When we think “social media”, we generally think about Facebook, Twitter, and maybe Google+. The one social networking site that a lot of businesses are missing from their social media repertoire is LinkedIn. LinkedIn is particularly useful for B2Bs since, well, its primary focus is just that – connecting businesses with other businesses online rather than connecting businesses with consumers (as you would on Facebook or Twitter).
To get you started, here are some statistics to give you an idea of who most of the LinkedIn members are so you can determine how you can use LinkedIn to connect to local and international B2Bs.
– As of January 2012, it was reported that there were approximately 147 million LinkedIn users worldwide
– The average user is between the age of 25 and 54 years old (67.7%) and men take up the majority of users (57.9% male)
– 65.7% of users are from North American and Europe, though the biggest “boom” is inBrazil, with more members being acquired there from 2011 to 2012 than any other country.
Tip #1: Fill out your Profile
If you want to make any sort of impression on LinkedIn, then you have to take the time to fill out your profile completely. This means adding a picture of yourself, including your likes and dislikes, adding your web address, and so on. You want to give people information about YOU. This will help other B2B owners start to build an emotional and favorable connection with you.
Tip #2: Update your Status
Sounds rather Facebook-esque, right? Remember that LinkedIn is catering to a different audience. So rather than tell people about what you had for dinner or what movie you watched last night (as you would on Facebook), publish professional updates on LinkedIn. If your business reached a milestone, write about it. If you released a new eBook, put that in your status and provide a link. Too many LinkedIn users don’t use the “status update” function, which leaves you with plenty of room to capitalize on that opportunity.
Tip #3: Participate in Groups
Want to connect with people in your industry? Then get involved in LinkedIn “Groups”. These groups provide you with the unique ability to connect with people involved in your industry or niche on a local or international scale. You can ask questions, answer questions, and express thoughts and opinions here with other professionals like yourself. Not only are you broadening your own knowledge base, but you’re also building up connections with other people online. Network, network, network. Isn’t that was a successful B2B is all about?
Tip #4: Make your Profile SEO Friendly
Bet you didn’t think that you could optimize your LinkedIn page. Well, you can, and doing so can drastically increase the amount of traffic coming to your site. Choose targeted keywords and keyword phrases and incorporate these naturally into your profile (you don’t want to make it look “spammy” or be obvious about keyword stuffing) and you’ll find that a lot of your web traffic may be finding you first through your LinkedIn profile.
Tip #5: Ask for Recommendations
LinkedIn has this neat little feature called “Recommendations” which act very similarly to, say, a testimonial or positive customer review. Recommendations give your business more credibility and recognition in the realm of LinkedIn. Some members may give you recommendations because they recognize how valuable they are, but oftentimes you’ll have to outright ask for them. You can give their company a glowing “Recommendation” in return.