We are continuing with the fourth installment of our Social Media 101 posts today with the "World's Largest Professional Network," LinkedIn! Like the other posts in this series, we'll cover an overview of LinkedIn, why you should use it for your business, and how to use it effectively and successfully.
-LinkedIn was founded in 2003 and currently has 8300 employees
-LinkedIn is the world's largest professional (NOT social) network, with over 546 million users in over 200 countries
-LinkedIn has 250 active monthly users
-LinkedIn has 146 million US users
-40% of users access LinkedIn every day, up from 10% in 2014
-There are 2 new members that join LinkedIn every second!
-40 million students and recent graduates are currently on LinkedIn
-57% male and 44% female
-13% of all millennials are on LinkedIn
-28% of all males who use the internet are on LinkedIn
-44% of LinkedIn users make over $75,000 annually
-41% of millionaires use LinkedIn!
-There are 3 million active job listings on LinkedIn
-1 million professionals have published an article on LinkedIn
-100,000 articles are published on LinkedIn every week
-80% of LinkedIn users consider professional networking important to career success
-The average LinkedIn user has 400 connections
SHOULD YOU USE LINKEDIN FOR YOUR BUSINESS?
LinkedIn is a little different from the social media platforms we've covered already, because it's geared more for professional networking more than social networking. It's much more work-driven and business-driven than socially driven, and so not as appealing as the one-size fits all that Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram can be. It's much more suitable for B2B and/or service-based companies who are marketing and selling to other businesses, industries, or professionals. BUT, that doesn't mean that if you don't run a B2B business, that there isn't a place on LinkedIn for you! LinkedIn is the perfect place to make connections with other business owners and professionals, and to build a network of other professionals within your industry that could serve as resources, potential customers, potential job candidates, collaborators, colleagues, and more! LinkedIn is all about building business relationships, and if you own or manage your own business, this should be very important. Plus- very few jobs last forever. Almost every job is temporary! You could be managing your own business today but OUT of business tomorrow. Starting to build your network after you lose your job is poor planning! Creating and maintaining a personal LinkedIn profile and building a professional network provides you with a professional safety net if and when you may need to start looking for new business and job opportunities. So does everyone need a LinkedIn company page? I don't think so. But I DO think that everyone should have a LinkedIn account.
HOW TO MARKET YOUR BUSINESS (AND YOURSELF!) SUCCESSFULLY ON LINKEDIN:
Since LinkedIn is more of a professional network than a social network, your profile, content, and strategy is a bit different than other platforms. Here are a few ways to create successful connection on LinkedIn:
Have a Complete and Updated Profile
The information in your profile about your professional experience and skills are as important, if not more important, than the content you share! Only 50% of LinkedIn users have complete profiles. so half of all LinkedIn users are not getting results they'd like because they haven't taken the time to understand what should be in their profile. MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A PHOTO IN YOUR PROFILE. This seemingly basic element of your profile is often overlooked by users, and then they are typically overlooked by recruiters and potential connections! Adding a photo to your profile makes yo 36 times more likely to receive a message on LinkedIn. It will also give you 21 times more profile views. And LinkedIn profiles with a professional headshot get 14 times more profile views that those with candid shots.
In addition to your headshot, ensure that your title, position, and company information is up to date. You can create a captivating intro summarizing what you currently do or what you've done in the past- almost like an abbreviated cover page to a resume. You can also add website links, additional photos videos, presentations, or documents that may be of interest to potential network connections. Keep your experience and education updated, and add skills you posses to your profile for other professional colleagues and connections to endorse.
Make More Connections by Joining LinkedIn Groups
LinkedIn has over 2 million groups to establish more personal connections on the predominately professional network. Groups provide a place for professionals in the same industry or with similar interests to share content, find answers, post and view jobs, make business contacts, and establish themselves as industry experts.
The majority of LinkedIn users are in 10 or more groups, and 10.4% of users are in the maximum of 50 groups. When you are a member of LinkedIn groups, you can access peers who are part of your industry, skill set, geographical area, etc., without feeling out of place. Groups make LinkedIn networking so much easier than having to start a conversation with a stranger.
Share Educational, Informative, and Industry Related Content
LinkedIn is the #1 channel to distribute content for B2B organizations. 94% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn to distribute content, and LinkedIn drives more traffic to B2B blogs and websites than any other social network. 90% of website traffic is driven by LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter combined, with over 50% belonging to LinkedIn alone. LinkedIn is also considered the most effective for B2B lead generation, with 80% of social media B2B leads that come from LinkedIn (next is Twitter with 13% and Facebook with 7%!). What is comes down to is that LinkedIn is a powerful channel to drive traffic, generate quality leads, and build thought leadership through content.
The content, though, that works on other sites doesn't necessarily work on LinkedIn. You have to tailor your content and customize your message to a more professional audience on LinkedIn. Here are a few types of content that work well on LinkedIn:
-Industry Trends & News: Headlines like "the future of," "in the world of," and "...of the year" work well and garner high engagement.
-How-To Articles: Headlines like "x ways to," "how to get," "how to make," "x things you need to know about y," "why you should," etc.
-Informative and Educational Content: A proven approach is to help your audience perform their jobs better, answer questions, and help address pain points. Avoid being salesy, though-- it can be tempting to sell your audience on the benefits of your product or service, sales-driven content doesn't do as well on LinkedIn.
-Thought-Leadership Content: Publishing thought-leadership content on your business page can be one of the most powerful ways to grow your audience. You can establish yourself as an industry leader and resource by providing high quality content. Look for articles or create articles that reflect industry thought-leadership- your perspective on news and trends, organizational thought-leadership- content embodied in the vision and ethos of your company, or product thought-leadership- content centered on being the best solution for your customers.
-Images and Videos: Posts with images get 98% higher comment rates than posts without, and links to YouTube videos can result in 75% higher share rates.
Make Use of Your Analytics
In the "Updates" section of your analytics, you can view all the information on your posts- clicks, impressions, social actions, click through, and engagement rates, and you can begin to understand what type of content does best on your page. You can learn the demographics of your visitors and followers, and better tailor your posts to their interests, and even to their job functions! You can also see when your followers are most online, and when the engagement rates are highest. Updates posted on LinkedIn in the early morning (before the typical workday starts) usually yield the highest engagement, but look at the stats of your own company page to determine if that's true for your followers.
As with all social (and professional!) networks, LinkedIn is continuing to grow and develop it's own identity. Jumping on board and utilizing it for what it's main purpose is- for creating professional connections and relationships- can help you develop a strong professional network for growing your business and growing your personal career.