LinkedIn is firmly ensconced among the “big 3″ social networks for marketing and business purposes, and though its base of 80 million members is far smaller than the 600 million users of Facebook, its impact in B2B marketing is larger. According to recent research, 32% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn to generate leads, versus just 16% who do so on Facebook. Nearly half of B2B marketers using social media view LinkedIn as an effective channel, while only one in three say the same of Facebook. 43% of employees at the largest companies in the US use LinkedIn for professional reasons, compared to 11% on Facebook. And on the buying side, a study from the ITSMA revealed that “LinkedIn is used by 58% of the respondents to find information or to talk to colleagues about solutions in the context of a purchase. Blogs represent 50%, Facebook 47% and…Twitter scores 41%.”
For anyone seeking to expand their professional network online, market to professionals, get advice from peers on business products and services, find a job, or hire the right candidate, LinkedIn has become an indispensable tool. So how can you get the most out of this business-oriented social network? How can you optimize your profile to be “findable” for the right phrases within LinkedIn? What new features should you get familiar with? What the best practices for professional networking, generating sales leads, connecting with potential business partners, sharing content and getting answers to tough business questions? Which common mistakes should you avoid?
Get the answers to all of these questions and more here in 21 of the best guides to LinkedIn tactics, tools and techniques of last year.
How to Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile
LinkedIn: Maximize Your Impact by Reciprocate
Karen Emanuelson shares a few LinkedIn demographics stats (more than 33 million U.S. members; a new member joins every second; 78% of members are college graduates) then highlights seven areas to optimize on your LinkedIn profile (e.g., title, websites, interests) and five ways to maximize your efforts there (e.g. participating in groups and answering questions).
Stephanie Frasco recommends having an SEO keyword-heavy profile, blogging, using applications and engaging in conversation among other practices for maximizing your impact through LinkedIn.
How to optimize your LinkedIn profile by Socialmedia.biz
Anthony Piwarun presents a detailed, step-by-step guide to optimizing various key areas of your LinkedIn profile (headline, summary, title) as well as other factors, shows what kind of results are achievable, and answers the question: is premium membership worth the cost?
How Can I Look Amazing On LinkedIn? by My Venture Pad
15 tips for how to look “amazing” on LinkedIn for what you do, among them: rearrange the order of items on your LinkedIn profile in order to stand out; always personalize your connection invitations; add slides or video to your profile; and recommend good books (that you’ve read) on your profile.
Guide to Optimizing Your LinkedIn Profile by Site Reference
For visual learners, Misti Sandefur provides a detailed, step-by-step, fully illustrated guide to keyword-optimizing your summary, specialties, interests, links and other profile components.
New LinkedIn Features
LinkedIn New Feature – Follow Company by Success CREEations
Chris Cree details how the “follow company” capability works on LinkedIn, while noting that rather than trying to incorporate every new feature under the sun (like a certain other popular social network), LinkedIn has been steadily adding new features, selectively, that fit with its corporate and professional focus.
LinkedIn Adds New Profile Sections by 10 Golden Rules
Tracy Antol explains five new profile sections added to LinkedIn late last year that provide even more ways to enhance your professional presence there. Among these are Publications: per Tracy, “This one is especially useful to my writer friends. Now you can provide links to your published works as part of your profile.”
LinkedIn Launches ‘Company Pages’ by MediaPost Online Media Daily
Mark Walsh reports on company pages, another new feature added by LinkedIn in late 2010. “The revamped profiles allow page administrators to highlight particular products or services and tailor product lists to different types of audiences. The new layout also lets companies feature product videos as well as targeted display advertising. LinkedIn members visiting Company Pages can also post recommendations and reviews of products or services.”
LinkedIn’s new company pages by eConsultancy
Pauline Ores expands on the reporting in the post above with a close look at the new marketing features of LinkeIn company pages, implementation considerations, and musings on what LinkedIn may or should do next to capitalize on the unique strengths of its business-focused social media platform.
