Of all the major social media networks, LinkedIn is the only one dedicated to strictly professional interactions.
It was founded in late 2002 by Reid Hoffman, a veteran of PayPal, and a few of his former PayPal co-workers. It went live in 2003.
In 2016, it was purchased by Microsoft (its largest purchase ever) for over $26 billion.
LinkedIn has become the online meeting place for professionals.
If you want to connect with other professionals, search for decision makers or evolve your knowledge about your industry, this is the one platform you cannot ignore.
There are an estimated 467 million people with a profile on LinkedIn right now. Nearly 60% of the traffic LinkedIn receives is mobile. And over 70% of the users who access this platform are based outside of the United States.
You will find Fortune 500 executives on LinkedIn. You will find the bakery down the street on there too.
It does more than get you connected to other professionals. LinkedIn can also be used to help your business fill open positions with high-quality candidates.
That’s why having a presence on this professional network is so important today. Here’s how to use the platform successfully.
Start with Your Personal Profile
There are two separate (but connected) profiles you’ll want to maintain on LinkedIn as a business owner. Your personal profile and your Company Page.
You must have a personal LinkedIn profile with your real first and last name.
If you do not have a LinkedIn personal profile, you will not be permitted to complete the necessary steps to create a Company Page on the site.
Even if your goal is to create a Company Page only, you must create a basic personal profile first. Your personal profile will then be associated with the business profile you eventually create.
When you sign-up initially for LinkedIn, you’ll automatically be prompted to set-up your personal profile. (You’ll even see a ‘score’ based on the completeness of your profile.)
Because this is a professional social media platform, your full name (not your nickname) and a professional headshot which reflects your current position should be used to establish your profile.
This bears repeating: be complete, accurate and professional. Don’t use nicknames. It doesn’t make the right impression on LinkedIn and makes you less searchable–a key benefit to being on the network.
LinkedIn’s not only a networking platform, it’s also a searchable database.
The same goes for initials. Paul Smith instead of P. Smith.
And don’t put a company logo or cartoon image in place of your headshot (or leave it blank). This is a professional networking site and people want to see a face when they’re networking.
If a profile does not include an image, it is viewed less frequently than profiles with these basics included.
Create a Background Image
You’ll also be able to add a background photo to your personal profile. This is a space at the top of your profile where you can promote your company or simply add an elegant design.
Richard Branson is currently using his background image to promote his new book.
LinkedIn profiles include a professional headline which lists an individual’s current position underneath their name. It automatically defaults to your current position in your work history.
You can also customize it as a way to gain extra visibility for yourself and your business. To optimize this component of the profile, it’s important to note how you are different than everyone else.
Think about who your ideal prospect will be, then express what value you offer to your profile readers. It’s important to avoid creating confusion here. Keep your statement smart, simple, and informative.
Personalize Your URL
When you edit your profile, there is an option to personalize your URL–the web address of your profile. Rather than ending in a string of random, meaningless numbers, you can have it include your name.
For instance: https://www.linkedin.com/in/rbranson/. If you’re going to include your LinkedIn profile on your business card and other materials, a personalized URL is nice to have.
Find the URL to your public profile and then click the Edit link to the right of it. You’ll find this option underneath where you’d add your websites and your Twitter feed.
Once you request to edit the URL, LinkedIn will take you to an update screen.
To complete your profile, you’ll also want to fill out your educational and work background and complete a Summary. You might also want to include awards and recognitions and perhaps upload papers or media presentations.
Your Summary will appear toward the top of your profile–it’s very visible. Make it engaging and personable. Again, this is a networking platform for human beings.
One final note: LinkedIn is a searchable database, as we’ve noted. Keywords in headlines and summaries can help your profile be found by searchers. But don’t go crazy stuffing them in–the most important thing is to make a strong impression on the person actually reading your profile.
Next: Setting Up Your Company Page
Once you’ve met the necessary personal profile requirements, LinkedIn allows you to create a Company Page by following these steps.
- Click on the Work icon. It is located in the upper right corner of your LinkedIn screen.
- Click on the “Create a Company Page” link.
- Enter your company name. This will become part of your initial URL. All Company Page URLs from LinkedIn follow the same template: linked.com/company/[your company’s name]
- Verify that you are authorized to create a company page with your position.
