As the professional world continues to adopt online networking and information sharing, job seekers and businesses are leveraging LinkedIn, the well-regarded business and employment-focused social media platform. With 50 million weekly personal and professional LinkedIn users, the platform presents opportunities to find jobs, recruit talent, publish and share content, promote products and services, and much more.
We’ll explain how organizations can take full advantage of LinkedIn and share tips for getting the most out of this powerful professional and business platform.
How to use LinkedIn for business
When using LinkedIn to improve your business and build connections, staying true to your brand is crucial. Here’s how to establish a presence on LinkedIn and start using the platform to further your business.
1. Create a LinkedIn company page.
A company page helps potential customers and job candidates learn more about your business, brand, products, services and opportunities. To create a LinkedIn company page, you’ll need a personal LinkedIn account and a verified email address. There’s no charge.
Here’s how to create a company page:
- Visit the LinkedIn page creation page and select Company.
- Enter your company details, including your website, organization size and industry. You’ll also upload a company logo. When you’re finished, select Create Page.
- Share your login information with another employee in case you lose access to the page or leave the company. You should also let other employees know the page is active so they can edit their positions on their personal accounts and add the company page.
2. Create a LinkedIn career page.
It’s challenging to hire employees who fit your company culture and possess the in-demand career skills and appropriate experience you need. LinkedIn career pages allow companies to tell their story so they can attract and retain top talent.
The Life tab gives job seekers an inside look at your company’s culture. This section lets you showcase long-form posts, photo galleries, company leaders, company insights and videos. You can even create multiple versions of the Life tab to target different audiences, such as marketing and IT candidates. Here’s an example from LinkedIn’s own career page:
Note that you must purchase a LinkedIn career page separately; it doesn’t automatically come with a company page.
Job seekers turn to LinkedIn to find promising matches and further their professional development with LinkedIn’s educational resources.
3. Join and create LinkedIn groups.
After creating company and career pages, it’s time to promote your business on LinkedIn. Groups are an excellent promotion resource.
- Create a LinkedIn group. According to Taylor Kincaid, social media director at Online Optimism, one of the best ways to promote your business is to create a LinkedIn group connected to your company page. “A LinkedIn group is a great place to build an engaged community surrounding your business and to grow your online community,” Kincaid advised. To create a LinkedIn group, you’ll enter a group name, location and rules, and set parameters related to discoverability and permissions.
- Join existing LinkedIn groups. You can also join existing LinkedIn groups that fit your interests. For example, you could join a social media marketing group if you run your company’s social media accounts. If you’re an entrepreneur, consider joining entrepreneur-focused LinkedIn groups.
LinkedIn groups – whether you join existing groups or create your own – can help you establish yourself as a thought leader and industry expert while funneling more people to your company’s LinkedIn page. They’re not a place to post ads; instead, share valuable content with people interested in your business and industry.
“Engage your network with insightful comments,” advised Marietta Gentles Crawford, a personal brand strategist. “You always want to add value to your network and focus more on helping others by sharing your expertise.”
When using LinkedIn and other social media platforms for business, use images to boost engagement. For example, post behind-the-scenes photos to offer a glimpse into your company or introduce your employees.
Tips for using your LinkedIn page
Once you’ve created a company page, a career page and a LinkedIn group, use these tools regularly and create content for them. Here are some tips for getting started:
1. Get followers for your LinkedIn page.
Publishing and sharing content is pointless if no one sees it. You should constantly seek new followers on LinkedIn. Post a widget for your LinkedIn page on your business website, add your LinkedIn information to your email signature, and have staff members promote the company page on their personal accounts. You can also put your LinkedIn information on your business cards and social media profiles.
2. Publish and share relevant content via LinkedIn.
As with any successful marketing campaign, you must know your niche audience and what it wants to see on LinkedIn. It’s essential to publish and share content, such as business blog posts, that benefits your followers, not just content that promotes your company.
“Do not be overly self-promotional,” said digital marketing specialist Kyra Mancine. “Only 20 percent of your posts should be sales-driven. You want to provide content that is helpful, informational and interesting. Think about what you like to see in your feed. No one likes to be sold [to] or see commercials all the time.”
