Why Businesses Should Use LinkedIn

  • 28 Mar, 2013
  • Jon Tucker

In today’s business environment, implementing a social media strategy into your business is no longer a question of if you should do it, but how.

Choosing the right social media websites (i.e. Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.) for your company’s social efforts is key in ensuring your resources are not wasted.

When to Use LinkedIn

Typically Facebook and Twitter are used by companies focused on reaching the typical consumer markets while LinkedIn is used to reach professionals and business to business customers. This is no accident – LinkedIn is, by design, more effective at providing connections between businesses.

Let’s take a look at some of the ways in which LinkedIn is superior to other social media channels when it comes to business to business relationships:

Specific Information to Identify and Evaluate Leads

While, Facebook provides a relatively small amount of information about a prospective business client, LinkedIn includes all sorts of content that’s useful for reaching out to businesses.

  • Business credentials, such as title, are shown on the profile page. This is really helpful in seeking out specific levels of contacts within a company (i.e. Director-level rather than entry level employees).
  • Recommendations from other businesses provide insights into the company and its existing B2B relationships. This can uncover mutual relationships that this company has that you may be able to tap into (i.e. they may already be in business with a company that you do business with).
  • Connections you have to company employees, either directly or indirectly, are also shown. For example, you may realize that a close associate of yours on LinkedIn is already connected to an employee of the company LinkedIn – this is a great way to get introductions through mutual relationships. It’s the online equivalent of asking “do you know anyone at company XYZ?”.

This information is a goldmine if you take the time to get familiar with it.

×These LinkedIn strategies are a small piece of the puzzle to market your business successfully. To get a list of specific opportunities to grow your business, click here.

LinkedIn Groups – The Online Equivalent of Industry Events

Industry events have long been a great way to meet contacts in the industry that you may eventually do business with. The problem with events is that they’re sometimes expensive and take lots of time out of your work schedule to attend. LinkedIn groups are the online equivalent of online events – and they’re free and easy to get involved with.

An easy way to use LinkedIn to begin building connections is to locate groups based on geography and industry. For example, if you’re in the hotel supplies business you can find a group of manufacturers serving the hospitality industry or even a hospitality industry group and join it.

Once you’re in a group, you can:

  • Engage in discussions happening within the group. For example, maybe someone is asking a question that you can provide a great answer for – this is similar to the conversations that happen at industry events.
  • “Connect” on LinkedIn with group members you start to converse with. This helps you expand your network on LinkedIn, which can lead to introductions to others in the industry. This is similar to keeping in touch with people you meet at industry events that can eventually lead to business opportunities in the future.

Participating in LinkedIn groups is a great way to stay active in your industry with no cost and a low time investment. That’s not to say you shouldn’t attend industry events anymore, but it’s definitely something you can do more frequently than attending tradeshows.

Showcase Your Credibility with Recommendations

People do business with people they trust. This trust is usually built in the form of referrals from mutual friends, or through references from other companies that you’ve done business with.

LinkedIn enables people to “recommend” each other on their LinkedIn profiles.

  • For example, if you worked closely with someone at a past company or your current company, you could share the positive experience in a recommendation on each other’s profiles.
  • This will then be showcased to anyone that views your profile or theirs in the future.

By asking just a few of your close associates for recommendations on LinkedIn, you can showcase your credibility that will help you in forming relationships with new contacts.

Share Current News and Helpful Insight with Status Updates

Sharing information and insight with others in the industry is a great way to build trust – if you share something that helps someone else’s business, this is a win for them and a win for you since it costs you nothing to share the insight.

A status update is essentially a way to share short bits of information with anyone that is connected with you on LinkedIn.

  • For example, sharing helpful articles and blog posts that you’ve found or industry news is ideal.
  • This shows that you’re “in the know” in the industry and not blatantly self-promoting while still keeping connected with your LinkedIn network.

Once you’ve setup your LinkedIn profile, you can consistently share a few updates per week to have a steady stream of helpful information flowing from you to the industry.

LinkedIn is the Industry Standard for B2B

LinkedIn is one of the fastest growing social media networks of our time. It has quickly become the industry standard for business networking online.

  • Business people are familiar with LinkedIn and likely already on LinkedIn
  • Some industries, such as high-tech and finance, are well-represented on LinkedIn already – in short, they’re extremely well known in some industries. Other industries will follow suit in the coming months and years.
  • The network is growing rapidly – at the moment, there are 175 million members worldwide. It has the highest concentration of educated professionals, including everyone from top level executives to entry level employees.

LinkedIn is a powerful tool in the hands of a B2B marketer. That doesn’t mean your company should use LinkedIn to the exclusion of other social media, or that you shouldn’t explore ways you can integrate other social media sites into your overall strategy. But it does mean is that LinkedIn should be at the center of your B2B marketing strategy, and your other efforts should complement what you’re doing on LinkedIn.

×These LinkedIn strategies are a small piece of the puzzle to market your business successfully. To get a list of specific opportunities to grow your business, click here.

[IMAGE LICENSE: Creative Commons – see image link above]

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