Date8th May 2013
CategoryMarketing tips/News/Social Media/
AuthorBoxed Red

LinkedIn: Networking or Sales Tool?

You’ve heard of LinkedIn, and you’ve probably got your own profile page and made a number of connections from various parts of your professional life. But have you considered that your presence on LinkedIn could help your business achieve its objectives?

Established in December 2002, LinkedIn was originally developed primarily to help people network professionally and keep in touch with their business contacts, clients and former colleagues.

But is this LinkedIn’s only use? We take a look at the ways in which you can use LinkedIn to give your business a boost.

LinkedIn as a networking tool

Since 2002, LinkedIn has gained more than 200 million members worldwide, and with two professionals signing up every second, there is no question that LinkedIn has become the biggest social network solely dedicated to business.

LinkedIn allows you to:

  • Network with people and professional organisations in your industry and create mutually beneficial relationships
  • Stay up-to-date with industry trends
  • Share information with others who do similar work to you
  • Set up and join specific groups to discuss thought provoking ideas and share industry news
  • Position yourself as a trusted expert in your industry
LinkedIn as a sales tool

However, LinkedIn has the potential to be much more than simply a networking tool, the development of selling on social networks has created opportunities for LinkedIn to become a key sales tool for many companies.

In 2012, 75% of B2B buyers claimed social media would be likely to have an influence on their future purchases.

LinkedIn can help you to discover more about your target markets and provide valuable insight into your prospects through participation in groups and discussions. You can build effective relationships on a personal level and identify potential leads by engaging with them and turning them into a customer.

What’s more, LinkedIn has developed a number of tools that you can use to attract new clients and generate warm leads through the site.

  • Status Updates

In a similar way to Facebook, your status updates are automatically sent out to your contacts’ news feed whenever they log on to LinkedIn, so they don’t have to seek you out.

There is no reason to clutter up everyone’s feed with irrelevant, chatty posts, remember this is a professional network and you should contribute with content that really adds value to your connections.

  • @mentions

LinkedIn has recently added Twitter-style mentions with a view to boosting conversation across the network. Use the @ symbol to communicate directly with your connections, but remember that everyone in your network can see your conversation!

  • LinkedIn advertising

These adverts let you target people using specific job titles, job functions, industries or company size, to name just a few of the available options. You could create an advertisement promoting your company website, or a particular service or promotion you have available to them.

  • LinkedIn pay-per-click (PPC)

The LinkedIn PPC campaign is similar to the Google cost-per-click campaign that allows you to set a budget and pay a certain amount every time someone clicks on your advert.

These ads show up when users type in search terms specific to your business, so make sure you use relevant keywords to ensure the best use of your allocated budget.

  • Company Page

A company profile page is a centralised location where LinkedIn users can go to stay connected with your company’s news, products and services, business opportunities and job vacancies.

For you, it’s a great opportunity to share information about your company, spotlight your products and services, engage with your connections in discussions and showcase your expertise in your industry.

The key to reaching your social networking goals

It’s clear that whatever your social networking goals LinkedIn has a vital role within your strategy, whether you want to increase sales, position yourself as an industry leader or simply keep up to date with industry news or former colleagues.

Generating original, engaging content for distribution across any social media network, and it’s important to communicate consistently across your profiles, as well as managing the responses and reacting to topical events that pop up from time to time. This can all be time-consuming, but rewarding work.

If you are having trouble juggling your social media commitments, get in touch to see if there’s a way for us to lighten the load.

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