With a whopping 500 million members across the globe, at least half of whom are active users, LinkedIn is currently the world’s most popular platform for organizations and job-seekers alike. It takes the best of what social media has to offer and adds a twist of business networking, making it the place to see and be seen.
LinkedIn gives its users an easy way to network with people within and outside their industry. So obviously, it’s a vital tool in your arsenal if you’re looking for a job. But what about companies themselves? Don’t worry! The platform’s got you covered too, whether you’re aiming at lead generation, thought leadership, or simply attracting the right talent!
But before we dive in, let’s decode the LinkedIn lingo — after all, the more you know, the easier navigation will be!
Demystifying the Lingo
Like most social networks, LinkedIn allows you to create a private or public profile that you can use to highlight academic and professional achievements and industry-relevant details. This then allows you to engage with your connections — people you know personally and have added to your network.
Next, you can leverage these contacts to reach out to second and third-degree connections. For instance, if you are connected to person X, their friend Y would be a second-degree connection, and Y’s friend Z becomes a third-degree connection. And just like in the real world, you can use LinkedIn to make and receive introductions — you can either introduce two people that you know, or be introduced to a someone through one of your connections. Whatever the case, you and your business will be building valuable relationships and developing a potential customer base!
What’s great is that LinkedIn also helps you build credibility through skill endorsements and recommendations. While the former is simply an acknowledgement that a skill you’ve mentioned is something you’re good at, a recommendation is a written testimonial that can add immense value to your profile.
And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Once you’ve set up a page, you can use it in multiple ways. The simplest is posting content on your wall — personal musings, photos and videos, or links to articles you find interesting. If you’re looking to reach a wider target audience, you can even run a few ads aimed at specific segments.
Another great way to interact with a wider network is by joining groups that are relevant to your industry. You can choose to be a fly on the wall and absorb what’s being discussed, or contribute by leaving comments or sharing resources. This is a great way to establish yourself as an expert in the field, or understand what the market is saying. Having access to real inputs is priceless — and who knows, you might just be able to come up with a whole new marketing strategy in the process.
Finally (or maybe this should be your first step) select the kind of account that works best for you. While the Basic Account is feature-packed, the Premium Accounts offer additional benefits that help organizations maximize their usage. Both offer messaging, profile creation, and networking options, but the paid subscription is divided into Job Seeker, Sales Navigator, Recruiter Lite, and Business Plus profiles, each with customized set of options to get more out of your buck.
Demystifying the Usage
LinkedIn is known as the place to make connections, expand your network, and perhaps find a job — but it’s much more than that. Just like professionals who use it to build a virtual persona, organizations can also use the platform to create an online identity, simplify recruitment, and even check out their competition. So, let’s look at what you can do as a company to optimize your presence on LinkedIn:
Grow Your Online Presence
Nearly everyone now has access to the internet — and almost every client, job-seeker, or investor does a quick Google search when they first hear of your product or company. So, a robust online presence is crucial to your business, especially if you want to project yourself as an industry leader. While Facebook, Instagram, and other social sites are a great way to interact with potential customers, LinkedIn is where you share industry news, insights, and scholarly articles that help establish your thought leadership. How your organization presents itself on this platform will help develop your brand voice and express your corporate identity.
Find the Best People
What better place than a professional networking site to find your next great team member, right? LinkedIn makes the process of job-hunting much easier for employees, which also means that recruitment is simplified. You can make use of LinkedIn’s recruiter features to post ads for open positions, filter people by specific parameters, and even vet them beforehand by skimming through their profile. In addition, just a simple post to your network can yield dozens of recommendations, if not more.
Check Out Competitors and Clients
Another great way to use LinkedIn is to see what other businesses are doing. You could assess current or potential clients to see if their goals and needs align with your company. Take it a step further by using your connections to reach out to people or organizations — you can very quickly and easily expand your network of partners, collaborators, and vendors.
Demystifying the How, What, and Why
So you’ve got your account and you’re networking as much as you can, but what’s next? Like with any social media platform, there are some practices that power-users know about that help them stay ahead of the curve. Here are some basics to keep in mind, no matter what your end-goal is:
Pro Tip #1: Keep it professional
LinkedIn is primarily a site full of professionals. So it might be tempting to share pictures of your recent work-trip, but unless it adds value to what you do, it’s probably smarter to save it for Facebook.
Pro Tip #2: Keep it relevant
LinkedIn is a part of your brand as much as anything else. That’s why, it’s important to keep your communication consistent. A good way to filter your content is by asking if your company would say or do something similar at an industry event.
Pro Tip #3: Keep it interesting
Let’s face it — there’s sometimes way too much to keep track of, whatever platform you’re on. To truly stand out from the crowd, whatever you share should be catchy, unique, or important enough to grab attention.
Ultimately, however you choose to use it, LinkedIn is a great platform — users can learn new things, attend virtual sessions, or brainstorm on groups. So, go ahead, use LinkedIn to take your career or company to the next level!