Facebook and Twitter are often considered prime real estate amongst the vast wilderness that makes up our social media landscape. It’s easy to see why – they have the largest reach with Facebook boasting 1.1 billion (yes, with a ‘B’) active users, and 243 million monthly active users for Twitter. Undoubtedly, Facebook and Twitter can be powerful marketing tools; however, there is an easier way for businesses to pinpoint their desired target audiences. Businesses looking for a social media platform where important information won’t be sandwiched between drunken selfies and adorable cat pictures need to look no further. Cue LinkedIn – a social media platform for professionals seeking to share ideas, conduct business, and network with other professionals.
Online advertising has advanced leaps and bounds in the past few years with targeted advertising. Unfortunately, these techniques are far from perfect. When advertising with Facebook and Twitter, marketers often are forced to take a shotgun approach, exposing their advertisements to consumers that often don’t care about their products or services. Contrary to what the internet thinks, I’m not seeking single ladies in my area, and I’m definitely not interested in increasing my muscle mass with black market steroids. Demographically speaking, LinkedIn has a leg up on both Facebook and Twitter; with 277 million active users, 77% of LinkedIn users are age 25 and above, with an average household income of $109,000. Those actively engaged on LinkedIn are known to be particularly committed to their jobs, industry, and social network. With conversations and content geared towards cultivating partnerships and advancing businesses, it’s much easier for your message to reach your desired audience with LinkedIn.
- Connections – I’ve heard arguments for and against sending and receiving anonymous or vague connection requests on LinkedIn. Expanding your network is never bad, but I err on the side of caution by recommending users only connect with individuals they would be comfortable recommending for employment. LinkedIn is often seen as a smaller social network where professionalism is key; be careful who you associate yourself with, because it may come back to bite you in the future.
- Customized URLs – Customizing your profile’s LinkedIn URL can be useful when directing potential clients or employers to your LinkedIn page. Custom URLs are also more easily applied to job applications, business cards, or described in conversation. Having a custom URL also makes your profile more easily found during a LinkedIn Search.
- Write recommendations – Endorsements are easy; most people hand them out like candy. On the other hand, writing a thoughtful recommendation for one of your connections could result a job offer or promotion. Nobody writing you recommendations? You might be surprised how often people are willing to return the favor after you have written a few.
- Join groups and facilitate discussions – Joining groups you’re interested in is a great way to learn more about specific companies, industries, and keep up with current trends. You’re more ambitious than that, though, right? You have fire in your belly! You want to get noticed! After joining some groups, engage other members by adding your two cents, asking insightful questions, and even contributing information of your own. Posting recent articles in groups will garner attention from potential clients, colleagues, or employers.
- Create a company profile – LinkedIn offers company profiles that are perfect for professionally representing your company. Company pages allow businesses to display their products, services, and career opportunities. Those active on LinkedIn are the often passionate about their industry, and most poised to become successful business leaders. Don’t you want someone like that working for your company?
- LinkedIn Search Optimization – Adding consistent keywords to your profile will boost your rankings whenever anyone searches LinkedIn. Seeking a job in a specific field? Make sure you add those words to your profile’s headline, summary, specialties, and present/past work experience (if applicable).
- Add Applications – Applications such as WordPress, and SlideShare allow you to spice up your profile with original content from your blog, or past presentations you’ve created. Amazon’s Reading List app allows you to see what your connections are reading, which may give you insight into their success.
These are just a few tips I’ve learned throughout the past couple of years. LinkedIn can be a very powerful tool for not only job-seekers, but anyone looking to diversify and develop their personal networks. Learning how to market yourself or your business can be an extremely beneficial skill, and LinkedIn should be one of the go-to weapons in your arsenal.