FLGOVCON 09 - LinkedIn Benefits for Your Business - Solvability
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How you can use LinkedIn to move your business forward!

Now one of the things you may be asking yourself, especially as a small business owner is “Do I really want to invest time or money on LinkedIn?”. Well here is some food for thought while you are thinking about it.

LinkedIn is the number 1 network for business professionals in the world.

And talk about investing in something you believe in! Microsoft, one of the biggest and most well know companies out there believes in LinkedIn so much that they decided to purchase LinkedIn back in June. This 26.2 billion dollar acquisition is the largest acquisition in Microsoft’s history and way above what they usually pay for an acquisition!

I think that right there alone should let you know LinkedIn is good for business!

The LinkedIn brand and CEO are going to stay in place but we should start seeing some great integration between Microsoft Office and LinkedIn in the future. Microsoft wants to combine some of the best business tools with the best business network.

And by the way, before this acquisition happened LinkedIn bought Lynda.com. LinkedIn is now more than just the top business network in the world. They have become an online education and training center. I have a feeling Microsoft is going to leverage that as well!

So let’s get into the details on how LinkedIn can help your business!

One of the most important things you always hear is you must have a strong personal brand. You probably already have a great LinkedIn profile with a great picture, and lots of great details about yourself. Well LinkedIn gives you the ability to do this same thing for your business with a company page. Having a company page will help you grow your business brand, allow people to follow your business, and give you a place to connect with customers and job seekers.

On your company page there is a section to tell people about your company. Underneath that is an updates section where all your updates are listed. You can even pin an update so the most exciting or recent news about your company is at the top of your updates section. Remember to give value to your followers when you put a new update on your company page. Make the update interesting and catch their eye with an image, ask a thought provoking question, or use an update as a call to action for your followers by adding a link.

Also when adding a new update you have the option to make it a targeted update. This allows you to specific address followers of a particular company size, in a specific location, etc.

Another option when it comes to updates for your company is Sponsored Updates. With Sponsored Updates you reach beyond your company page followers or personal connections and get your message out to a much larger LinkedIn audience. Sponsored Updates are a premium feature.

You can add a career page to your company page where you can put videos, testimonials, and jobs.

You can add showcase pages to highlight a business unit, services or training, or an initiative like veteran hiring. Each page can have its own message and content. Links to all of your showcase pages are in the right column of your company page.

As a company page admin you will see links to analytics and notifications at the top of your company page where you can go to see how well your company page is doing. There is also an admin center link at the top of your company page where you can go to easily add some of these things we are talking about like career pages or showcase pages.

Ok so we have covered the company page which is essential for representing your business on LinkedIn. Now let’s talk about some of the other things LinkedIn offers to help you with business success.

LinkedIn groups is an excellent way to engage and interact with people directly and get immediate feedback. You can build a community, share ideas, have discussions about things that matter with you community.

I give you a really great example of the power of LinkedIn groups with a personal example.

So there are great benefits from LinkedIn groups and networking within them. Now I work with small businesses and veterans to try and help them make a connection. I show businesses how to find veterans with the skills they need. I also volunteer each month with Project Transition USA to train transitioning veterans.

LinkedIn groups allows you to message people that you are not connected to if you go to group members and do it from there. Another advantage of groups is that every update you put in your group has an opportunity to also be emailed to the group members. In business they say that if you want to grow your business then grow your email list. Well if you have an engaging LinkedIn group with lots of members then you also have a big email list. Members by default get emailed when an update is made to a group. More advanced users may go into settings and turn off getting these emails for some or all groups.

There are standard and unlisted groups so when you create a group you can choose which one you want. In general most people choose standard so you group can be found while searching LinkedIn. If you have a top secret project or maybe a mastermind and unlisted group might come in handy.

I mentioned messaging group members and you also know you can message your contacts. Well outside of your groups and contacts reaching out to someone on LinkedIn is a little different. LinkedIn’s method for messaging someone you are not connected to is called InMail. With LinkedIn’s free membership you get like 5 InMails per month. You can get more with a premium membership. Another option to consider for your business when connecting with people you do not know is Sponsored InMails. With Sponsored InMails you get better interaction with people you’re targeting. Sponsored InMails only get delivered when the person you are sending it to is active, it stays at the top of the recipients inbox and it allows for more personalized messages. Sponsored InMails are a premium feature.

Some other tools:

The LinkedIn Sales Navigator has a sophisticated algorithm to give you lead recommendations that are tailored to you as well as insights into your leads with real time updates to let you know when to reach out. With their Sales Navigator Team you additionally are able to Unlock full profiles for leads who aren’t in your network and access your teammates LinkedIn networks with TeamLink. The LinkedIn Sales Navigator and LinkedIn Sales Navigator Team are both premium products that come at an additional price.

LinkedIn Elevate is an employee advocacy platform that can help your companies employees become social professionals and enhance their social selling efforts by helping them engage your target audience. It also allows them to easily share to Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Elevate provides you the ability to track your KPI’s. This is also a premium product that come at an additional price.

Another premium product LinkedIn Talent Solutions offers the complete LinkedIn recruiting solution. It is made up of several different pieces.

LinkedIn Recruiter which is the flagship tool and behind at least half of the revenue of LinkedIn. A very powerful tool that enables you to view and contact anyone on LinkedIn, search for talent, and save your best candidates.

Job Slots automatically recommends job posts to LinkedIn members with the skills and expertise you need so you get more relevant applicants. Job slot listings can be featured on the jobs homepage, on your company’s career page and as a “Job you might be interested in” to passive candidates.

Work With Us Ads are ads that invite targeted candidates to view your job listings on LinkedIn. They put job ads right on your employees LinkedIn profiles.

LinkedIn Referrals matches your employees first degree connections to open roles in your applicant tracking system.

It gives your employees a referral tool that works for them. It suggests connections for the right open roles, helps them share jobs, and keeps them up to date through the entire hiring process.

They also have Recruiter Lite and Job Posts which are slimmed down tools for a cheaper price that still give you the functionality you need to find top talent.

I mentioned Work With Us Ads as part of LinkedIn Talent Solutions. Well outside of LinkedIn Talent Solutions you can still do advertising with LinkedIn. LinkedIn offers promotional, text, and display advertising. Promotional and text ads enable you to target specific audiences. Promotional ads appear on your targeted audience’s home page news feed. Text ads are like Google pay-per-click advertising where you set a bid and a budget per advertisement. Display Advertising can be used to reach audiences both on and off LinkedIn. Advertising costs vary.

A last thing worth mentioning is LinkedIn mobile apps. In today’s world staying on top of technology also means becoming one with mobile apps so you are capable of business no matter where you are. Well LinkedIn sure has you covered when it comes to mobile apps. To mention a few:

The LinkedIn Mobile App, essential for you to keep up to date with what’s happening in your network.

The LinkedIn Groups App enables you to view and interact the with LinkedIn groups you are a member of.

The LinkedIn SlideShare App allows you to access presentations and infographics. Great for research or getting up to speed on a subject.

A few LinkedIn Premium Mobile Apps are the LinkedIn Recruiter App, the LinkedIn Sales Navigator App, and the LinkedIn Elevate App.

Not all of these apps are available for every mobile phone platform so you will have to check for the ones you are interested in.

LinkedIn has a special website for small businesses. It has tips on establishing your brand, connecting, and engaging prospects. The website is https://smallbusiness.linkedin.com/

I hope that you have enjoyed this podcast and I hope you enjoy this series. It will be published every Friday at noon.

So if you are a business and you do not already have a company page take action and go create one today!