Wednesday, December 7, 2011

LinkedIn Reality Check: 5 Questions to Ask about Your LinkedIn Presence

Recently I’ve been discussing with one of my clients, a professional service provider, the value of LinkedIn.  He knows that LinkedIn can have a tremendous impact on his business development efforts.

After all, 125 million business users are active on LinkedIn.  A new member joins LinkedIn approximately every second.

Unlike other social marketing platforms this professional service provider might consider, it’s safe to say that the LinkedIn community is made up primarily of professionals, business-minded people, professional organizations and others interested in business-related networking.

He’s been up and running on LinkedIn for a few years, but it might be time for a LinkedIn Reality Check with 5 questions to ask about his LinkedIn presence.

1) What’s your goal?
As with any social media platform, this professional should consider his goals for establishing and maintaining a presence a LinkedIn.  Why bother setting a goal?  Because that way success of the program can be measured and optimized over time.

Typical goals a b-to-b company might establish for their LinkedIn program include:
  • Generate leads
  • Solicit interest in webinars or multi-media content
  • Expand awareness from interested prospects
  • Share product knowledge
  • Engage customers, facilitate customer feedback
  • Recruit talent
  • Increase traffic to company web site
Once a goal is established, set up a metrics program to measure effectiveness over time.

2) Are you doing all you can?
This professional should take a hard look at his company page – does it serve as a “magnet” that attracts relevant LinkedIn visitors?  Or does he just have a personal page and not a company page?  If so, it’s time to get on board with a company page.

Company Overview Page   - Think of the company overview page as a “reception area”.  Is it welcoming?  Is the page complete with keyword-rich descriptions, including the URL to your company website? Is the content concise so the keywords appear high up on the profile?  Do you use photos to humanize the page?

Careers Page  – If a goal is to recruit talent, is the careers page current and reflecting the most recent job openings?

Products/Services - this is a great page to solicit engagement, and expand upon service offerings.  Is it complete with multi-media content, and other useful links back to the company website?  Are relevant web pages highlighted that showcases products/services?

Be sure to solicit recommendations from fellow professionals. When LinkedIn members visit a Products & Services Tab, they see how many and which of their professional connections recommend your products and services.

3) How active are you?
Does the professional regularly post “Status Updates” and keep his profile current?  Are new products reflected on the products/services page? 

Does he join groups and associations and stay active in the discussion forums?

Are status updates providing value in the form of relevant, business-related communications to your followers?

Status updates should offer valuable information, link back to the company website, blog or other relevant online content. RSS feeds are a good option to automate this process.

Consider asking interactive questions or polls, and sharing content related folks have created that is relevant to your core followers and business.

Remember, don’t over use the Status Update feature – a few posts per week is optimal.

Note:  an active LinkedIn program should take only 10 or so minutes a day.  This blog post from SocialMediaToday shows in detail how to manage multiple social media programs in only 20 minutes a day.

4) Do You Measure & Monitor?
LinkedIn offers a robust analytics tab that is accessible only to the page administrator.  Reports show how company pages perform, the number of visits over time, and demographics of visitors.  Review reports a few times a week to note trends.  

Take the time to create a Google Analytics “content segment” on your website to track the behavior of visitors who find your website via LinkedIn.  For instance, one of the LinkedIn programs I manage pulls high conversions from those who visit the site via LinkedIn. When in Google Analytics, simply view Traffic Sources > Referring Sites > to monitor their behavior. Of all web visitors, it is the ones who visit from LinkedIn that are more likely to provide their contact information in exchange for a white paper or other piece of marketing collateral.

5) Do You Attract New Followers?
In LinkedIn, the larger the reach, the higher the chance you will meet the goals you set for your program.  Be sure to cast your net wide among relevant followers, to maximize your chance for success on LinkedIn.

Remember to include your LinkedIn URL on outbound emails, your business cards, your website, and in other printed materials.  Ask to connect with associates, customers, partners and others after meeting them at conferences.

Consistency is Key
As I’ve said to my client, LinkedIn needs tending and consistent effort.

One will be successful in attracting new followers over time, and meeting LinkedIn goals.

Learn More

The LinkedIn Resource Center offers tremendous resources, including this Company Page Guide (pdf).

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