When I took the leap from my day job into full-time entrepreneurship, one of the first things I did was change my LinkedIn title.
I remember the day perfectly. Right after I handed in my two weeks notice, I changed my title from “Account Executive” to “Freelance Copywriter” during my lunch break. Updating the rest of my profile to reflect the new change felt just as good a few weeks later.
After my first month of full-time entrepreneurship, I noticed my LinkedIn activity had dropped significantly. I was hardly even logging into my account after I quit my job. The benefits of LinkedIn were great when I was in a traditional job position, but could it actually be helpful as a small business owner and freelancer?
The answer was yes, but it took me almost two years to start using LinkedIn more regularly. I thought it was only good to use during a job search, but I was missing out on real work opportunities by not cultivating a community there.
In the past year and a half, I’ve met with 20+ LinkedIn connections over coffee, mentored fellow bloggers, spoken on local business panels in the Twin Cities, and connected multiple college graduates with their first post-grad job opportunity all because of LinkedIn.
If you are asking yourself if LinkedIn is even relevant for your business, you may want to experiment more with the social media platform to discover your answer. Once you have a specific purpose for using the platform, you’ll start to create a community of people who are using the platform in a similar way.
Why build your online presence on LinkedIn?
While LinkedIn may seem like it was made with traditional career paths in mind, it can be a great place to connect with other professionals and increase your blog traffic.
Every month, over 106 million professionals log onto LinkedIn to connect with other professionals in related industries. Forty-four percent of their total users are female while 56% are male, creating a fairly even split between both genders.
When it comes to age groups, 61% of LinkedIn users are above 30 years old, but the amount of college and post-grad users using the platform continues to climb each month.
Seventy percent of users are located outside of the U.S., so if you are interested in building a remote team for your business, LinkedIn could be a great resource for finding the best candidates. We might be biased, but we think remote teams rock.
Key benefits of LinkedIn
When we talk about they key benefits of LinkedIn, it’s important to start by defining what the platform is usually used for.
While everyone has a different goal in using this social media platform, these are the most common people it attracts:
- Users in search of a new job opportunity or wanting to make a career transition
- Users looking to engage with professional networking groups
- Users wanting to stay updated with industry news
- Users tasked with building brand loyalty through public brand advocacy
From the reasonings above, it’s not hard to see that LinkedIn’s sole focus is connecting professionals with one another.
LinkedIn is often referred to as the “more professional” Facebook, meaning that the social media platform was built to help professionals facilitate conversations that are frequently found in the workplace. On LinkedIn, you can contribute to roundtable discussions on all kinds of topics from client management to team building to career development.
The platform is known as a central hub for employment opportunities, but what you might not know is how many freelance and short-term contract opportunities can also be found within this platform. If you are a service-based entrepreneur, this is great news!
Another benefit of LinkedIn is that it allows anyone from college graduates to CEOs to interact with one another in a professional setting. While it might feel odd to ask a CEO for an informational interview or coffee meeting on Facebook, the request will be answered more receptively on LinkedIn. It’s a great place for finding mentorship opportunities as well.
Driving business results with LinkedIn
We know that LinkedIn is great for finding employment opportunities and networking with industry professionals, but how do you go about using it to generate positive business results?
A social media platform isn’t worth your time if you aren’t seeing a positive return from the time you put into it. The same goes for any kind of marketing strategies you implement. How can you make sure it’s the right move for you?
First, make sure that the demographics, benefits, and key purpose of LinkedIn aligns with what your business does. If it does, you can focus on creating a strategy around how you will utilize the key features of the social media platform.
After you’ve created a personal account and listed your own work experience, educational background, and unique skills, you’re ready to shift your attention to creating a Company Page.
To start building a Company page, simply locate the “Work” tab in the top right navigation and scroll to the bottom until you see “+ Create a Company Page”. Fill in your Company Name, which can be your business or blog name, and customize your LinkedIn page URL. For more information on how to create and optimize your Company page, visit this LinkedIn help page.
Here are some Company Page examples that we love:
- Career Contessa – an online career resource and blog for women professionals
- Construction2Style – husband and wife blogging team of home designers
- Buffer – social media scheduling SaaS company with a remote team
- ConvertKit (if you want to take a peek at our own!)
Are you interested in generating more traffic to a specific page on your website or looking for the best candidates for a job? If so, LinkedIn ads platform may be a social media advertising option worth looking into.
LinkedIn is known for being the top lead generating social media platform on the market. With over 546 million users registered on LinkedIn, its advertising tools give you the opportunity to target and reach your ideal audience based on demographics, interests, and keywords.
