Social networking is such a phenomenon that some businesses are bypassing an actual company website and only advertising via networking sites. I cannot say that I support this approach 100 percent – customers like to see an actual company Web page – but social networking is certainly a critical component in your business’s overall marketing strategy. LinkedIn was designed strictly for business users, and it is a wonderful resource to promote your business when used properly. If your LinkedIn page is not used properly, however, you might be spelling D-I-S-A-S-T-E-R by inadvertently making your business look bad.
- Your Mug – Everybody loves a good party now and then, but LinkedIn is not the place to advertise your party-going tendencies. Your business’s LinkedIn photo should be professional, not a shot of you and your employees doing shots at last year’s holiday party. Your photo should be a head shot, with you properly dressed and neatly coiffed. If you prefer, you can also use your company logo as your LinkedIn photo. Keep in mind, however, that people identify better with other people, so a photo of a person is best.
- Photo Quality – While we’re talking about photos, let’s talk quality. Aside from avoiding using an informal snapshot of yourself, don’t use a photo that’s the wrong size, either. LinkedIn photo specifications are a square image of 200 by 200 pixels up to 500 by 500 pixels. Don’t try to squeeze a 500 by 700-pixel image of yourself. You’ll end up looking warped and distorted. And while your friends might describe you as such occasionally, it’s not the image you want portrayed on your professional social networking page.
- Logo Quality – You’ve got size restrictions when adding your company’s logo to your LinkedIn page, as well. You company logo must be sized to 100 by 60 pixels in order fit properly. If you try and make something fit, your logo won’t look right, and this screams “unprofessional” to the potential clients viewing your page. Along with the size restrictions, your logo must also be saved as a .PNG, .JPEG, or .GIF file and no more than 2MB in size.
- Web Page Links – LinkedIn means more than just “linking” with other professionals on the social networking website. LinkedIn pages are designed to give users easy access to the professional they are viewing. You have the opportunity to link your viewers to your company’s Web page, so make sure the link works. Otherwise, when potential clients click the link to your company page and end up in limbo land, they will lose faith in your company and move on.
- Social Networking Links – The same holds true for any other links you add to your LinkedIn profile. If you’ve got it all, Google+, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and so on, and you’ve get them interlinked, make sure those links are working at all times. You don’t want a potential client to click from your LinkedIn page to your Google+ page and end up in the tangles of a broken URL that doesn’t work.
- Speaking of Links – I promise I’m not beating a dead horse here, but while I’m talking about links, it’s important to make sure that you have the links to your company website and other social networking pages in the appropriate fields. For example, should you accidentally link your Google+ in the company website field, it will be very confusing to your potential clients to end up on Google+ when they were expecting to land on your company’s website. Make sure all fields are filled in with the proper URL – no linking Twitter in the Facebook field!
- Email Addresses – Aside from links to your company’s website and social network presence, LinkedIn also gives you the opportunity to include contact information in your profile that anyone can access, including non-LinkedIn members. Make sure you have your correct email address – and other information for that matter – in the contact fields. Once your potential client clicks on the email link to send you an email, you need it to come to you.
- Utilize Everything – Make sure you set up and use LinkedIn’s company page dynamics instead of just setting up a LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn’s company page gives you the option to outline your business’s product and services, giving potential clients information about your company right away, instead of having to click over to your company’s website. This opens the door to greater interest in your company and what it has to offer.
- Don’t Be a Bore – While you are setting up your LinkedIn company page, don’t be boring about it. Engage your reader when you set up your company’s information and products and services. No potential client wants to read, “I am a Marketing Manager who blogs to help people maximize their sales and marketing strategies…” Yeah, me and how many others? Rather, get some attention by having fun when describing what you do. Just make sure to keep it professional, or you risk offending your future clients as well as boring them.
- Keep it Real – There’s a fine line, however, to making things interesting and embellishing the details too much. Be honest about you and what your company does. Don’t get carried away and represent yourself as a Fortune 500 company if you aren’t. Honesty goes a long way, and clients will not hire you if they think you are full of – well – you know.
- Keep it Client Focused – Your LinkedIn presence is there to present you to potential clientele, but it isn’t necessarily ALL about YOU. You need to think about your client when you are setting up your LinkedIn profiles. Your future clients want to learn what you can do for them, and while they will be interested in your credentials, graduating Cum Laude from university should not be the primary focus of your profile. Think about the questions your client is asking when they looked you up and make sure you’re answering them.
- Be Proactive – LinkedIn, much like other social networking pages, is meant to link you to others, so make sure you connect with as many people as possible. Your LinkedIn pages show your connections, and a client is going to be far more impressed with a proactive business connected to hundreds of other professionals, than a business with five whopping connections.
- Get Recommended – LinkedIn allows other professionals in the LinkedIn network to recommend you, and the more recommendations the better. Ask your colleagues to recommend your services, and offer to do the same in return. Again, you need to make a positive impression on your LinkedIn pages, and if you’re highly recommended by other professionals, potential clients will take notice. If you’re not recommended at all, they’ll note of that, too!
- Get Feedback – LinkedIn gives you the opportunity to include customer testimonials on your pages and you’d be foolish to ignore that. Written and video testimonials go a long way when earning the trust of new clientele, so go get ‘em! Don’t wait for your customer to send you the appreciative email. Follow up with your customers and get as many written and video kudos as you can to place on your LinkedIn page.
- Keep it Updated – You’ve gone to all this trouble to make sure you’ve addressed everything I’ve discussed in this blog post. Your picture is professional, your logo looks sharp, every URL link is perfect, and you’ve got more connections and testimonials than you can count. None of this will do you any good if you don’t keep your LinkedIn pages fresh and updated. Keep active on your profiles. Potential clients can see if your pages are stagnant and will assume that your business is stagnant, too!
Whether your business is small or large, looking for B2B or B2C clientele, social networking is a crucial piece of your overall marketing pie. Other websites might be more popular in the social networking “food chain,” but LinkedIn should never be ignored. This social networking site was designed specifically for professionals, and offers networking opportunities far beyond personal networking websites. Get those LinkedIn pages up and running, and make sure they make your business look good, not bad.
By: Max Zaron