Ch6 - LinkedIn

(NOTE: You can download a copy of this chapter in PDF format at the very bottom of this page.)



Social Media Marketing Primer

Chapter 6: LinkedIn



Introduction


Welcome to the Social Media Marketing Primer. If you’ve come across this material on its own – it has two homes – one is a site where you can download copies of the chapters or read them online, at http://tinyurl.com/casa-mktg - the other is a LinkedIn Group, Social Media Marketing Café, where you can discuss the material and ask questions: http://tinyurl.com/smm-cafe


In This Chapter


We’ll take a brief look at LinkedIn, and talk about how it can be incorporated into a social media marketing strategy, including looking at LinkedIn Pages, which can be created for a company or organization. We’ll also touch on LinkedIn Groups, and LinkedIn’s increasing options for advertising.


LinkedIn: To Do or Not to Do?


In general, establishing a presence on LinkedIn is probably most useful to a “B2B” company, where your customers are other businesses or organizations, including people who are potentially more likely to be spending time on LinkedIn. But I’d definitely say that as a social media marketer, as an individual, the priority might be for “you” to strengthen your own profile. For example, you can create a LinkedIn Group, such as the one that was created for this book – http://tinyurl.com/smm-cafe - and it can be a way for people to discuss a topic. But in order to build your own network, for finding work, or finding clients, you might want to search for and join LinkedIn groups, and work on adding examples of projects you to do expand your LinkedIn portfolio.


In other words, the suggested “pre-requisite” for considering LinkedIn as a social media channel would be to first get in the habit of strengthening your own presence. Not only will it help you with your career – but if you do end up getting involved in establishing a presence on LinkedIn for a business or organization, then people will most likely look at your profile – especially if you create or interact in LinkedIn Groups.


So my general, strong recommendation is to explore linkedin, maybe set aside a half hour at least once a month to look at your profile, build it up a bit – to just establish the habit of getting involved on LinkedIn – and work towards also thinking of LinkedIn when you create a new project or work on one; bringing the results back to post on your profile.


Then in terms of general social media marketing, I’d also recommend getting at least somewhat familiar with the options LinkedIn has for “B2B” social media, including how a company/organization page can be created, as well as looking at some of the advertising options LinkedIn has. It’s not strictly B2B (business to business) – there are plenty of companies and organizations who have at least some LinkedIn page presence, even if it’s passive. Increasingly, even in general and “B2C” situations (business to consumer), LinkedIn is used for recruiting, for posting jobs, etc. – so it’s a good idea to become familiar with it. And even if you’re in a larger organization, don’t “assume” anyone is managing LinkedIn – but as a social media marketer, you might be able to explore how it can be leveraged.


As with other channels, I think it’s important to consider ROI – but with LinkedIn in particular, it has become a default hub for businesses, non-profits and just about any job seeker to have a presence on, so at a minimum, just about any organization should have some kind of page, and someone making sure the information is accurate – and maybe even posting updates once in awhile, or at least jobs, opportunities, projects, etc. – the importance of this increases tenfold if your employer or client is a B2B entity, where people may look you up on LinkedIn as a company. And it’s also true that when people search on Google, it might turn up the company or organization page. So it’s just a good idea to keep an eye on it, and potentially leverage it.


For example, here’s an example of a familiar company, and their LinkedIn page:




.And just like other social networks, if you like, you can make posts, and provide updates:



Understanding LinkedIn


To understand LinkedIn, the best thing to do is get on it, and use it regularly. If for some reason you don’t have a LinkedIn account yet, I highly recommend it. And if you have one but don’t have many “connections”, I invite you to go on to a place like Vista Print, go for the free business cards (where you pay for “shipping only”), and consider making a business card with basic contact information, including your LinkedIn Profile link.


For example, mine is http://linkedin.com/in/tekelsey (and you’re welcome to invite me as a connection)


The reason I suggest a simple business card (even if you have an “official” one), is to just have some around, so that when you think of it, you can get in the habit of inviting people to connect with you on LinkedIn. You’ll also want to get in the habit of inviting people by email, such as colleagues at work, or clients, or alumni if you went to college. Don’t overlook relatives, neighbors, people you see each week.


The general value of taking a bit of time and expanding your network on LinkedIn, is that LinkedIn can be a helpful, very valuable tool for connecting to jobs and new clients. For example, you might want to contact someone to ask about a particular project, job, etc. – and “you” might not know them, but someone you know does, etc. – LinkedIn basically helps you to connect to people, and I’d argue that for many people, it has a more powerful, sustainable impact than facebook, in establishing networks.


But don’t be shy if you’ve never tried! Get on LinkedIn, get a gmail address if you don’t have one already (mail.google.com) – because Gmail rocks – and then learn how to use Google Calendar, and set yourself a monthly reminder to spend half an hour on LinkedIn. That’s my suggested way to get started.


To get on LinkedIn, go to linkedin.com, and sign up!

.

Creating a LinkedIn Page


Actually creating a LinkedIn page requires a few hoops to be jumped through. It’s not like creating a random website – it really does need to be official.


Having said that, if you’re learning social media marketing, I recommend considering creating a website for yourself, with an “official” website name, such as blahsocial.com/net/etc., and getting an “official” email address (you@blahsocial.com). In part, this will be helpful as an exercise in learning how to set up an Internet presence, period. In order to do this, I recommend exploring the least expensive website plans at places like godaddy.com and 1and1.com, and making notes, even calling up and talking to a live person, about the cheapest way to make a website with your own name and set up email.