The main type of social media advertising options within LinkedIn are:
- Sponsored Content: If you want to drive traffic to a specific blog post or website page, you’ll want to create a Sponsored Content ad that will appear in the user’s home feed.
- Sponsored InMail: Sponsored InMail is great for businesses who want to target specific users for job opportunities since these messages are sent directly to their inbox within the LinkedIn platform.
- Text Ads: This refers to the sidebar ads that are shown on the right side of a user’s homepage screen.
Now that you have a Company Page, you can decide if you’d like to build separate Showcase pages. The purpose of creating a Showcase page is to highlight a specific initiative inside your company or a separate department within your larger organization.
Showcase pages are meant to put a spotlight on brands within your company or blog, so as you continue to scale, you may want to keep Showcase pages in mind.
LinkedIn Pulse publishing
One of the best features of LinkedIn is that it allows you to publish articles directly in its LinkedIn Pulse app. You can either repurpose archived blog content or republish articles as is. Many LinkedIn users utilize this feature as a way to build their email list and drive traffic to their blog.
LinkedIn Pulse can help you build brand awareness, give you a platform for brand advocacy, and help you increase thought leadership within your industry. Instead of only posting updates with links to your newest blog articles, you can paste them into LinkedIn Pulse to take advantage of the audience already browsing on that platform.
Turning LinkedIn connections into real leads
LinkedIn is a great place for lead generation, so it’s smart to regularly check in with your LinkedIn connections to stay on top of what they are working on. The best way to generate leads is to start a conversation that isn’t focused on what you are selling but rather what they are creating.
The more you talk about their projects, the more opportunity you have to stay top-of-mind when they are looking for a freelancer or blogger to help them with a new initiative. This kind of networking takes time, but it’s the best way to generate quality leads in a feel-good way.
Best practices when utilizing LinkedIn for business
Before you start creating a full marketing strategy for LinkedIn, let’s review some of the basics behind interacting with connections through the platform.
Set a professional tone
Since LinkedIn was built to be a social media platform for professionals, it’s important to keep a professional tone. You can still showcase your personality, but try to refrain from sharing private details about your life. Save family updates for Facebook and keep your LinkedIn page focused on your professional life.
Optimize your profile’s SEO
When you create a blog post or new page on your website, you are probably already thinking about keywords and how you can rank better in search engines. You want to do the same thing with your LinkedIn profile.
This is especially important when you choose a Title on your profile page. If you are a self-employed brand designer, you might want to use the title of Freelance Graphic Designer because it’s a highly searched keyword.
In the same vein, if you are a blogger who specializes in recipes and travel posts, you might want to use a title like Food and Travel Blogger at WebsiteHere.com in order to increase your brand visibility while helping your ability to rank in LinkedIn’s search.
Regularly share interesting and engaging content
Most people recommend publishing at least two posts a week on LinkedIn, but one LinkedIn post a day should be your absolute max.
Try to stay away from using LinkedIn in the same way you would use Twitter. While you can easily publish six to eight tweets without it feeling overwhelming to your Twitter followers, you will turn off a lot of your contacts if you try to post the same number of times each day on LinkedIn.
It’s usually smart to post around 10-11 a.m. because it’s right before lunch time. Posting after 5 p.m. isn’t a smart move because most professionals have left their jobs already and are looking forward to spending time with their friends and family.
Consider LinkedIn Premium
The more you dive into LinkedIn, the more opportunity you’ll find within the platform. If you find that you are getting a positive return from the time you are spending on LinkedIn, it might be time to consider if LinkedIn Premium will be a fit for you.
Some of the best features of being a LinkedIn Premium member are:
- Being able to see who has viewed your LinkedIn profile
- Accessing Premium Insights for better data to support your business
- Putting your job opportunities in front of the best candidates
- Having additional Sponsored InMail opportunities as a Premium user
LinkedIn Premium is usually the best fit for companies who are looking to hire for new positions as they quickly scale or for professionals who are looking for more freelance or contract work. You can decide if it’s worth the investment for a Career account, which is $29.99/month after the free month trial, or for a Business account, which is $47.99/month after the trial period.
Utilizing the benefits of LinkedIn for your blog and business
After reading through this guide, you might be more interested in incorporating the benefits of LinkedIn to your overall business marketing strategy than ever before. It may feel overwhelming in trying to figure out where to start, so we have a challenge for you!
By the end of the week, we challenge you to do ONE of the following:
- Create a Company page for your website or blog
- Write an article in your area of expertise for LinkedIn Pulse
- Publish three posts in your update feed, two original posts and one reshared post
- Join a LinkedIn group in an interest area
- Send a message to one of your LinkedIn connections
Tell us which challenge you are taking on in the comment section below.