Leveraging Social Media: LinkedIn

Although not as popular as Facebook and Twitter, LinekdIn has been gaining momentum recently as an emerging social network. Purely a B2B platform, it provides users with the ability to create online resumes and network with like-minded professionals. So what options are available on LinkedIn for businesses?

1. Profile Optimization: Businesses have the opportunity to create fully optimized profile pages, implementing pertinent keywords in the company and product/service descriptions. LinkedIn is an effective tool to either network in an attempt to generate highly qualified or conduct research through a more segmented platform and seek out specific industries/skillsets. Proclaimed as the “world’s largest audience of professionals” with over 150 million registered members, it’s essential to have a profile that is fully branded and complete. LinkedIn will tell you what is needed to reach 100%: this can entail recommendations, generating content for the profile, uploading photos, etc. For businesses, think of LinkedIn as a virtual business card where you can include all your skillsets, products/services, and experience in addition to your company information. Implement keywords where possible to help you profile’s chances of being found through the site’s search functionality.

credit to http://www.flickr.com/photos/sheilascarborough

2. Paid Advertising: Still in its infancy, paid advertising is beginning to become more apparent on LinkedIn as user activity continues to rise. Similar to Facebook, advertisers can target very specific users based on a number of variables. In fact, you can even drill down to specifics such as job titles and specific group memberships. Rather than attempting to network through informal social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, this provides businesses with limitless opportunities to generate leads on a highly professional networking platform. Advertising on LinkedIn may also provide a stronger ROI than Facebook or Adwords – minimum spend per day is $10 and the leads are far more targeted, providing a greater opportunity to translate into sales. Don’t expect high click-through-rates (CTR) though, as research indicates a “good” CTR as 0.025%, which may deter businesses from investing into creatives. In order to run a successful campaign, it’s integral to create powerful ads with strong calls to action, target a niche audience, and run different variations (at least three according to LinkedIn) per campaign.

3. Recruiting: Companies can mine through millions of digital resumes, targeting very specific users based on quality on experience. The ease of access to resumes has proven to be helpful to those in the recruiting industry. According to research conducted by Bullhorn, LinkedIn drives in the most job views and applications, as well as providing recruiting organizations with the most connections and followers of the big three social sites. For recruiters, mining through a database of professionals and digital resumes can translate into a quicker turnaround time on staffing positions, resulting in happier clients. Other companies can also have any member of their staff seek out professionals to fill positions, or at the very least, schedule interviews. Headhunting has never been easier and we’ll gradually see a shift from traditional forms of recruiting to a digital landscape.

All in all, LinkedIn is becoming a more robust social site with the ability to share news, join groups, and disseminate company information. It will most likely never catch up to the aforementioned social media giants, but it has cemented itself as an essential investment for B2B organizations. My last tip for readers is to make sure you create a profile and optimize it as best as you can to take advantage of the largest professional network on the web.

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