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LinkedIn is social media that means business – Greater Baton Rouge Business Report

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Think of LinkedIn as Facebook for business professionals. Users ask to “link” their accounts with each other, building their own networks of contacts. With more than 500 million members worldwide, LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network. It’s a great platform for B2B and B2C connections, as well as employment and recruiting.

LinkedIn also works. According to one report, 90% of C-suite executives and 88% of business decision-makers who are LinkedIn members feel their respect and admiration of the organization increases when engaging with thought leadership content.

Much of what we’ve discussed about other social media sites applies to LinkedIn. Post consistently. Share content to boost your rankings and search results. Posts with pictures or video usually generate more engagement.

Building an account for your company by creating a business page, which allows you to create LinkedIn Showcase Pages. These are extensions of your LinkedIn page that spotlight your brand, specific units of your company or initiatives you’re involved in.

Create your page with a solid strategy. Are you trying to increase name awareness? Generate leads? Support recruitment and retention? Drill down as deep as possible, and let that goal guide your content.

Your LinkedIn profile is critical. When filling out your work experience, for example, don’t stop at listing the years you spent with each job. Include a few details on what you did and the marketable experience you gained. While you’re at it, think about the kinds of users you want to reach. Which keywords would they likely use in a search? Include them in your profile.

Shoot for at least 500 connections that are strategic. Members of your LinkedIn network should include influencers and thought leaders within your industry, along with customers, media, etc.

LinkedIn’s analytics provide great insight into your audience and the effectiveness of your posts. Here are several metrics to watch:

Engagement — Track how your audiences engage your content with clicks, likes and shares. Note which topics or types of content spark interest and post more of it.

Follower demographics — Use this data to determine who you’re reaching and how to fine-tune your content for target demographics.

Competitor comparison — Keep an eye on how your metrics compare with those of your competitors and decide what you should improve or make different.

You might consider creating a LinkedIn group to share industry news, trends and thought leadership. Open the group to your employees, and encourage them to share brand content. Promote your company’s LinkedIn page in relevant spaces like your website, newsletter and other social media.

When reaching out to your connections, try using LinkedIn Inmail. It has a response rate that’s up to 300% better than regular email. Use LinkedIn ads and sponsored content, especially for posts that perform well organically.

One last tip: If you’re invited to connect with someone you don’t know, check the person’s profile and shared connections before accepting. You’re perfectly within bounds if you want to click the “Reply” button and ask why the person wants to connect before accepting.

Ann Edelman is Vice President of Public Relations and Media for Zehnder Communications, a fully integrated advertising and marketing agency. Reach her at aedelman@z-comm.com.

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