Harnessing LinkedIn to drive business prosperity

Gary Epstein, Managing Director at EasyBiz Technologies, delves into how SMEs can harness the power of LinkedIn to drive business marketing, sales, and overall prosperity.

As the global business landscape has quickly shifted to the digital realm, SMEs must harness the potential of social media to attract and interact with potential customers as well as drive business awareness, growth and sales.

As the world’s largest professional network, LinkedIn has become the go-to platform for business networking. Many, however, may not know the true potential that LinkedIn holds in uncovering potential leads. Here are a few tips to get started and to make the platform effective for you and your business:

Refined profiles
As with all things in life, first impressions are crucial. While this understanding is relevant for personal profiles, the same can be said for a LinkedIn business profile. To this end, a business profile must be complete, engaging and up-to-date to improve contact rate and overall perception of the business. This idea is further bolstered by research indicating that complete profiles garner up to 30% more views, and improve ranking across both Google and LinkedIn search results.

Making the right connection
No one logs onto social media platforms to be bombarded with sales pitches. Instead, businesses should look to creating meaningful and relevant connections which will potentially translate into high-quality leads. Aptly referred to as ‘social selling’, research by LinkedIn estimates that social selling leaders enjoy 45% more sales opportunities per quarter. Businesses can do so by finding new leads through commonalities and posting relevant and quality content that generates conversations and entices the leads to find out more.

Quality above all else
Rather than simply pushing traffic to their sites, businesses can utilise LinkedIn as a publishing platform to drive social engagement and create brand awareness. It’s imperative to publish quality content, especially considering that as many as 45% of LinkedIn article readers are in upper-level positions.

Playing by the rules of the algorithm
While connections are notified each time an article is published, businesses must be aware of LinkedIn’s algorithm to ensure that content is seen by the right people. The algorithm segments content as either spam, low or high quality, all of which dictate the contents reach and audience. To reach preferred audiences – content must be well written, grammatically correct, incorporate fewer links, and not use hashtags such as “follow”, “comment” or “like”. Adding to this, businesses should not tag more than five people and be sure not to post more than every three hours. More factors to keep in mind is to tag only the people businesses know will respond and interact with the content; go niche on a topic instead of broad; make use of strong keywords, don’t use outbound links and instead place them in the comments; and post content that encourages a response.

Interacting with content
While LinkedIn may be the ideal publishing platform, posting content alone is not enough. To build meaningful connections, it is essential to interact with other content creators and businesses by thoughtfully commenting on content and asking questions to spark discussions. This extends to answering questions and comments when posting your own content.

Driving online reputation management
As the first rule for online reputation management, it is essential to claim all available profiles across all social media platforms that are available for your business name – even if you don’t plan to be active on them. This is key as social media profiles, including those found on LinkedIn, almost always appear on the first page of a search engines results page. Claiming valuable positions on the SERP (search engine results page) is crucial in building up SERP real estate. To this end, any potential negative publicity may be pushed to page two instead of appearing on the first page, and in the faces of potential customers.

Attracting new talent
LinkedIn’s premium subscriptions make finding new talent an easy task. The platform’s Recruiter Lite plan not only provides a cost-effective method of recruiting potential personnel, but allows businesses to post job openings. Further, businesses can send as many as 30 direct LinkedIn messages to potential talent, use advanced search options to find exactly what skills the business is looking to recruit, sort and manage a businesses talent pool, and easily track potential candidates and open roles.

With nearly 740 million members across more than 200 countries worldwide, LinkedIn has the potential for businesses to reach like-minded customers and add their voices to trending conversations in a way that the conventional practices of the past could only dream about.

As SMEs and accountants quickly transition to the digital world by moving online to platforms such as QuickBooks Online, particularly now with remote working as the new norm, marketing across social media platforms such as LinkedIn must become a part of every business’s strategy for future success.

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