For those who might like to try the “Google” route, and have the cheapest monthly cost, you can sometimes just register the website name (ex: blahsocial.com), including having email capability – but not use godaddy.com or 1and1.com for “hosting” the website. Instead, you can point the website name at a free service, like Google Sites. I also recommend taking a look at: strikingly.com, wix, weebly, and shopify. Partly, just to try them out, and after you’ve tried all the free ones, choose one for your “official” site. And also, try them to become familiar in case a client wants help in establishing an internet presence. Or if you’re at a larger company, it can still come in handy to know how to create a “microsite” based on a particular campaign.


So you might like to glance through this section, understand in general what a linkedin page might take for getting it started, and when you have your own official site, with official email, come back and try making a linkedin page.


To get started with making a linkedin page, see:


https://www.linkedin.com/company/add/show


If you try to “wing it”, LinkedIn will politely, refuse, if you try to use a gmail address, etc.:




Basically, LinkedIn is looking for an “official” website address, based on a website name, and official email address.


TIP: Even if you have an official email address, you can still check it “through” Gmail – I believe Gmail has the best, easiest, most flexible framework for searching/managing emails, as well as the best spam filtering. Basically you create a Gmail account, and then add additional emails in the Settings area. Also, Google has a product where you can have your own private Gmail interface, for an official website name. In other words, all the google tools, but under “yourname.com” – I worked at a startup that did this, and it was very helpful, because of all the collaborative tools, and the quality of the Gmail interface. Inquiring minds should look into Google Apps. It might very well be the kind of thing that a new client, a non-profit, or any sized business might be interested in for that matter. For example, many colleges are using Google Apps increasingly, so that students can use the Gmail interface for the school.edu address – and it can often be cheaper and less hassle for IT to manage a Google Apps account, than have to manage all the moving pieces of other email systems.


So eventually you’d end up entering something like this:




.And then you’d end up getting a confirmation email:


And you’ll need to confirm it.



There are standard pieces to starting a company page, such as having a logo (nudge nudge, read the chapter of this book on content and learn how to work with digital images, or go on 99designs and get a logo the crowdsourced way), and having some basic information.


Posting to the Page


So LinkedIn pages can be pretty straightforward, just go on and share an update.



And then, develop the basic information, so that you think of the LinkedIn page as a directory listing, in a way.


Something Really Interesting and Important


One of the interesting things to me is that a tool like Hootsuite, which we’ll look at in a later chapter, allows you to post simultaneously to multiple networks. So one time I worked at a startup, a B2B startup, and they wanted to actively engage across multiple social media channels. So I would make a blog post (nudge nudge, make a blog, see chapter 2), and that would be the central official place for new content. Then, using Hootsuite, I automatically posted to Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. So in the case of LinkedIn, it wasn’t that there had to be a lot of work put into it – but when the right pieces were put together, it was relatively easy to post content to it.



ROI Strategies


So how do you calculate ROI on LinkedIn? Technically, if you built up followers, you might post offers/deals once in awhile, and you could theoretically track what resulted. Another fair way to think about LinkedIn is as an outlet for PR, or just another way to build credibility with relevant content – especially in a B2B setting, where developing learning content, and sharing it on social, can be a way to help people learn about relevant topics, and boost credibility.


But LinkedIn also has advertising, and in some cases, especially in a B2B setting, the overall cost of a product or service might be higher. I’m not tracking or analyzing the particulars of cost, but in general, LinkedIn ads could end up being more costly than general ads on Facebook or Google – and it’s because it is a highly focused, business audience. So because you might stand to gain more from a successful sale in a B2B setting, there’s probably more appetite in that context to pay for the ads.


As a learning experience, you might like to try making ads on LinkedIn:


https://www.linkedin.com/ads/


LinkedIn has a few different options and value propositions:





Learning More


Unfortunately, LinkedIn’s help section leaves a bit to be desired, making the mistaken assumption that you necessarily know what questions to ask, rather than having an easy to find Getting Started section. However, this link is worth exploring in relation to pages specifically:


https://www.facebook.com/help/364458366957655/


This link also has some general information that’s worth reviewing:


http://business.linkedin.com/marketing-solutions/company-pages/get-started.html




Personal LinkedIn Development


I also recommend taking a look at these links, to get more information on how to build your own LinkedIn presence:


http://jobsearch.about.com/od/linkedin/ss/linkedin-profile-tips.htm


http://www.inc.com/janine-popick/5-easy-steps-to-get-started-on-linkedin.html


http://www.powerformula.net/free-resources-for-learning-linkedin/



There’s also a few scattered resources in the new LinkedIn help area:


Do you offer any LinkedIn Learning Webinars?

https://help.linkedin.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/530


How can I use LinkedIn to my advantage?

https://help.linkedin.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/398/related/1


Conclusion/Discussion


Thanks for reading! I do think LinkedIn is an important tool for social media marketers, including building your own presence, and understanding how to set a company or organization up with their own page. If you intend to do freelance, this can also be a service – in other words, something that may be overlooked, or something you could do for a local business or organization to get experience.


And don’t forget to try LinkedIn Groups! For example, http://tinyurl.com/smm-cafe


You might also want to search for other social media discussion groups on LinkedIn – it can be a nice badge on your profile, and also a way to learn about new things.

Invitation


You are welcome to visit and join the LinkedIn Group at http://tinyurl.com/smm-cafe - if you want to come on and say “huh?” or if you would like to set me straight on something, or just have some feedback.


Remember, there are NO DUMB QUESTIONS. If you have the question, someone else surely also did.




(NOTE: You can download a copy of this chapter in PDF format at the very bottom of this page.)

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Todd Kelsey,
Jul 25, 2014, 7:57 AM
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