In its infancy some 12 years ago, LinkedIn was a slow-growing, primitive social media platform, that promised users – growing by around 20 new members a day – it would make their professional network faster and more powerful; assuring them “your network is bigger than you think”.
Today in this technologically-driven world, LinkedIn has developed, transformed and reshaped itself into one of the most dynamic tools available to employers and employees – the site now boasting over 380 million users across 200 countries, with more than 6000 employees in 26 nations.
And while 30% of Australian workers and business people are making use of the networking platform, the majority of the nation’s employees and employers remain unaware of its potential to significantly enhance their business prospects.
The ability to expand your business network insurmountably is of course the main benefit of utilising LinkedIn, as it offers the potential to connect with hundreds, even thousands of global workers in the same industry as you.
However, while it is in keeping with their tagline, “World’s largest professional network”, networking isn’t the sole benefit of using LinkedIn in the workplace.
In a rapidly changing business environment, where consumers rely on the internet as a fast and reliable source of product, service and brand information, a platform that allows you to showcase your business as a reputable brand is crucial; and with LinkedIn you are able to do just this.
By sharing insightful content regarding new products and services while facilitating two-way communication, your consumers are not only able to obtain information and access user reviews, they can also leave their own feedback; proving a valuable means of word-of-mouth for your business.
The possibility also exists to use your content sharing to improve your business’ Google ranking through SEO (search engine optimisation).
Through constructing your content strategically, using specific keywords, phrases or “hashtags”, you can drastically increase the flow of traffic to your company’s profile, in turn allowing greater exposure and more opportunities to grow your network.
The addition of your company’s story, employees, milestones and achievements help the consumer to understand who you are, what you do, and to identify with your brand, leading to their future custom.
But it isn’t all about you.
It’s important to remember that the consumer - or your LinkedIn follower in this case - does not want to be bombarded with advertising around your products and services.
Yes, they want information, but they don’t want to feel as though they are constantly the target of your marketing efforts.
Sharing meaningful and insightful content that will benefit the reader allows you to nurture and develop the relationships you have built with them, without actively selling every time you communicate.
Perhaps one of the greatest tools LinkedIn offers the user is the opportunity to conduct market and competitor research.
Through not only sharing your own insightful content but reviewing that of your competitors and others in your industry, you are able to identify key market trends as they unfold.
While you are able to gain all of these benefits and more through the use of the LinkedIn, it requires strategic and tactical utilisation to truly see results.
The following tips are imperative to follow when using LinkedIn;
- Accuracy – ensure your company profile and contact details are up-to-date.
- Error-free – no one is going to believe you are a trustworthy and reputable organisation if your profile, or the content you share, is littered with errors.
- Well-managed – it is not enough to log on and spam your followers with 15 posts in one hit, and not return to post for a month. Regular posts, 1-2 times a week on your company profile is enough to remind your connections that you are still active, but not too much that they feel swamped with messages from you. Regularly monitoring your profile will also ensure any negative feedback is combatted early.
- Ensure you facilitate two-way communication – you will soon find yourself rapidly losing followers if you disregard the messages or feedback from your consumers. Appearing in the eyes of your consumers as responsive and accessible adds a level of trust to the relationship, and leaves them more inclined to give you their custom.