but also our employees: not only the direct involvement of employees is one of the main 2020 marketing trends (which we are sure we will find again next year) but it can stimulate feedback that will also positively reflect on the brand. The example of the Patagonia employee who publicly (and on LinkedIn!) thanked the company for its family policies is always fitting. Not to mention that the post went viral and was quoted by several online sources as an exemplary behaviour to safeguard working mothers.
What matters, and that is valid both on a personal and corporate level, is to adopt a tone of voice that is suitable for the type of platform that is LinkedIn. Netflix’s communication strategy is an excellent example of how the company, which stands out for its irony and informal language on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, takes on a more formal tone and content on LinkedIn:
Promote employee advocacy
As already mentioned, it is important that employees are part of the company’s culture. This can lead them to become brand ambassadors of our company.
In fact, employee advocacy, that is the personal participation of employees in the sharing of corporate content, is a fundamental element of the promotion strategy on LinkedIn. Therefore, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the platform allows you to notify employees of each new update.
In addition to this, we can invite employees to include the page among their work experiences: not only will their profile be more complete and visually appealing, but the logo and company name on their profile, as well as the possibility of being able to search for every employee of the company, will contribute to the building of our community.
All this will promote brand awareness, strengthening its perception, and will give us the opportunity to convey our messages to a wider audience.
This does not mean that we must force our employees to become brand ambassadors and share company posts on their personal profiles. It would be completely counterproductive and far from the very idea of employee advocacy, which underlies a completely spontaneous action. Nor can we expect all employees to be suitable or willing to become advocates of our brand.
Furthermore, to protect the brand and at the same time provide a guideline to our employees, it is good practice to develop a netiquette, that is a series of good practices and behaviours that explain how and what to communicate. As mentioned, it is not a matter of censorship but simply some common-sense rules that avoid misunderstandings, disputes or taking a stand on behalf of the company that is not actually in line with that of the company.
Invite your connections to follow the company page
One of the most useful and effective options that LinkedIn offers us is the ability to invite our connections to follow the company page.
To do this we must have two basic requirements: permissions as a page administrator and a network of potentially interested contacts.
If we have both, we just have to access our company page and select the contacts to invite. These contacts will receive a notification in the My Network icon, as if it was a connection request, which they can then accept or decline.
Each month we will have 100 credits available to invite our connections to follow the page: for each invitation you need a credit. If the invitation is accepted, the credit will be returned to us. Credits are not cumulative (so they expire every month even if we don’t use them) and are shared among all the admins of the page.
3. Exploit the groups
Another marketing tool offered by LinkedIn are groups, in which communities can discuss and share posts and articles on a specific topic.
The groups available are several and we can join them through our personal profile.
To find the groups that are best suited to our purposes, we just need to search for keywords related to our industry in the LinkedIn search bar and filter the results by selecting Groups in the drop-down menu.
We can join up to 100 groups.
Another option is to create a group and build our community. As it happens with the company page, we will be able to spread the word about our group by inviting our connections to become a member.
We also have the possibility to appoint other colleagues or collaborators as group administrators. In this way they can in turn invite their connections and support us in moderating the content. In fact, it may happen that there are spammers or people who post articles that have nothing to do with our industry. In this case, to offer an optimal experience to group members, it is good to keep the feed monitored, delete any off-topic content and block spammers.
Furthermore, as administrators, we can increase the visibility of a content by suggesting a post to group members, who will thus receive a dedicated notification. This feature is available every 7 days.
Whatever our choice, through groups we can get in touch with people belonging to our same sector, do lead generation, promote our brand and our content.
Like all other social networks, LinkedIn also allows you to advertise.
We can manage our advertising campaigns through LinkedIn Campaign Manager, a tool that will allow us to create campaigns, select ad types and evaluate the performance of our sponsorships. Just access the platform through your personal profile and create an account to which you can associate the company page (some types of ads will require a company page).
LinkedIn Campaign Manager will then guide us in the creation of our sponsored content, allowing us to choose objectives, audience (location, interests, work experience …), the ad format, budget and scheduling.
The LinkedIn advertising goals from which to start to set up our promotional campaign are:
- Brand Awareness
- Website Visits
- Video Views
- Lead Generation
- Website Conversions
- Job Applicants
To achieve the goal of our advertising campaign, we can choose between different types of ads:
Single-image ads: they appear in LinkedIn members’ feed with a short text, image, and CTA.
Carousel image ads: they allow to display multiple images in succession in a single, carousel-style ad format. They are displayed in the feed.
Video ads: similar to single-image ads but with a video instead. They are displayed in the feed.
Text ads: consisting of a headline and a brief text, they are placed at the top of the page or on the right rail of a variety of LinkedIn desktop pages (i.e. homepage, profile page, search results page, group pages, inbox…).
Message ads: they are displayed in the inbox, as real messages from another user.
Follower ads: dynamic ads to invite LinkedIn members to follow our company page. The ad is personalized with the name and profile picture of the person who is seeing the ad.
Spotlight ads: dynamic ads to bring LinkedIn members to your website or landing page. As with Follower ads, this kind of ad is personalized with the name and profile photo of the person who is seeing the ad.
Job ads: dynamic ads to invite candidates to view job offers.
If you have any doubt about which type of advertising format best suits your goal, LinkedIn has provided a short guide to help you choose.
5. Keep learning
You never stop learning, especially in marketing: there are so many practices as well as tools and they evolve so quickly that staying up to date on the latest industry novelties is a must to be able to implement effective strategies.
LinkedIn Learning is a great tool to brush up on our knowledge and acquire new skills.
Divided into three macro categories (Business, Creative, Technology) from which to start and then choose the study method (by subject, software or educational path), LinkedIn Learning offers thousands of videos and online courses, both free and paid, to be able to investigate the aspects that interest us the most. From SEO for social media to time management fundamentals; from neck stretching exercises while we are at our desk to interviews with leadership experts – the topics and insights available are many.
So, log into LinkedIn Learning through your LinkedIn account and start your training course!
2020 LinkedIn updates
Although LinkedIn has always stood out precisely for its intrinsic characteristic of targeting the professional life of users and not the private one, as it happens on other social networks, in September 2020 the platform announced an important restyling that affects both the graphics and some functions that gives a nod to Instagram and Facebook.
As many of you have probably noticed, LinkedIn has given the platform a brighter, fresher look.
But the real news is the launch of LinkedIn Stories. At the moment this feature is only available in Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, India, the Netherlands, UAE and USA but after a trial period, the feature should also be available in the rest of the world.
As with other social platforms, the stories will be visible for 24 hours to our connections and followers, who will be able to share it in turn with their followers and connections, as well as send a reaction to our story through messages and emojis.
LinkedIn will also provide statistics related to the stories, such as unique views and the list of people who viewed it.
In addition, LinkedIn announced the Question of the Day feature, a specific daily question that users can answer through their stories and discuss about it.
It is certainly interesting to see how users will take advantage of this new function, which should assume, at least in theory, very different connotations from the stories posted on Instagram and Facebook. It is also likely that, in the future, stories will be one of the advertising formats available on LinkedIn.
However, we already read (and witness the endless discussions that follow) content that is not suited to the professional environment promoted by LinkedIn.
Are we therefore running the risk that stories – a more informal communication tool – will end up distorting the only social network that was able to stand out from the others both by features and usage? Do we really need to communicate through stories on LinkedIn, too? Do you think they will be as popular as they are on other social networks?
Let us know what you think in the comment section below and contact us for more tips and best practices for promoting yourself on social media.