But folks, there’s more to social media than just Facebook. If you’re a serious B2B marketer, your best buddy would probably be LinkedIn.
I am very passionate about LinkedIn. For the four years that I have been actively using the site, I have done business with digital marketing companies in a number of different countries.
If you are new to LinkedIn, or you haven’t yet considered using it as part of your marketing strategy, here are some tips for using LinkedIn to build an online business.
Create a profile that’s optimized for search
First, you need to create a complete and highly descriptive LinkedIn profile. Don’t open one just for the sake of doing so.
Your LinkedIn profile should tell people about your various kinds of expertise, including all the things you are highly capable at as well as your professional background. You need to write a keyword-rich description about yourself on LinkedIn so you and your business become more visible in search.
If you have been on LinkedIn for a while, there is no reason why your LinkedIn profile should not be one of the top results when you Google your name.
Also, once you’ve fully optimized your profile, people who use LinkedIn’s search feature will have an easy time finding you. One of the great things I like about LinkedIn’s search feature is that it’s far more customizable than the search function on most other social networking sites.
Keyword-optimize your headline
Your LinkedIn headline is your personal tag line. It appears directly below your name. So it’s a perfect opportunity to highlight your skills.
When you compose a headline, make sure you include the keyword you would most like to appear in a search. For example, if you are a copywriter, create a headline such as “Providing Businesses with Effective Copywriting Services for Better Conversion.”
By placing descriptive and engaging headlines that are keyword-optimized at the top of your profile, you’ll increase your chances of getting noticed by prospective clients.
Add your offline contacts to your LinkedIn contacts
I like to think of LinkedIn as an online Rolodex. It conveniently places my business contacts in one place. That’s why I urge you to add all your offline business contacts to your LinkedIn network. If they are not yet on LinkedIn, invite any of the ones for which you have an email address.
Tag all your skills and expertise
While tagging your skills and expertise does not appear to make a significant difference for LinkedIn search at the present time, this might well be the case in the future, once this feature moves out of beta.
For the time being, you should regard tags as additional information that may prove useful for someone who happens across your LinkedIn profile. This is one of the LinkedIn features I truly appreciate and find most useful. By tagging all your skills and expertise, you make it easy for LinkedIn to include you in their search results when people look for someone with your skills set.
Also, it’s very easy to recommend someone with tagged expertise and skills. It offers a great opportunity for them to return the favor after you’ve recommended them for their skills. You can tag up to 50 skills and areas of expertise on your profile.
Use LinkedIn as a backlinking tool
LinkedIn is an excellent backlinking tool. As a site that enjoys a high level of ranking and authority, it’s an ideal place to put links to your sites.
LinkedIn allows you to use anchor texts to link to your company website, your blog, and even your YouTube channel. If you take advantage of this feature, you will enhance your search rankings, both on LinkedIn and on the search engines.
Put a face on that profile to make it more personal
As is the case in the real world, people love to deal with people. Online, it can be difficult to relate to others, even in a business sense, if you never see their faces. That’s why it’s very much in your interests to include a professional mug shot in your profile. This enables other people to connect with and do business with you more comfortably.
Customize your message when adding a connection
Personalize your message every time you send an invite to connect on LinkedIn. Don’t just use LinkedIn’s default invite message. Acknowledge the person’s name and state how you are acquainted and why you want to connect with him or her on LinkedIn.
Acknowledge new connections by sending a thank-you message
Each time someone connects with me or accepts my invitation to connect, I take the extra step of thanking the person for allowing me to become part of their professional network on LinkedIn. Very few people on LinkedIn make a point of doing this.
By acknowledging your new connection, you create an opening to start a conversation and build a great working relationship with the individual.
Include a video to make your profile more engaging
There are two ways to include a video presentation in your LinkedIn profile. You can use SlideShare or Google Presentations. Featuring a video not only makes your profile more eye-catching, it also enhances your online personality.
Filter connections by tagging them
By tagging your connections, you organize them so they’re much easier to find when you want to share useful information with them. This serves the goal of building better relationships with your connections.
Constantly share useful information
This one I can’t stress enough. By regularly providing useful information on your profile, you supply value to your network. And each time you post something on your profile, you automatically appear on your network’s timeline, which makes them think of you and your business.
If you want to remind people of your existence, however, make sure it’s always in a positive way. In other words, try to avoid bombarding your connections with promotions. Make yourself useful to them all the time by sharing information that is apt to matter to them.
LinkedIn’s rising stock price and increasing number of users indicate that it’s here to stay. The odds are, it’s going to get even better in the future by offering more tools to help businesses grow. Start using LinkedIn today if you’re not already on board.