Likely the most under-utilized of the social network channels presently available, LinkedIn presents a multitude of features and tools that can help boost your profile and promote your business.

Whether you are marketing in B2C or B2B, LinkedIn has a goldmine of marketing opportunities that are (basically) free.
When you Google “Using LinkedIn for marketing”, there are over 3 million results on the topic. While most users are familiar with the basics of LinkedIn, there are some lesser-known tools that may contribute to positioning you as a thought leader in your space.

Put your profile to work.
Your profile is the most-viewed aspect of your presence on LinkedIn, so take the time to optimize it to your advantage.
1. Include a photo. Be mindful of the term “social” in social media. A professional-looking photo puts a face to your personal brand.
2. Hyperlink using keywords. Instead of using the default “My Blog” option that LinkedIn provides, use an SEO-friendly title such as the example below.linkedin_keywords

3. Use keywords in descriptions. Whenever possible, use keywords (ex. below) in your summaries and descriptions, which will contribute to your SEO ranking.

linkedin_key
4. Keep an active status. Leverage the status update within your profile to share insight, solicit help or announce events/achievements. These will appear in your contact’s homepage and extend out to your entire network.

Employ third-party applications.
There is a multitude of third-party apps that help to build out your personal or business profile online.
1. Got a great slide deck? Get it online with SlideShare and anyone who views your profile can access your slides to understand your value offering. Additionally, slides can be tagged with keywords to optimize SEO rankings.
2. Blogging? Sync your latest blog post with your profile using WordPress or BlogLink, so your network can immediately access your latest thought leadership piece.
3. Hitting the road? Use My Travel/TripIt to let your network know where you’ll be, to facilitate meetings or in-person opps for networking.
4. Speaking or presenting? Use Events to inform your network of upcoming events that you’re attending.
5. Tweeting? You can now push your Twitter posts to LinkedIn, but proceed with caution. Consider that LinkedIn is a professional environment, meant to be used for proper business purposes. Best practice: when tweeting, use the hashtag #in to promote business-relevant posts to your LinkedIn profile. Your professional network doesn’t need to know that you’re at the pub having drinks with @yourfriend at 3pm!

Start your own group.
By creating a group for your brand, you’ll be able to maximize reach beyond your network. Within the brand group, you can start discussions, share news, post jobs and create subgroups.
Take it a step further and create an “unbranded” group that is not directly affiliated with your business, but focuses on the space in which you play. The unbranded approach enables you to own the high level space, via collaboration of thousands of practitioners, while driving conversations that take place within the groups. The discussions taking place within your groups can deliver invaluable opinions, testimonials and thought leadership content to power your marketing programs.
Example: Arketi Group’s unbranded “BtoB Marketing” group

linkedin_b2b

Use the staying power of Group Discussions to initiate conversations with industry decision makers while driving focused traffic to your company website or blog. Use your company’s blog posts as linkable content and post in multiple (relevant) groups regularly. Maintaining a consistent presence will lend to the credibility of you/your company as an authority on the subject/discussion.

Two tips for extra punch.
1. Edit your public Profile’s URL to reflect your name or tagline.

linkedin_public

2. Then put it to work by adding it to your blog, linking to it from your website, and including it in your email signature.

Parting thoughts.
Your reputation on LinkedIn is deemed more important/serious than other SM sites such as Twitter or Facebook, simply because you cannot hide behind an alias. The transparency of using your real name, real title and real brand forces you to  check your posts, conversations and content for relevance and legitimacy. So before you start a rant within a group discussion or leave comments that may be deemed brand-erosive, take a moment to consider how it reflects.

Over to you….we’d love to learn about your LinkedIn marketing success. Would you like to share your stories?