Making your business all about the customer, requires a marketing approach that includes social media. The reason being, your customers are participating in social media on a daily basis, and most likely so is your competition. Making customer contact through social media platforms offers an inexpensive, real-time, and interactive way to communicate and get feedback about your company’s products and services.

One of the easiest places to start your social media efforts is probably LinkedIn. It is a great professional networking site and an influential tool to grow your business. Many of you hopefully have already put a company page on LinkedIn. But you need to do a little more than that to harness the real power of LinkedIn.

Here are some numbers to help you get a big-picture perspective of LinkedIn:

  • LinkedIn has 546 million users of that 146 million are in the U.S.
  • Three million users share content weekly on LinkedIn
  • Two new members join LinkedIn every second
  • Executives from all Fortune 500 companies are LinkedIn members
  • Average number of connections per LinkedIn user is 400

Now, here are some compelling business reasons to work a little harder in LinkedIn:

  • This is a great tool to differentiate your business from the competition
  • Manage your online reputation by highlighting your strengths
  • Generate leads for your company
  • Make connections related to your profession and industry
  • Find top-tier talent for your company

LinkedIn is pretty user-friendly, which means by devoting a small amount of time each week you can succeed at using this social media site as important marketing tool. Here are some tips to get you started and your company on marketing on LinkedIn:

Create a compelling profile. Add a photo. Statistics show that adding a photo to your profile makes you 36 more times likely to receive a message on LinkedIn. Even consider putting a video in your profile with your value proposition to help differentiate your company.

Complete the summary statement. This along with your headline are the most read aspects of your profile. People might not read your entire profile, but if you use relevant keyword search terms in the copy the search engine will pick it up and help you be “found” during searches. That means use up the 2,000 characters they give your for this section. Now you’ll show up not just for your company name, but for the type of work or products your company provides.

Create a company page. Just like your profile page, fill out your company page completely. Remember to include your logo, descriptions, and highlight key features and benefits.

Create additional showcase pages. Develop separate showcase pages as an extension of your company page that focus on a particular brand or initiative. LinkedIn members can follow that particular page and from a marketer’s standpoint this allows for segmentation. Be sure to provide specific content to this targeted audience that talks directly to what you’re highlighting.

Promote your company page. Encourage your employees to be your brand ambassadors on LinkedIn by connecting with your company page and showcase pages. If your goal is to quickly grow your LinkedIn community you may consider advertising by promoting a post or by sponsored content both which include a follow bottom making it easy for your target audience to connect with you.

Update your LinkedIn pages regularly. Use an app so your podcast, videos, and infographics automatically update your LinkedIn company and profile pages to keep them relevant.

Write or Share an article of interest about your industry/business on a regular basis.

Connect with clients, vendors, and colleagues. Every week send out invitations to connect with you and your company page.

Join and Participate in Groups. Join groups relevant to your business or industry, where you can add value. This is the place where questions are asked and you can demonstrate your knowledge by answering those questions you know.

Start your Own Group. Perhaps you’re not seeing your key membership represented and it would make sense to start your own group. Remaining active as a group leader, is a great way to stay visible.

You can do a little on LinkedIn everyday if you consider following this tactic: Every time you get an email, make a new sales contact or meet someone new – look them up on LinkedIn and ask them to connect with you. If you have the wherewithal personalize the invitation message to get an even better acceptance rate. And remember, the flipside is to respond in a timely manner to everyone who communicates with you.

More LinkedIn Resources: 

Gain Active Viewers on LinkedIn

How to Use LinkedIn Matched Audiences

LinkedIn Tutorial: Big Changes for Free Accounts