Big news. Microsoft recently bought LinkedIn for a whopping $26.2 billion, connecting them to what Forbes calls "the world’s most influential, specialized, highly read, constantly-updated digital media companies around." As part three of our LinkedIn blog series, I want to broadly discuss the value of engaging in social media, with some practical how-to's for participating in the LinkedIn community.
Why Social Media Matters
Why is your presence on LinkedIn so important? What's in it for you? There are a number of excellent reasons to get engaged, both from a personal and business perspective.
- Increased Visibility and Brand Recognition – Social media networks, like LinkedIn, provide new channels to share your voice and thought leadership, making you easier to find and more accessible and recognizable to contacts, clients, or customers.
- Higher Brand Authority & Loyalty – Interacting with your contacts regularly is a show of good faith for other contacts. The more people that are talking about you on social media, the more valuable and authoritative your personal brand will seem to new contacts. This also leads to greater loyalty.
- Better Search Engine Rankings – The more active you get on social, the more searchable you become – posts that are shared via platforms like LinkedIn rank higher because they prove to be good content. This is a form of link-building which is important in SEO.
- Improved Customer/Client Insights – Social media also gives you an opportunity to gain valuable information about what your contacts or customers are interested in and how they behave via social listening.
- Increased Inbound Traffic – Without social media, your inbound traffic is limited to people already familiar with your brand and individuals searching for keywords you currently rank for. Every social media profile you add is another path leading back to your site, and every piece of content you syndicate on those profiles is another opportunity for a new visitor. The more quality content you syndicate on social media, the more inbound traffic you’ll generate, and more traffic means more leads and more conversions.
- More Opportunities to Convert – Every post you make on a social media platform is an opportunity for customers to convert. When you build a following, you’ll simultaneously have access to new customers, recent customers, and old customers, and you’ll be able to interact with all of them. Every blog post, image, video, or comment you share is a chance for someone to react, and every reaction could lead to a site visit, and eventually, a conversion.
- Higher Conversion Rates – Brands become more humanized by interacting in social media channels. Social media is a place where brands can act like people do, and this is important because people like doing business with other people, not with companies.
- Decreased Marketing/Sales Costs – According to Hubspot, 84% of marketers found as little as six hours of effort per week was enough to generate increased traffic.
Establishing Your Voice on LinkedIn
As you begin to engage and publish content on LinkedIn, it's important to consider how you want to build your voice. Start by thinking about the networks you use in real life; LinkedIn can become an extension of these groups. However, you must be prepared to participate. Like any networking group, you've got to show up and be an active member. Prove that you're interested—you can do this by liking, commenting, and sharing.
Like and Share
If you see something you appreciate in your News feed (under Home) or company pages and Groups (under Interests), you might "like" or "share" it within your own networks.
To share, you need to choose who you're sharing with and add a comment. The more you're engaged, the more trustworthy you become. It's a simple way to provide value to your connections (and help highlight your expertise and connection to YourEncore).
The Art of Commenting
You can comment on posts directly in your News feed (click Home), or by visiting company pages and Groups (click Interests). You can also add a comment or update when you Share a post.
Commenting, like most things, has it's own form of etiquette. When you comment, you should keep the following points in mind.
- Keep it Professional – Content should be relevant to business; however, it can still be fun.
- Ask “Am I Adding Value?” – People care about finding solutions to their problems.
- Avoid Self-Serving Remarks – Your profile is for touting what you can do; comments/posts are for sharing thought leadership.
- Don’t Criticize or Offend – Negative remarks will turn others away. Help move the conversation forward by keeping comments respectful and insightful.
- Respond Promptly – Check LinkedIn or your email for new messages and replies to your posts.
- Take the High Road – It’s okay to be bold and encourage discussion, but keep in mind that your responses/comments live forever.
- Proof Read – Watch your tone, word choice, grammar, spelling, etc.
There are a couple of different ways to share your thoughts on LinkedIn. Your own profile offers two ways; you can "Share an Update" or "Publish a Post". The latter is for more detailed information; you can also attach a picture.
Additionally, you can post content to groups. To do this, you simply choose the group to which you want to post, and click on "start a discussion". You enter a title, and add your description. If you've got a link, copy/paste it, wait for the link to populate in your post, and then delete the link from your description. Finally, you click "Share" to publish it to the group.
Here are some helpful hints about posting content.
- Post/Share something once a day
- Post when people are working: Monday - Friday; morning/midday
- Industry insights are in highest demand
- Focus on a the topic(s) or themes you are passionate about
- Provide a status update, upload a document/image, or write a long-form post
- Add @name to link to your connections
- Use #hashtags to connect to trends
- If you use a hyperlink, delete the link after it pulls in your article to keep your post easy to read
5 Things to Remember About LinkedIn
In closing to this series, I want to leave you with five key points to remember about LinkedIn.
- Adjust your settings (prior to updating your profile).
- Find low-hanging fruit. Review and reach out to your 1st degree connections.
- The search bar is your friend. Learn to use it and the filters on the left sidebar to find the right people.
- Nurture your connections. Find ways to provide value through personalized outreach, prompt responses, and relevant content.
- Build trust and intrigue. Use your profile and social posts to tell a story about your expertise and what you can offer.
Your challenge for the week? Play around on LinkedIn! Follow YourEncore, update your profile and highlight your role as a YourEncore expert, and like, share, or comment on posts that are relevant to your category expertise.