- Click on the Create Page button. You will be asked to add, then verify, your email address if you have not completed this step on your personal profile.
- Click on the Get Started link to begin editing the Company Page.
Your Company Page gives you a number of places to use images. You’ll want to upload a high-quality image of your logo.
And as with your personal profile, you’ll have an opportunity to add large banner images as well.
If you choose to add Showcase pages and Career pages (see below), you’ll have opportunities to add even more images.
A strong visual presentation is important on LinkedIn today. Make sure your company page has lots of pictures to drive engagement.
LinkedIn offers specifications for image sizes.
Business pages have an “About Us” section that gives you some room to tell the story of your brand.
Many businesses use this section to give people a brief overview of their business presence in the world today instead.
Customers today are not interested in the fact that you have a company presence in 38 different countries or complete a sale every 12 minutes throughout the day. They want to know how you can meet their needs.
That means your story must show people how you solve their problems.
Talk about why the company was founded in the first place. Discuss the value that your goods or services provide to your targeted demographics. Be serious. Be funny. Whatever best reflects the message of your brand.
Then keep it short.
Most people will not click on the “Show Details” button to read an extended profile bio. Three precision sentences should be good enough to get your point across.
You cannot publish your Company Page until you have completed this section. You have up to 2,500 characters of space to use.
Your business page will list all the connections made on LinkedIn to let people see the personal profiles of people who work at your company.
A small section in the initial profile lists the number of connections which work at your company, plus includes a link to let people see all the employees which may mention your company.
As you scroll down, there will be three connections which are featured on your business page.
Users are given the option of messaging these people if they wish. It is important to keep tabs on who is featured on the top page because of this messaging feature.
If you have someone who is disgruntled with your company for some reason, having them be featured as the face of your company on LinkedIn creates the potential for a difficult future conversation.
Your company can create niche pages off the primary company page. This allows you to promote a specific product or service to targeted personas.
Individuals can follow individual Showcase Pages without following your main business page.
The goal of this feature is to build relationships on the platform. You can use it with sponsored content or InMail if you wish. It can even be used to display advertising.
Just go to the edit link on your company page. Scroll down the menu and you’ll see a create option for a Showcase Page. Then follow the same steps to build it up, so that it can complement your brand.
This option allows you to add specific apps to your Company Page which enhance the user experience.
You can setup poll questions to ask, get your blog posts added to your page, or improve the mobile experience.
Third-party apps are also available. If you do use apps, make sure the app is using OAuth 2.0, as all 1.0 apps will no longer work with their API.
Company Page Analytics
One of the advantages that comes with the creation of a Company Page on LinkedIn is access to site-specific metrics.
All of the data you need to determine if your efforts on this platform are successful can be generated for you in just a couple of clicks.
Just go over to the Analytics tab. You’ll be able to track unique visitors, the total number of page views, and a breakdown of LinkedIn members who are visiting your page.
The provided analytics help you to discover who your LinkedIn audience happens to be.
You’ll be able to see member visits based on their listed industry, what their job function is, and by their associated active company.
To maximize the results you’re able to achieve, it is important to turn on the status updates for your company.
This turns your company page into a resource that is similar to other social media platforms. You can post links, updates, and useful information which engages your community.
You’ll be able to track comments generated by your status updates and other forms of interaction.
The indirect approach here is quite effective. You can also take a direct approach and speak with specific people as a brand if you wish.
It is much easier to identify people who have similar interests and may wish to engage with your brand.
There are 6 unique platforms which allow you to increase the reach and exposure of your brand on LinkedIn as well.
Using Career Pages for Your Company Page
Once you’ve finished the work required to establish your initial business profile on LinkedIn, you can enhance the experience for visitors by using Career Pages.
The goal of Career Pages is to attract great talent to your company.
You’re able to provide specific audiences with a customized glimpse at your culture, open positions, and overall organization with this feature.
There are advantages to this enhancement.
You are allowed to customize your hero image, your overview tab image, company photos, and custom module images when you choose career pages.
Once completed, you’ll create tabs for “Life” and “Jobs” that appear on your overall company profile.
Filling Out the Life Tab
LinkedIn provides businesses with a number of different ways to fill out the Life tab for their Company Page.