Overpromotion is a serious social media pitfall and could cost you followers and reduce engagement.
3. Set up a content calendar for your LinkedIn content.
Publishing regularly is vital for any successful social media account. Mancine suggested setting up a content calendar for your posts to foster consistency. An easy way to set up a content calendar is through a social media tool like Buffer or Hootsuite.
But don’t overdo it, warned Eric Fischgrund, founder and CEO of FischTank, a marketing and public relations firm. “[Many] companies just start posting away. You’ll see engagement spike initially; then people start tuning you out. Only share things that are impactful.”
4. Vary what you post on LinkedIn, and capitalize on holidays.
Switch up your content, and post a mixture of visuals, videos and articles, Mancine advised. It’s also helpful to cater your posts to special holidays or times of the year.
“There are so many days that are celebrated on social media now: National Coffee Day, etc.,” Mancine noted. “Nine times out of 10, you can come up with a creative way to tie your business in to those days.”
For example, if you’re a lawn care company, post pertinent content during April, which is Lawn and Garden Month.
5. Use tracking and analytics on LinkedIn.
The best way to offer relevant content to your audience is to know what they want. By monitoring and tracking past posts, you’ll determine what works and what doesn’t.
LinkedIn Page analytics lets you evaluate engagement on your posts, identify trends, understand your follower demographics and learn more about your page traffic.
6. Experiment with videos and photos on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn has video and photo features. The mobile app lets you take a video or photo and post it to your timeline immediately.
Share a behind-the-scenes look at your company, or highlight new information on products and services. Video and images boost user interest and engagement and can help humanize your brand.
7. Create LinkedIn Showcase Pages.
Product marketing manager Tommy Burns suggests using LinkedIn Showcase Pages to highlight and build your brand. With Showcase Pages, you can spotlight specific parts of your business and share content with a targeted audience.
“A Showcase Page is an extension of your company’s LinkedIn profile,” Burns explained. “They allow your organization to generate additional content and publish messaging that is highly relevant to subsets of your target audience.”
8. Create sponsored content on LinkedIn.
As with other social media platforms, you can create sponsored content on LinkedIn. These ads cost money but are more effective than regular content because you can target a specific audience.
“There’s a lot of freedom and customization available with this feature,” said Keri Lindenmuth, marketing director at KDG. “You can select the geographic range you want your ad to target, the ages of the audience you’re seeking, the profession and industries of the audience you’re seeking, and more.”
9. Target your audience on LinkedIn.
One of the best ways to ensure your content does well on LinkedIn is to cater each post to a specific audience. LinkedIn’s organic targeting option lets you target posts based on follower profile data, such as organization size, industry, job title, geography and language. Keep in mind that you must have at least 300 followers to use the targeting tool.
10. Consider what time you post on LinkedIn.
As with any social platform, the time you post your content can impact audience engagement. Posting consistently is crucial, so aim to add content at least twice a week (if not daily). Remember that it may take some trial and error to find the time of day that works best for you. According to research from Hootsuite, the best times to post on LinkedIn are 7:45 a.m., 10:45 a.m., 12:45 p.m. and 5:45 p.m. ET.
LinkedIn has a customer survey feature called LinkedIn Polls that lets brands engage with followers to get their opinions and input.
LinkedIn for business FAQs
The answers to these common questions can help you get started with LinkedIn the right way.
Where should I start with LinkedIn?
Head to LinkedIn.com and create an account with your work or personal email address. Once you sign up, you can create a profile that features your work experience, skills, interests and photo. From there, you can begin connecting with colleagues, following groups that align with your skills and interests, and posting content to share with your network.
Should I pay for LinkedIn?
In the beginning, no. Once you have fully explored the website’s free features, you can consider investing in premium features.
What is the most important thing I should focus on for my business on LinkedIn?
Your customers are always the focus. Listen to what they say, follow what they follow and read what they read. Once you start listening to your customers, your next steps become apparent.
Are photos really that important on LinkedIn?
People want to know who they are talking to. For example, people are more likely to click on your personal profile if there’s a photo. Your business page benefits from photos as you pique visitors’ interest.