Many businesses are simply unaware of the power of LinkedIn and it is growing all the time. The platform has increased its user base (rising to 530 million total members) and launched a set of new tools to help boost your business brand message so it’s worth taking note of these tools as you continue to plan your business communications and social media strategy for 2018 and beyond. Just a few years ago, LinkedIn was for the individual professional only. Company pages existed but they were rarely used to any great effect. Today, the situation is very different. While LinkedIn profiles are still important for working professionals, there is so much more potential for B2B business development through strategic use of the company page. It is worth spending time engaging with other users and building relationships, both nationally and internationally.
Now available to all users – but not yet available on company pages – the ability to post video to LinkedIn (native rather than linking to YouTube or other such platform) adds another option to your on-platform content circulation. This is a great opportunity to get creative with your content and – depending on your leaning – this is a time-saving alternative to creating written content. People can get to know you and your business through it too, promoting your brand and yourself, greatly. The capacity to post engaging video content is quite new to LinkedIn but many are using it frequently so by taking part you will directly speak to your customers/clients. Video has seen its numbers quadruple in recent months and it is proven to be more shareable and successful.
The best way to engage or otherwise add value to your prospective clients is by sharing information, answering questions and posting the latest news/updates from your industry. Showcase your business and involve your staff. Show people directly how you work and let them into your world, when done well, this will create more followers and potentially more business.
Just one word of warning, video might be king but it won’t work if you are uncomfortable, unprepared and self-conscious. If it is not your natural medium, then find ways to enhance your written content or images. Construction business in Ireland have been using this well, from drone footage of the site, to time-lapse videos and weekly building updates, not to mention professionally-edited presentations of the final product (think Microsoft!). Surprisingly, Irish estate agencies – despite having the perfect product – have been slow to latch on to this.
LinkedIn’s long-term publishing platform has gone through some significant shifts in its four years of existence and it is a great place to build your personal brand. By sharing an article, you are sharing your knowledge, expertise and capabilities to your professional connections, which inevitably, boosts brand awareness, reach, engagement and attention to you and your business. However, in the same vein as Facebook, LinkedIn has changed the way posts are distributed. Initially, all first-degree connections were informed when you published an article but then the notifications became annoying for users, and LinkedIn reduced them to selected individuals. This has understandably, greatly reduced the reach of your published articles.
LinkedIn Publisher posts will now only reach a select group of users, based on their previous response/reaction to your content. Their individual engagement and response will further improve your articles distribution to more connections. The drop in reach has affected many LinkedIn users, making them question their use of LinkedIn and its true potential as a content platform. Certainly, there is some experimentation required, this is a case of testing content and measuring the respond from your audience. Luckily, LinkedIn has measurement built in. Another advantage is the chance to be featured on one of the LinkedIn Pulse showcase platforms, which can give your content massive circulation. The posts you share regularly are linked to your profile allowing users to consider your expertise and knowledge before they contact you. Of course, reach is difficult, and some would prefer to work on other platforms that they deem useful but consistently good articles will usually gain interest and results. Engaging, smart and insightful content is a sure-fire way to set you and your business apart from competitors. Interestingly, unlike video, estate agents are embracing this, whereas, building firms are lagging behind. Very few engineering firms are circulating content on a regular basis but hopefully 2018 will be the year for them to start, particularly in this age of infographics and video, which is the best way to communicate technical information to a non-technical audience.
Most new users to LinkedIn join lots of groups (ten, twenty, thirty or more) and, within weeks, interest wanes and the constant stream of industry banter – even the relevant chat – starts to get overwhelming and people disengage at that stage. When that happens, these users are less likely to re-engage with groups, which is a missed opportunity. This year, rumour has it that LinkedIn is going to add new tools, improve navigation and notifications of activity, and video within said groups. LinkedIn groups have notoriously been a great way to network and build connections in your field, but some have reported spamming as a problem and cold-calling, with little return for efforts made. Perhaps, this year will improve on the old model that is currently in place as group interaction has many advantages if it is being used properly and professionally.
By Carol Tallon, Strategic Planning Director and MPRII at PropertyDistrict.ie, Ireland’s only PR & Communications agency working exclusively with members of the planning, construction and property industries. Mentors to the emerging Proptech sector.