This post is brought to you by my friends at SocialMonsters.org.
LinkedIn has become one of the most important tools for HR department recruiters. Nearly nine in 10 recruiters use LinkedIn to source and vet candidates, over twice as many who use Facebook, a Jobvite survey found. LinkedIn provides an efficient, affordable way to find, contact, and screen qualified talent.
But LinkedIn also has many valuable uses for HR departments and their companies that go beyond recruiting. LinkedIn can be used to position your brand, build your network, and forge partnerships. Here’s a look at three ways besides recruiting that LinkedIn can benefit your business.
Establish Your Brand’s Social Profile
One valuable use of LinkedIn is serving as a platform to build your brand’s social profile. The LinkedIn platform includes a number of features that you can use to position your brand. LinkedIn provides an SEO-friendly description field that will preview up to 156 characters of text for search engines, with additional space for human readers to click to see more. You can include your company logo and a cover image to reinforce your verbal description. You can add showcase pages to supplement your main page by highlighting features about your company you want to emphasize.
You can also publish content that positions your brand in your market and appeals to your target audience. You can even add career pages that turn your page into a job posting recruitment portal. For an example of a brand that uses all these features of LinkedIn effectively, see the LinkedIn profile for Amway, which regularly publishes content to inform entrepreneurs about its direct selling business model and to attract job seekers to career opportunities.
Build Your Company’s Professional Network
LinkedIn is also a great tool for you and members of your company to build your brand’s professional network. There are four primary ways to build your network through LinkedIn, says personal branding coach William Arruda. The most fundamental step is to start reaching out to add others to your network. Start by adding people who are already on your contact list. You should then begin reaching out to their contacts and to connections suggested for you by LinkedIn, as well as accepting connection invitations from others. Set a goal of cultivating at least 500 contacts. Once you reach 500 contacts, LinkedIn stops displaying the number of contacts you have, only showing that you have over 500.
The most powerful LinkedIn tool for building networks is groups, says Arruda. Joining a group lets you connect with established networks and quickly make targeted, high-level connections. Once you join a group, you can introduce yourself and begin interacting with other members and liking and sharing content. You can also create your own groups. Used properly, LinkedIn groups can serve as a tightly targeted, highly effective promotional tool. For instance, automotive software company MPi boosted its webinar attendance by 20 percent by joining LinkedIn groups related to their target audience.
Forge Business Partnerships
Another powerful application of LinkedIn is using the platform to build business partnerships. For instance, let’s say your company offers graphic design services for companies with websites. By using LinkedIn to connect with IT firms who help companies build websites, you may be able to create a source of steady referrals and contract work for your company.
To find business partners on LinkedIn, IDW Publishing direct market sales manager Joel Elad recommends that you begin by researching potential partners to identify what common interests you have that can be used to build a relationship. Let others in your network know that you’re looking for partners as well. Cultivate introductions from members of your network, or use InMail to reach out with your own introduction.
LinkedIn is a great recruiting tool, but it also has other powerful applications that can benefit your business. Use the LinkedIn platform to establish your brand’s social profile, extend your company’s professional network, and build strategic partnerships. Leveraged properly, your LinkedIn profile can be your company’s most valuable social media asset.