You may already know these stats, but they are impressive nonetheless’
LinkedIn is a free B2B social media network with over 347 million members from over 32 countries (source) who share industry insights, company news, publish blogs and utilise LinkedIn to develop their teams.
LinkedIn users are primarily well educated professionals aged between 30 and 64 (source) and although the majority of members are in the USA (where LinkedIn was launched in 2003), the UK has the fourth largest LinkedIn network with over 17 million members. The second largest network is in India (28 million) and the third is in Brazil (20 million).
But what are the benefits for you as a business
LinkedIn is not just a tool for recruitment consultants or to boost your career with, the benefits for businesses are endless. LinkedIn will help you raise the profile of your brand and promote your product and services via targeted campaigns, both paid and organic. In addition, by being on LinkedIn, you are in the running of becoming a thought leader in your industry, and most importantly for your business, you can easily identify prospects and new business leads (source).
In comparison to Twitter and Facebook, LinkedIn drives over three times more traffic to your homepage (source). Furthermore, like many online tools, everything is measureable with statistical insight into your company page follower and visitor engagement, industry and geographical reach, and professional demographics.
Whether you are looking to create a new LinkedIn company page or wish to revise yours, here are some of our favourites from LinkedIn’s Best of 2014 for inspiration:
Generate brand and product awareness
In addition to being the most effective social media platform for B2B professionals (source), LinkedIn offers insightful analytics with which to measure the impact of product and service campaigns and the awareness generated within a targeted and interested audience.
Analytics enables you to see exactly who is interested, where they are located, and who is recommending you. The overall follower and visitor statistics provide an invaluable method of easily forming prospective client profiles as data is segmented by industry, professional function (sales, research, IT, etc.), location and company.
You can add Showcase Pages to literally show off your products and services, to your LinkedIn company page, as well as track page views and unique visitors on these focused pages too. LinkedIn analytics also evaluates clicks on your products or services.
LinkedIn also offers an advertising programme which is driven by a bidding system, in much the same way as Google paid search ads. Simply write a headline, add some copy and create a destination link. Then you bid on how much you will pay LinkedIn every time someone clicks on the ad. It is therefore easy to measure your client conversion rate against investment.
Rules of engagement
Once you see who has viewed your own profile, you can engage with them directly via an InMail message, which offers a quick and easy way to stay in the minds of your network connections.
You can use LinkedIn as a CRM by syncing your own contacts into your LinkedIn Connections via Gmail, Yahoo, Google, etc. andzs tagging your network, keeping valuable notes on your contacts, as well as creating reminders to keep in touch with your connections.
However, from experience one of the best ways to find and communicate with the right prospects is viaLinkedIn Groups. There are over two million groups on LinkedIn, however be careful as to which you join because as a free member you are limited to just 50 groups. It is easy to expand your reach on LinkedIn and network beyond the obvious in your industry, and the best way to do this is to join Groups.
And finally, create engaging updates and be active on your company page
Since your company page news and blog posts can be spread more virally on LinkedIn, there is even more reason to be active in this business community. As well as using LinkedIn to generate blog ideas and share industry news, you can also publish your blog posts via LinkedIn Pulse which also presents reader analytics.
As LinkedIn is used by business professionals, the best times to post, share and publish are generally weekdays during business hours (source) or more specifically on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 7am-8am, 10am-11am and 5pm-6pm (source).
We believe there is no better or further reaching way to connect with other businesses and generate new, targeted business prospects than through the LinkedIn network.
Image source: Google Maps Street View of LinkedIn HQ offices at 2029 Stierlin Ct, Mountain View, CA 94043, USA (view on Google Maps).