8 Ways To Use LinkedIn to Grow Your Business

Five … six … seven years ago, you swore off social media as a fad that would never apply to your business-to-business company. You didn’t want to know what your friends ate for breakfast via Twitter. You didn’t want to see pictures of pet cats on Facebook. And you sure didn’t want to watch videos of pop stars “twerking” on YouTube.
But there’s one place in the world of B2B that definitely mixes well with social media. That place? LinkedIn. It’s not the flashy headliner like Facebook or the trendsetter that Twitter has become. It’s the low-key, hard-working, practical social media for business. If you’re not using it, you’re in the minority. According to Adobe’s CMO e-magazine:
  • More than 259 million people use LinkedIn (up 38 percent in the past year).
  • LinkedIn is the source of 64 percent of all corporate website visits from social media channels (dwarfing Facebook at 17 percent and Twitter at 14 percent).
  • The 10 most liked brands on LinkedIn are all B2B companies.
Being on LinkedIn is fine. But the real art is in how you use it (and I’m only talking about how you use the FREE version – not the paid upgrade – as that would be a whole different topic). Here are 8 easy things you should do to turn LinkedIn into a smart business tool.
  1. Endorse Your Contacts. LinkedIn has made it really easy to stay connected with your contacts and flatter them by endorsing them for specific skills – without having to do any more than click. Pretty simple way to keep top-of-mind with important contacts.
  2. Join Groups. The beauty of LinkedIn is that you can easily find groups related to your areas of interest. Want to connect with golf course superintendents? There are groups for that, which allow you to share ideas, ask questions and provide insights that may position you as an industry resource.
  3. See Who’s Watching You. One of the most commonly viewed pages in LinkedIn, reviewing who has viewed your profile can tell you if the rockstar competitive salesperson is looking to move or if an editor is looking for an interview source for their upcoming story.
  4. Connect with People You’ve Met. Experts say it takes an average of 7 contacts before someone will buy something from you. What if three of those contacts were the same week – a personal visit, a follow up email and a request to connect on LinkedIn?
  5. Follow Other Companies. Want to keep up on what your client is doing? Your competitors? Your prospects? Who they are looking to hire? Recent news? Follow company pages to make sure you stay in the loop. (Here’s a plug for Lessing-Flynn’s, just in case you are so inclined to try it!)
  6. Update Your Profile. Where did you go to college? What groups, associations, boards or volunteer positions are you involved in? What are your current job responsibilities? Adding these to your profile just adds depth and makes it easier for old friends or networking connections to find you and reconnect. You never know when your old high school buddy will become the CEO of a company that needs your products or services.
  7. Post an Update. It’s easy to become a subject matter expert in your field just by posting relevant information. Even better, this can be content that you or your company generates – or other information that you find interesting and want to share. (Hint, if you have a Twitter account, you can send your info out to Twitter through LinkedIn as well).
  8. Target Audiences for Your Posts. Maybe not everyone in your LinkedIn network cares about your industry. But LinkedIn allows you to easily segment your contacts so you can post new information that is only relevant to them without frustrating others.