With about 500 million members across 200 countries and territories and two new users estimated to join every second, LinkedIn is the largest business social network. Three million users share content on it weekly and 44 percent of users are estimated to earn more than $75,000 a year.
It’s no surprise then that LinkedIn’s vast, connected audience can hold huge potential to meet partners, customers and prospects, drive traffic to your site, and increase your relevance in Google searches – but only if you paint an accurate picture of your company and expertise, and play by its code of conduct.
Are you falling victim to common LinkedIn pitfalls? Consider these five to avoid.
1. Your Personal Profile Is Lacking
When was the last time you looked at your LinkedIn profile and considered how it might appear to the outside world? Does it sit there unchanged from when you created it 10 years ago? Your profile needs to evolve as you do and address the needs of prospects you want to take notice. Maybe your profile is sparse or full of holes—setting people wondering what it is you do, or clicking past you altogether—outdated, or just plain boring. Or worse yet, maybe it looks similar to your Facebook page, but with your significant other cropped out.
Consider your LinkedIn profile an ever-evolving business card. What issues do you want your customers and prospects to know you can solve? What key words will they be using to search for someone like you?
One way to do this is to consider a more fun, engaging headline that speaks to your prospects’ needs. You can certainly include your title, but you also get up to 120 characters in your headline to talk about the benefits you provide and up to 2,000 characters in your summary section below that. Consider it a great opportunity to make a clear statement on the value you can provide. How about “Award-Winning Author, Keynote Speaker, Customer Experience and Sales Thought Leader” versus “writer”, or “Improving Manufacturing Productivity Through Better Tool Design” versus “manufacturing engineer.”
When it comes to imagery, ensure you are using quality photos. LinkedIn profiles with professional headshots get 14 times more profile views and are 36 times more likely to receive a message. And be sure to capitalize on background imagery reminiscent of your industry, company offering or personal style.
Round out your profile by joining relevant industry groups that speak to your industry, partners and who you are (they’ll be featured on your profile page) and share/like relevant articles on the industry to build engagement and following.
2. Neglecting Your Company Page
Are you confident prospects will like what they see when they go beyond the confines of your website to research your company on LinkedIn? Do you have a solid following? Are your page aesthetics pleasing and is content up-to-date and error-free? Are you showing a pulse, when it comes to regularly posting industry news and relevant company updates that will make prospects pause and take notice? Is your page well-named to help ensure people can find your company in the first place? These are just a few of the considerations to ensure a professional-looking company page.
3. Being Either Too Forthright or Not Engaging Enough
Just because LinkedIn promises the ability to connect with millions of business professionals and prospects, doesn’t mean you should. A wise rule of thumb is to limit connections and reaching out to only those individuals you know personally or professionally or that are in your industry; doing otherwise too often can get you dinged by LinkedIn. Similarly, gaining a connection does not grant individuals permission to continually message them with updates, something LinkedIn also cracks down on. LinkedIn is about maintaining the right balance of awareness and connection without going overboard. Consider only reaching out periodically to people you know with relevant information, messages and posting a few times a week on your timeline about relevant industry news and company updates, as well as sharing or responding to posts or comments in active groups of which you are a member.
4. Missing Out on Opportunities
From leveraging LinkedIn’s robust search feature to find prospects, to using LinkedIn Publishing and SlideShare for branding and lead gen, LinkedIn helps you intelligently engage with prospects and customers. Consider developing targeted Showcase Pages and sponsoring relevant content and posts, targeted down to your customers by specific industry, geography and title. LinkedIn offers numerous opportunities to gain leads and brand you as a thought leader, as well as drive traffic to your site and content offerings. Recently, LinkedIn announced retargeting ads offering the ability to capture prospects that visited your site on the platform. Consider your target audiences and how you can reach them. Regardless of industry, I bet you will find a good number are active on LinkedIn. And LinkedIn members are very engaged, with 40 percent using the network daily.
5. Thinking it’s Just a B2B Platform
Finally, while LinkedIn is more targeted to business products and people, its members are also consumers, investors and potential employees and partners for B2C companies, so don’t think just because you are a B2C business, you don’t need to focus on LinkedIn efforts.
Regardless of industry, if you are not already leveraging the power of LinkedIn, most likely you are missing out, or even detracting from your company’s perception. From making major announcements to ensuring consistency of voice, promoting new products and offerings, LinkedIn offers a host of marketing options. Let us show you how it can help your business.
This blog was written by Clearpoint Agency’s PR Director, Hilary McCarthy.