How to Assess if Your Business Needs LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a powerful tool for business, especially if you have a business to business focus (B2B). The 2017 Sensis Social Media Report, an Australian resource, provides user statistics for the main social media platforms and LinkedIn. Importantly, this report found that LinkedIn is the second most popular platform (after Facebook), used by a majority of large businesses (82%), 41% of medium size businesses and 35% of small businesses.
If you have a business to consumer focus (B2C) social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram may be more relevant to reach your end consumers. However LinkedIn can still play a role in helping you learn from others in the same industry, both in Australia and beyond. LinkedIn can also be of benefit if you are wishing to target influencers in your industry, and they spend time on LinkedIn.
1. Is Your Ideal Client on LinkedIn?
Understanding whether your target market is on LinkedIn should be your first consideration when deciding what role LinkedIn can play. The following user information and the 2017 Sensis Social Media Report will help you decide if your business and client community is on LinkedIn.
- LinkedIn is used by 41% of medium sized and 82% of large sized Australian businesses
- LinkedIn usage remains higher among males, those working full-time and higher income earners, as well as those in the 30-64 age bracket
- The reason users are on LinkedIn because it is appealing for networking and business opportunities
With a paid premium membership you can also do advanced searches on LinkedIn based on people’s role type, location and company size.
2. Who Are You Trying to Influence on LinkedIn?
If you are clear about who you are trying to influence on LinkedIn, then your time on LinkedIn will be better spent when you refresh your profile for your ideal client. When a colleague, friend or happy client refers you or mentions your name, one of the first things a potential client will do is enter your name into their search engine. Here’s your opportunity to control the information they can find and ensure you are presenting the best professional version of you and your business via LinkedIn. Many people make the mistake of writing their profile like a resume. I suggest you treat your profile as an opportunity to share your story, explain why you do what you do and demonstrate how you add value to (or the problems you solve for) your ideal client.
You may also like to consider the role of publishing on LinkedIn, via your LinkedIn Profile. These are now called LinkedIn Articles and have caught the attention of marketers with how often they are shared. BuzzSumo analysed 228,000 natively published LinkedIn articles and 136,000 shared articles from other websites that were posted between 2012 and 2017. The results show that the subject matter of the best-performing articles centred around a set of specialised “5Ps”: personal, professional, practical, portraying (a path for change), and point (towards past experiences). Social Media Examiner reported here that LinkedIn was the primary platform for these topics.
You may also like to consider the role of a Company Page, which enables you to feature your organisation’s logo on your LinkedIn Profile (in the experience section) and claim your real estate on LinkedIn. This is particularly important if you are wishing to influence larger organisations who want to research your organisation and your team. LinkedIn members can follow your LinkedIn Company Page and you can post value adding updates and news that LinkedIn members can like, comment on or share.
3. Are You Leveraging Referrals and Collaborations?
A significant percentage of the new enquiries my business receives comes from previous colleagues or clients who engage with my updates via LinkedIn. With a focus on providing value adding content on LinkedIn via the content I like and comment on, and the LinkedIn Articles I publish, I ensure I stay ‘top of mind’ with my connections. My goal is that when someone is talking about improving their LinkedIn presence and results, my connections will recommend or suggest me.
It is short sighted to just use LinkedIn to target clients. It can be so much more. Think laterally and consider who you are connected to, who you know (and should send a connection request to, assuming you feel confident about your profile) and who would refer your services. Also consider the opportunity for collaborations.
Updated September 2017