Although LinkedIn is the world’s largest social media network for business people and professionals, most small business owners still don’t have it on their marketing radar.
But that’s changing as LinkedIn itself ads more features aimed at helping businesses market to its 160 million registered users, and more small businesses start taking advantage of this powerful platform for generating leads and making business connections.
Your first step is to create a free LinkedIn “Company Page.” It’s similar to a Facebook business page but easier to set up, better looking and with more ways to feature your products and services. And LinkedIn recently introduced an improved look for company pages that offers new ways to tell your business story, share news or updates and drive word of mouth.
Unlike Facebook, which was originally built for college students, LinkedIn was created from the ground up with the needs of business and professionals in mind. That shows through in the capabilities it offers to create awareness of your products and services. What’s more, millions of people conduct searches from within LinkedIn every day and if you and your company aren’t there, you can’t be found.
Posting updates to your LinkedIn company page gives you a powerful way to generate leads by including links back to your own website. The LinkedIn company page lets you post large images, create your own calls to action and include testimonials or recommendations from your connections. This is all free if you’re willing to spend a little time to learn how it works and get your company page operational.
But you don’t have to get everything done at once. As with LinkedIn personal profile pages, you can start with the basics and add features and sections as you get more proficient. Here’s how to get started along with a rundown of key sections of a LinkedIn company page:
Getting Started: You can set up a LinkedIn company page in minutes with just a few steps. You must first go to the “Add a Company” page to confirm your connection to the business and be authorized to create your page. Go to www.linkedin.com/company/add/show and enter the company name and your business email address. You’ll receive an automated email asking you to confirm your request. Once that’s done, you’re ready to start creating your page.
Overview: This is your big chance to make a powerful first impression. The overview section, or “tab,” is the place to start spreading your message and open a conversation about your business. You can include a high-level description of your business along with company announcements, product releases or news from your industry. It’s also a great place to feature employees and other people who are connected to your business.
If your business is already creating updates or other content for a Facebook page, this is another place you can put it to good use. But remember that LinkedIn’s membership is much more “white collar,” so be sure to put your best professional foot forward.
Products and Services: This is the place to showcase what you offer. Setting up a Products & Services section requires just a few steps and can be done in a few minutes. Click “Add a product or service” under the Products & Services tab and fill in the information about category, product or service name and description. Be sure to include your business photos and videos to bring the section to life. And don’t forget to add your business URL and other web links back to the product, service or order form pages on your own website. This helps with SEO and can send traffic and leads back to your site.
To add more products and services, simply repeat the steps above. When all of your information is complete, click “Publish” to go live. You’ll then be accessible to millions of LinkedIn members who can view, recommend and share your information within their own networks. It’s word-of-mouth power on steroids.
Company Updates: LinkedIn suggests using this section to share articles, ask questions or post special offers. It also offers the ability to target your updates and offers to specific groups of your connections or followers, as well as to “all followers.”