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Thursday, May 24, 2012

25 Awesome LinkedIn Tips for B2B

In a lot of industries, when you say social media, people automatically think Facebook and Twitter—sites known around the world as some of the most popular, effective ways of engaging with prospects. But for B2B businesses, from custom food packaging companies to the makers of aparticle counter, it’s LinkedIn that is the real winner—the network whose users are mostly business professionals with a business mindset, where it’s easy to keep potential clients informed and where there’s great potential for attracting leads.

How can you make the most of LinkedIn for your B2B company?

Here are 25 tips to help you get the most out of it:

  1. Create a company account: In addition to your personal account, set up an account for your company on LinkedIn and connect with existing business associates and clients to establish a network of people who already know your brand and its products or services.
  2. Optimize your headline: Write your headline to emphasize the value you offer clients.
  3. Use keywords in your company description: Incorporate keywords into the description of your company on your LinkedIn page.
  4. Include your logo: Strengthen your brand by unifying your profile with your other marketing tools, including by using your logo front and center.
  5. Create a custom URL: LinkedIn gives you the ability to create a custom URL—optimize yours to include your brand name.
  6. Share your URL everywhere: Once you’ve established a custom URL, use it on all your marketing materials, from brochures to emails to your website.
  7. Build connections: Make sure all your employees are part of your company’s network on LinkedIn, and reach out to your existing contacts and customers to build your network with people who already know your company, its products and services.
  8. Make new connections: With LinkedIn Groups, you’re able to message other members even if you aren’t personally connected to them—take advantage of these connections in order to build your network.
  9. Ask for introductions: When you think it could benefit your business, ask your contacts for introductions to their contacts.
  10. Search: Through LinkedIn’s search feature, you can locate people (by industry, location, job title) and gain information about your industry.
  11. Make honest recommendations: Giving valuable recommendations not only benefits your contacts, but it also shows you have a spirit of goodwill and makes you seem trustworthy.
  12. Ask for recommendations: Having quality recommendations give a profile credibility with users and may help attract new leads for your business.
  13. Answer questions: Establish yourself as a leader in the field by answering questionsthat are relevant to your field.
  14. Ask questions: Just as answering a question can help establish you as thought leader, asking questions can engage prospects and expose more people to your company.
  15. Post status updates: Show your contacts that you’re active on LinkedIn by updating your status regularly—weekly if you wish to be included on LinkedIn’s update emails—and integrate important keywords.
  16. Make the most of links: Your LinkedIn profile will allow up to three links—use them to point to valuable sites with names that maximize SEO value.
  17. Link to your blog: Link to your company’s blog on your profile to increase its exposure, as well as to give contacts more info about your brand.
  18. Integrate with Twitter: Link up with your company’s Twitter account to maximize the power of your social reach.
  19. Join existing LinkedIn groups: Join the groups that are most relevant to your company’s services or products so you can keep up with what’s being said.
  20. Participate in groups: Post regularly in LinkedIn Groups with comments and responses, and post links because members will be likely to click through.
  21. Use groups to encourage blog commentary: Post links to your blog posts in groups, and ask questions that will encourage commentary on what you’ve written.
  22. Respond to messages: Set up your notifications so that you’ll receive newsletters in your email inbox, and respond right away.
  23. Use polls: Polls allow you to conduct market research with your LinkedIn network—then share results with your contacts.
  24. Advertise: LinkedIn offers paid advertising that can be targeted to the specific audience you choose—with perimeters able to be set based on geography, groups, job titles, gender, age, etc.—and conversion rates have been shown to be 122% higher than those on Google.
  25. Keep things current: As with any social media effort, it’s of vital importance that you keep information up-to-date. Let prospects see that you’re active on LinkedIn in order to encourage interaction.