You don’t typically look to a bank for social media advice. But Headway Capital is an exception as it offers a compelling, documented and detailed case for small business presence on LinkedIn.
For starters, LinkedIn has 645 million users, 30 million of which are small businesses. “Half of America’s college graduates use LinkedIn. Around 45% of LinkedIn users are in upper-management. And nine out of ten execs say LinkedIn is their number one choice for professional content as half of all B2B web traffic from social media originates on LinkedIn,” according to the firm’s blog, which is accompanied by an extensive DIY infographic on building a LinkedIn following.
It’s best not to think of LinkedIn as a strictly sales platform. “What you’re really selling is an idea of what your business means. Your combination of product niche, personal experience and location makes you an expert in your precise area of the industry,” says Headway. “When you share or publish quality content on LinkedIn, you get the right kind of attention from the right kind of people, and your prestige grows.”
The firm’s infographic provides a step-by-step guide to building and optimizing a small business LinkedIn account based on sharing relevant content frequently. The process starts with a profile that positions a company as a trusted expert as a way to attract followers.
One way to showcase relevant expertise is through an image gallery of recent projects or events with links to the company website. Headway advises creating a strong “About Us” section that clearly describes what the company does and why it’s different than competitors. A company LinkedIn page should be linked to its website. Those backlinks boost search engine rankings.
Key words are essential to optimize the company LinkedIn page, which requires searching online for the key words and phrases that viewers use to search for your product and services. These key words should populate the company page, from mission statement to shared content.
A company LinkedIn page needs regular feeding to be noticed. The content should be relevant, but not constrained. It can be serious or light. In fact, a range of content can be attractive, especially if it reflects a company’s brand personality. What’s important is to post content on a regular basis.
Headway’s infographic identifies 10 different types of shareable content small businesses should consider. They include company blog posts, short how-to videos, stories about company milestones, industry news or research, team member achievements or recognition and news media mentions or poignant customer testimonials. Curated content is fair game as long as it has some tie to the company.
Sharing visual assets, such as custom images, videos, infographics, documents in pdf format and informative PowerPoint presentations, can boost viewership. So can shares intended to provoke conversation and feedback. Visual assets are at their best when they show the company in action.
Of course, LinkedIn pages are only valuable if they attract viewers and, ultimately, followers. They won’t show up without some coaxing. Consistency in sharing content is critical. But small things matter, too, such as putting your LinkedIn account on your business card and inviting company employees as well as personal connections to follow the company page.
Savvy LinkedIn users employ hashtags – just as Twitter users – to draw online attention to topics, names and events of interest. Savvy users also rely on LinkedIn analytics to monitor who is viewing their page and the content that attracts the most attention, which offers clues to finetuning future content.