- Company photographs.
- Company leadership.
- Customized modules.
- Employee perspectives.
- Internal cultural insights.
At first, you’ll be asked if you want to create a non-targeted page. If you select this option, then your content will be classified as generalized information.
If you select no, then you can still allow non-targeted users to see the page. It’s one of the next options to choose.
You’ll be able to add specific languages, geographic locations, and job functions to create a specific audience for your Life tab.
Once you choose each setting, LinkedIn’s targeting tool will let you see how big your potential audience happens to be.
If your audience happens to be somewhat small and you’re not a niche industry, then you may have inadvertently created targeting criteria that are too specific. Try to generalize some of the settings to expand your reach.
Then choose the company leaders that are on LinkedIn for your business.
You’ll be presented with a drop-down box that auto-fills people based on the name you type. Each person added will appear underneath your uploaded primary image.
Then be sure to update your custom module spotlights on this page. This is a chance to further the story you created with your company bio from your Company Page.
Your brand is permitted up to 2 URLs with the spotlight section to use this information as part of your sales funnel.
You have the option to turn the visibility of this page on or off at your discretion.
Once you uploaded or updated all the information in this part of the Life tab, click on the publish button and you’re ready to go.
To update employee perspectives in the Life tab, you must have a minimum of two articles, with a maximum of three published, from content shared by employees connected to your company.
You can choose to add these perspectives by pasting the direct URL link through the Employees Perspectives section within the Life tab management navigation.
Filling Out the Jobs Tab
With the Jobs tab, you can offer viewers personalized employment recommendations.
This provides each visitor with the insights they may need to determine if they would be a good fit at your company.
You must upgrade to the Career Pages to have this tab become available. Then you must post a job on LinkedIn.
When you post the job, you need to choose your company name during the process. Doing so will associated the employment opportunity with your Company Page.
One of the best features of the Jobs tab is that it includes a search mechanism to find your employment opportunities. Visitors can search specific terms to quickly see if you have an open position they could fill.
There is an automatically-populated section under this tab that reads data collected from your current employees with a personal profile on the platform.
It offers statistics about the employees who work for your company. You do have the option to limit its visibility.
How to Post a Job on LinkedIn
One of the best benefits of having an active Company Page on LinkedIn is the ability to post a job.
You can use this platform to create job postings for the positions you have at your organization at any time.
That process gives you access to interested job seekers and potential candidates from around the world.
It’s an important part of the LinkedIn profile. 87% of active and passive candidates are thinking about a new job opportunity right now.
That’s because the main reason why people decide to change their job is to create a better career opportunity for themselves.
Posting a job on LinkedIn is a pretty straight-forward process. Here are the steps to follow.
1. Click on the Work icon in the upper right.
Then select Post a Job from the menu that appears.
2. Provide the necessary information.
You’ll be asked to list your company name. Then you’ll be asked to provide a job title.
A list of suggestions will appear as you type to standardize the process. Choose the one that best meet your needs. Then fill in the location information. Click the Continue button when finished.
3. Select your job functions.
You’re given the option of choosing three job functions and company industries.
Selecting these will provide more information depth about the open position and give you more keyword targeted search options from job seekers performing generic searches.
4. Choose your seniority level and employment type.
LinkedIn will autofill these options for you, based on the type of job you are listing. They don’t always get it right.
Double-check them and click on the drop-down option if you need a better description.
5. Enter your job description.
Fill out the complete job description, just as you would for any other listing platform.
6. Choose how people can apply for the position.
You can opt to have candidates apply for your open position with their LinkedIn profile.
LinkedIn will then collect those applications and notify you by email when people apply. This gives you an option to keep your email address private from initial applicants.
You’re also permitted to send people to an external website to apply.
7. Refine the job posting.
You can add more information to the listing to limit the number of under-qualified candidates who apply for your position.
You can list specific skills that are needed for the position, the amount of experience you’ll require, and what education expectations you have.
It is important to remember that job listings on LinkedIn are not free. The platform has moved away from flat-fee listings to a pay-per-click model.
You’ll be asked to set your budget before you can have your job posting go live.
That means you’ll need an approved credit card associated with your business account. LinkedIn will then charge up to 1.3 times the amount of your daily average budget.
