How Should Your Business Use LinkedIn?

Should Your Business Use LinkedInSocial media for B2B companies continues to be a work in progress, as marketers seek to understand what does and doesn’t work. American Express and SmarBrief Media has recently shared some ideas for success with social media, so I thought it would make sense to share and comment:

There is no argument that LinkedIn is the number one option for business social media, with more than 300 million members (April 2014) distributed in over 200 countries. More than 30% of all US business owners use the service, with over 2 in 5 saying it is far and away the most valuable business social media platform.

These days, I do not go into a business meeting with out first looking up my prospective client in LinkedIn, and in many cases 2 or 3 of his or her colleagues. To date more than 3 million businesses from around the world have built free company pages, and have started to frequently provide content for customers and prospects. In short, if you can only use one social media platform for B2B, use LinkedIn.

Beyond its ability to communicate to known connections, LinkedIn is also a powerful prospecting tool, either through a direct email, or by way of introduction from one of your other connections. It is unmatched for helping a sales person or a recruiter to pinpoint the correct person for a transaction.

Here are the American Express Tips for Using LinkedIn:

–       Join a LinkedIn group for business leaders in your community (geographic or by industry) and start discussions about topics in which you have experience or expertise. [DC Note: Start by listening for a few weeks to understand the tone and types of discussions the groups are having. Nothing is worse than a newbie who starts to do the equivalent of shouting to attract attention.]

–       Ask for endorsements or recommendations from customers or past business partners, anything that would lend credibility to you or what you do. [DC note: It is helpful to shape these to specific areas of expertise or an experience that might be shared by prospects. The more specific an endorsement the more credible.]

–       Post frequent updates about the business, including favorable performance reports, recent hires and acquisitions. [DC note: This is obviously for your company page. Use it as another news outlet for public relations.]

–       Place ads on prominent LinkedIn pages using the company’s self-serve advertising portal, LinkedIn Ads.

One final one that American Express missed. Take the time occasionally to review the “People You Might Know” function and use it to connect with past clients, peers or friends. Going forward, you will be surprised how often a connection will be connected to someone you want to meet. The more connections you have, the more likely you will be able to leverage your network for business opportunities in the future.

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  1. I would add that we should be updating our personal Linkedin profiles to reflect more than just our resume. There are so many more interesting things to say about yourself and your company than where you worked at 5 years ago.

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