According to CIRA, LinkedIn is the second most popular social network in Canada, with 35 percent of Canadians having an account. I expect that number to grow as this country copes with job losses and businesses are desperate for sales.
LinkedIn is a huge (645 million+ users) professional network that revolves around business. It’s one of the only networks that engages both consumers and executives and it’s certainly the largest one. It works for the solopreneur who provides services online, or a retail CEO with a chain of store locations.
You can drum up business for yourself and find a supplier or assistant, all on the same platform. This level of multi-purpose functionality in a dynamic, free environment is exactly what Canadian small businesses need to not only survive, but also thrive.
The network is designed to be particularly effective for business to business (B2B) companies. Fifty percent of B2B social media traffic originates from LinkedIn, according to the network. Ninety-one percent of executives rate it as their first choice for industry content.
4 Ways Small Businesses Use LinkedIn
“LinkedIn is less a social media network than an all-round professional tool,” writes Barbara Davidson for Headway Capital. “It is best seen as an effective platform for promoting your business, learning about your industry, and connecting with your most relevant professional contemporaries.”
1. Position your company as an expert by sharing and publishing content. It has a better chance of being seen and connecting to professionals.
2. Showcase your products, events and services. Catch the eye of prospects with a cross-section of what your business has to offer. For example, an image gallery of your latest project can showcase your expertise and drive traffic to your website.
3. Use the niche group discussions to consult with experts or provide expertise.
4. Attract and recruit talented employees or contractors.
Use LinkedIn to Grow Your Canadian Small Business
The opportunities are there and the price is right, but how do you use LinkedIn as a tool for growing your business?
How to Create a Business Page on LinkedIn
There’s an illustrated how-to guide in the below infographic, if you need a visual. LinkedIn is constantly changing things, but you should be able to follow the instructions with minimal adjustments.
- Log into your LinkedIn profile.
- Click on ‘Work’ in the upper-right menu.
- Select ‘Create a Company Page’.
Optimize Your New Page
Once you have the business page set up, it’s important to optimize it for search engine results by:
- Using relevant keywords throughout.
- Writing an engaging overview of your business in the ‘About’ section with keywords. Ask yourself the following questions to ensure you cover everything.
– What future do you want to help create?
– How do you help create that future?
– What are your values?
– What makes your company different?
– What product or services do you provide?
- Place a link on your website to your LinkedIn business page. If you have employees, encourage them to add your company page to their profile.
- Share relevant content on your business page.
10 Types of Posts You Should Share on Your LinkedIn Page
Sharing relevant content is vital to increasing your presence on LinkedIn, but not all content is created equal.
1. Articles From Your Company Blog
You’re establishing your business as an expert on related topics, as well as driving prospects into your websites sales funnel.
2. In-Depth, How-To and List-Style Posts
Recent studies show this style of post receives the most attention from viewers on LinkedIn.
3. Company Wins & Milestones
Not only does it show others that your business is successful, but it also creates an opportunity to show gratitude.
4. Industry News and Research
As a B2B platform, LinkedIn users are actively looking for content related to their industry. Sharing industry news and research helps establish your company as a thought leader.
5. Posts Highlighting Your Team
Seeing the talented, capable individuals that make up your business provides a friendly face to other LinkedIn users.
6. LinkedIn Video
Showcase your brand in action with brief (1-2 minutes long) videos that focus on what makes your business unique.
7. Custom Images
Adding custom images typically results in double the comments on your post. All posts should have some type of visual element.
8. PowerPoint Slides & Documents
Presenting data in a visually-rich format will help engage viewers and capture their attention.
9. Reshare Posts That Mention Your Business
Presenting your favourable mentions shows that others are engaging with your brand and highlights what they love about it.
10. Posts That Spark Conversation
Make it easy for your audience to engage in conversation by posting thought-provoking questions or contests.
Consider the 3-2-1 model: Each week, try to publish three pieces of industry-related content, two pieces of content that makes employees and your community feel happy and proud, and one piece of product or service-related content.
How to Get More Followers on LinkedIn
Growing the number of followers you have is important to increasing business visibility.
- Ask your employees to add your page to their current work experience on LinkedIn. Share their posts to leverage their networks.
- Add a ‘Follow Us on LinkedIn’ button to your website.
- Add the link to your email signature.
- Tag (@___) influencers and brands you admire in page updates, so they can find and share your content with their followers. Use this responsibly!
- 5. Occasionally invite your personal connections to follow your page. I wouldn’t invite the same person more than once, but some do.
- Use topical hashtags.
- Post content at least once/day.
- Use page analytics to adjust your strategy. Determine what’s resonating (and what’s not) with viewers by analyzing the demographic information of your visitors and engagement data on your updates.
It’s really no more difficult than maintaining a business page on other social networks, it’s just different. If you’re trying to generate B2B sales or leads, you’d be wise to add it to your social media marketing toolbox.
Courtesy of: Headway Capital
You may also be interested in reading:
45+ Canadian LinkedIn Business Groups
How to Bring Your Canadian Small Business Online
Learn YouTube Marketing for Your Small Business (Infographic)
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Marie has an M.Sc. in Marketing and a certificate from the Ryerson Digital Media program. She's enrolled in one course or another most of the time and is always in the middle of a new business book (or three). Marie enjoys writing, traveling and volunteering at local events & trade shows.