For those setting a daily budget of $20, then the most LinkedIn will charge you on a single day is $26.
Over the course of 30 days, an active listing would then have a maximum charge of $780.
You will be charged monthly for your job postings, with some exceptions.
LinkedIn will charge you immediately if your total balance reaches $500 or more before the end of 30 days. You will also be charged immediately if all job postings are closed or suspended on your business account at the same time.
You are permitted to change your daily budget at any time.
8. Enhance your job posting.
Once you’ve reviewed your job posting and added a payment method for it, you can further enhance the listing to collect targeted application.
You have an option to show your profile summary within the job posting. The skills section will let you add options that are auto-filled from your job description.
Then you can select a job title from a search perspective that makes your listing easier to find without changing the title of your listing in the post.
9. Add compensation information.
Don’t forget this final step. If you do not add compensation information for the job you’ve posted, then LinkedIn will publish an estimate for you that is based on their Salary Explorer data instead.
Once you’ve finished, LinkedIn will confirm that your job is posted.
You’ll receive a list of recommended matches from profiles on the site. You can then send free InMail to those who come recommended.
Then be sure to share your job posting on all your other social media platforms to maximize your overall reach.
Growing Your Personal Visibility, Connections And Prospects
On LinkedIn, when you create a professional relationship, you’ve created a ‘Connection.’ Obviously, Connections are valuable. (These are like ‘friends’ on Facebook.)
You want to grow your professional network of Connections. But you don’t want to do it in a spammy way.
You want to build your visibility and influence. Here are some good ways to do that.
This tool is a lot like Quora but is platform-specific and used with your Company Page. You can choose to ask a question if you wish.
The benefits come when you’re able to give relevant advice, as a brand, to users who have already asked a question. When you provide helpful knowledge, you’re creating the foundations of a potential relationship with everyone who sees your post.
Groups on LinkedIn offer people a chance to connect with one another outside of the usual search-and-find options provided by other social media platforms.
You can choose to join a group or start a new one with your brand. There is a conversations page which allows for active and immediate participation in available discussions.
You can even send messages to members for free if you need to speak with someone.
This option allows you to search for a specific company or person. It is part of the search box you’ll find in the header of your profile.
It lies to the right of your inbox and news. You can find specific people, create introductions, form professional networks, and much more.
It’s also a good way to form first- and second-connection links with your co-workers. Remember to let them know you created a Company Page too!
You can do more than advertise job postings on LinkedIn. You can advertise the content you’ve published for your brand as well.
The process is about the same as it is for Google Ads.
Just write your ad copy, create a good headline, then add the link you want people to click on.
It is important to remember that it is a PPC campaign, so you’ll pay for every click that is generated, whether you get a sale or not.
The LinkedIn Mobile App
Use the mobile app for LinkedIn to make contacts with others when you’re out and about.
If you attend a seminar, go to an after-hours event, or are on a business trip, you can just bump your phones together to share personal details with one another.
That makes sharing information much easier and you’ll be able to build your professional network in no time at all.
LinkedIn has an increasing focus on publishing content recently. It’s designed to drive engagement and usage time.
In fact, when you visit LinkedIn now, you’ll automatically see your ‘feed’–articles selected for you based on your professional interests, industry and Connections. You’ll also see articles by individuals you choose to follow.
The great thing is that you can be part of other’s feeds by publishing articles on LinkedIn. Consider re-publishing articles from your blog on the platform.
When people visit your personal profile, they’ll see snippets linking to your recent articles.
Some Final Thoughts On LinkedIn Benefits
The #1 reason why LinkedIn becomes an ineffective tool for businesses is that they allow their profiles and Company Pages to be inactive.
Infrequent updates, or zero updates, creates a lack of interest in your business.
You don’t need to be posting every day to create attention for your Company Page. You should post on a regular schedule that is predictable.
It is also important to remember that LinkedIn users prefer content over advertising.
Offering valuable content will always win people over. If you connect your paid campaign to valuable content that users find interesting, then you will have an effective way to begin building an audience.
Try to join groups to engage in conversations when you can as well.
LinkedIn is a wonderful platform that allows you to grow publicize you and your company to connect directly with prospects and talent.