Facebook is for customers — and LinkedIn is for job recruits, right? Not so fast. Many marketers try to make a clear distinction — and overlook the overlap between the two demographics. That's especially true for LinkedIn, the career networking site that counts 260 million members and roughly three million company-specific pages, many of which are devoted to hiring.
But consider this: Those 260 million members are also your real or potential customers. Here are some ways marketers can use LinkedIn not just to build an employer brand, but also to boost the company's brand.
1. Demonstrate value. Identify who your target audience is and give thought to the kinds of things they need to see to be engaged and perceive value. This means frequently posting good content that will appeal to your followers. The 80/20 rule is a useful guideline: for every five updates, post strictly value-driven content for four of them and post something business-related for the fifth.
2. Use your existing content streams. Not sure what content to post? Why not use content you have that has already proven popular on other social networks. For example, what content received the most retweets? What was shared on Facebook? As long as it is consistent with your brand message, sharing that popular content on LinkedIn can get you access to a whole new audience.
3. Don’t neglect your personal profile. Remember that, in terms of branding, your personal and business profile really are intertwined. Make sure your personal profile has a professional photo of you so that people are able to put a face to your name and so you are seen to be putting your best foot forward. Ensure that your profile is complete and that the overall message is in alignment with your company profile.
4. Create an information hub. Your company page gives you the opportunity to showcase your brand. Make sure that you include any logos and a banner image as well as a captivating description of who you are and what you do.
5. Showcase your products and services. The products tab is one of the cool features available for company pages, yet a surprising number of companies don’t use it at all. Why should a prospect choose you? Here is your opportunity to demonstrate the greatness of your products or services and it’s free!
6. Encourage colleagues/employees to connect. Your brand potentially has much wider exposure when colleagues and employees add their current position at your company to their profiles. Encouraging them to have complete and professional-looking profiles is also helpful for your brand image.
7. Participate in key groups. Identify key groups in which you want to establish yourself and your brand as an influencer. Participate in the conversations, always ensuring that you add value.
8. Connect your online platforms. It may seem obvious, but is your website connected to your LinkedIn profile? What about email signatures or newsletters? Get your LinkedIn profile out there so that you are more likely to connect with a wider audience.
9. Post regularly. Stats from LinkedIn indicate that companies who post at least 20 times per month will reach at least 60 percent of their audience. Frequency is the key so it may help you to develop a calendar or use a tool such as Hootsuite to schedule out posts.
10. Create sharable content. YouTube videos will play directly in LinkedIn feeds and according to LinkedIn statistics, result in 75 percent more shares. Content with images is also more eye-catching and likely to generate comments or shares. Again, it comes back to the value that you offer your audience.
11. Make use of sponsored updates. This was a feature added this year which really gives companies the opportunity to reach an audience further than their own followers. Similar to Facebook advertising or boosted posts, you are able to have your post seen by anyone or by specific segmented groups (probably best if you want more targeted followers).
12. Follow your analytics. The analytics feature of your company page really gives you the opportunity to refine your content. Keep an eye on which posts drive more engagement so that you can provide more similar types of content.
13. Increase reach. Similar to the reach from colleagues and/or employees updating their current position to your company, getting them to share your company page updates gives you access to all of their connections as well. Obviously, this is not something you can force people to do, but engaged employees are probably happy to share good content anyway.