Through active LinkedIn participation, there are tremendous opportunities to improve your company’s reach and influence. In addition, LinkedIn can be an excellent outlet for lead generation.
Following is a six-step corporate LinkedIn Strategy that contains techniques and recommendations on how your business can effectively leverage LinkedIn to:
- Build brand awareness.
- Establish company representatives as industry experts.
- Connect with prospects, customers, vendor partners and peers.
- Drive leads and sales.
The Strategy assumes that your business already has a presence on LinkedIn — including a business profile that is linked to individual employee profiles — and that you are seeking ways to enhance your visibility on the site through ongoing monitoring and increased participation.
Step 1: Identify Buyer Personas and Conversations
In order to achieve the above objectives, it is important to identify the buyer personas with whom your company is looking to connect, and then determine if, and where, they are active on LinkedIn. Do some preliminary LinkedIn Answers and Group searches to see if your target audiences are active on LinkedIn prior to diving in. At this time, flag any relevant conversations or groups to share with your team. Note: It may be helpful to create an Excel document that lists potential groups with descriptions, links and notes to reference later.
Step 2: Benchmark Current Site Activity
By benchmarking your LinkedIn presence, you’ll be able to evaluate the success of your campaign on an ongoing basis. Consider tracking data such as referring traffic, employee connections and recommendations, and participation levels (i.e. how often employees are engaging in relevant conversations).
Step 3: Select Employees to Lead Participation
Designate a few employees to be internal LinkedIn champions. To be most effective, these individuals should be social-network savvy; knowledgeable about your products, services and brand messaging; and have a desire to engage with target audiences.
Participants should also have the time availability each week to respond to LinkedIn discussions and questions relating to their areas of expertise. Note: See Step 5 for tips on how to alleviate some of the time commitment required from individuals.
Step 4: Have Employees Optimize Their Profiles
Encourage your employees to optimize their profiles. Be sure that all individual profiles are completely filled out — including the Summary, Specialties and Job Position sections — with keyword-rich descriptions. Also, include links to Twitter profiles, as well as optimized links to your company website and blog, if applicable. See our blog post “Six Tips for Maximizing Your LinkedIn Profile” for some best practices.
Step 5: Set Up a Monitoring System
LinkedIn Answers and Groups provide the most opportunities to connect with prospects, customers, vendor partners and peers. For this reason, it’s important to monitor these sections on a regular basis, and contribute meaningfully to discussions.
When commenting, it is perfectly acceptable to share relevant blog posts and content pieces your company created. However, aim to be helpful and not overly self-promotional, and abide by group rules. To simplify the monitoring process, and alleviate the time commitment needed for each person, consider:
- Designating one person to monitor and distribute opportunities to other team members. This saves time since only one person is monitoring instead of multiple. The monitor can then email relevant commenting opportunities to team members based on each individual’s core competencies/expertise.
- Incorporating LinkedIn Answer searches into your RSS feed readers.
- Using a social-media monitoring tool, such as HubSpot, Radian6 or ScoutLabs.
- Having each person choose 3-5 groups that they will receive email updates for, and contribute to, on a regular basis.
Step 6: Participate & Engage in Conversations
On an ongoing basis, encourage employees to actively participate in priority groups and respond to relevant LinkedIn Answers queries. In addition, employees should update their LinkedIn statuses often. This increases their visibility on the site by ensuring that they appear more often on their connections’ home page feeds. Note: By integrating your Twitter account with LinkedIn, Tweets that contain #in will automatically be posted to your LinkedIn account.
Employees should also be encouraged to proactively request connections with business contacts, and to continuously work to nurture those relationships. Some tips include: passing along relevant content via status updates and individual messages, and connecting like-minded individuals when appropriate.
In what ways have you leveraged LinkedIn to increase your visibility in the industry, connect with target audiences and generate leads?
Tracy DiMarino is an associate consultant at PR 20/20, a Cleveland-based inbound marketing agency and PR firm. Follow Tracy on Twitter @TracyDiMarino.
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