Some people call LinkedIn their digital Rolodex, which it can be, but it offers much more. It can also be a tool to help you form business partnerships, research trends, ask questions, form and join groups, follow discussions, and show thought leadership.
As a company, you can set up a corporate page, which details the organization, including location, employees and website. By starting a group, you can invite people to join, start conversations, and build a community with your audience. As an individual, you can build your personal profile and become part of groups or associations. Why is all of this important? Like Twitter and Facebook, LinkedIn is yet another way to connect with your audience on multiple levels.
Here are some tips to getting started:
Corporate Page – When developing the company profile, there are a few critical elements. Make sure that the description is clear and to-the-point. Add a logo and specify an industry, which will help you be found. Also, add various specialties that will help differentiate what the company does in the industry.
Personal Pages – The most important thing to remember on the personal page is to have employees specify where they work and add the company website address. This will help SEO (search engine optimization) of the corporate website, because the more links that reference it, the better the ranking will be.
Build Community – After you have set up your personal page, you must begin to network. Find and invite current and past colleagues, current and potential clients, schoolmates, and other professionals to be in your network. Research groups and associations that you would like to join, then become part of the conversation and add value.
There are multiple ways to utilize LinkedIn, but more importantly, it can help a company reach and communicate with new audiences. Just like Twitter and Facebook, it can help open the door to new communication and greater business opportunities. As you move forward into planning your marketing communications plan for 2010, don’t leave out social media – use it as a tool to accomplish your business goals.