Some Linkedin Tips & New Features From Talent Genius Ltd
Steve Smithson explains how the new LinkedIn Share Button, company recommendations and Signal features work, plus he offers a dozen helpful tips on maximizing your use of LinkedIn to promote your company such as utilizing LinkedIn Polls.
LinkedIn Tips and Best Practices
Anne Field helpfully identifies six common LinkedIn mistakes (and it’s not only small businesses who make these BTW) and the right approach to use instead, for example, overtly promoting your product or service (gauche). A better practice: “In group discussions, don’t ask questions or make comments that are obvious sales pitches. Instead, establish yourself as a key expert or resource by providing thoughtful, pithy observations.”
13 LinkedIn Mistakes You Should Avoid by New Grad Life
Continuing with the theme above, here are a baker’s dozen more common LinkedIn mistakes to avoid, among them: using the default “My Website” and “My Company” link labels instead of more descriptive custom text for those links, failing to join groups, and not providing—or asking for—recommendations.
Improving Your Search Engine Rank Using LinkedIn by CompuKol Connection
Michael Cohn offers seven tips for LinkedIn SEO, such as using keywords throughout your profile, updating your status at least once per week to keep your content fresh, and linking to your LinkedIn profile from your blog, email signature and other places.
Ten Ways for Small Businesses to Use LinkedIn by OPEN Forum
Guy Kawasaki follows up on his original Ten Ways to Use LinkedIn post from 2007 with an updated list, including uses like finding vendors for outsourcing services that aren’t your expertise, getting answers to tough business questions and sharing your blog content.
How to stand out on LinkedIn by iMedia Connection
Steve Patrizi, Vice President Marketing Solutions at LinkedIn, offers more than a dozen tips for standing out on LinkedIn, from optimizing your profile for LinkedIn’s internal search to finding experts to connect with to sharing your own great content (blog posts, presentations, etc.).
How To Use Linkedin To Generate Business by Search Engine Land
Writing that “If you provide B2B consulting, services or products, your options for social media are fairly limited, let’s be honest you probably won’t find many fans for your Facebook Legal Incorporation Services page. For these types of businesses, LinkedIn is a much better alternative,” Michael Gray provides tips on using your profile, groups, questions and answer, status updates and other LinkedIn capabilities to generate referrals and sales prospects.
3 Steps to Managing Your Reputation with Linkedin.com by MPower Philosophy
Marilyn Oliva provides a concise yet valuable guide to managing your online reputation with LinkedIn by completing and optimizing your profile, expanding your contact list and sharing information to build credibility.
LinkedIn Group versus Facebook Group by Search Engine Journal
Frequent best-of contributor Ann Smarty supplies a detailed head-to-head comparison between LinkedIn and Facebook across several criteria including privacy controls (bet you can’t guess who wins there!), promotion tools and networking features.
4 LinkedIn Tips to Help You Stand Out by Social Media Examiner
Noting the power of LinkedIn as a business networking tool, Linda Coles outline four ways to “use social etiquette to really make your LinkedIn connections valuable and stand out from the crowd,” including the proper ways to ask for recommendations and send a group mailing.
8 Tips to Get More Out of LinkedIn by Justin Levy
Observing that, “As with many things in life, what you get out of LinkedIn will only be as good as what you put in,” Justin Levy offers eight tips to get more value from LinkedIn, such as posting relevant, helpful information in your status updates (e.g. industry news, important announcements) and providing thoughtful, helpful answers to questions in your area of subject matter expertise.
The 9 Worst Ways to Use LinkedIn for Business by HubSpot Blog
For those who have no interest in succeeding on LinkedIn and want to avoid any chance of landing a new job or client there, Diana Freedman offers tongue-in-cheek recommendations such as leaving your profile blank, ignoring connection invitations and making sure you don’t link to your profile from your website, email signature or blog.