The Importance of LinkedIn to your Social Media Marketing Strategy

Written by Robin WildingMarch 17, 2011

LinkedIn is a resume-based website for business professionals looking to network—or is it?

LinkedIn is probably the most underestimated and underused social media site on the web. They have over 101 million members, including executives from every Fortune 500 company. According to Alexa it is the most important social network after Facebook, Twitter and Flickr.

Yes—they are a force to be reckoned with. Every business should be leveraging LinkedIn in a social media marketing strategy.

Why use LinkedIn:

  • Influence: 50%+ are decision makers in their companies
  • Older crowd: 72% are between 25-54 years old.
  • Intelligent: 95% have a college education or higher.
  • Senior positions: 48.3% are middle management or higher.
  • Verticals: Huge networks of professionals in medicine, IT, finance, etc.
  • Vertical decision makers: 30%+ software decision makers, 22% hardware decision makers, 17% business consulting services decision makers, 16% IT consulting service decision makers, 13% Marketing services decision makers, 13% travel decision makers.
  • Heavy Spenders: 5%+ are heavy spenders on electronics, 25% heavy spenders on books, average personal income per user is $93,500, 24% have a portfolio vaule of 250K +
  • Business focused: when someone ‘friends you’ on LinkedIn they are trying to engage with you professionally.
  • Targeted: LinkedIn has huge geographic target markets.

Ways to Leverage LinkedIn:

Q&A to Build Credibility:
Any small to medium business looking to build presence and credibility in their field should be using LinkedIn Answers. LinkedIn Answers are used by the professional business community to find experts and to develop relationships. This tool is especially useful for small or medium sized consultancy businesses as many ‘answerers’ garner multiple new clients every month because of their participation in Answers.

Leads
Creating LinkedIn groups and profiles connects you with hundreds of decision makers. There is very little fluff on LinkedIn versus other social networks which means if someone joins your group they are interested in making a valuable connection—and over half of these users that you are connecting with are key decision makers in their businesses.

Targeted Marketing
When generating leads or creating a new LinkedIn campaign you can use the site’s advanced search functionality to search specific keywords, names, job title, verticals, companies, networks, geographic ranges, schools, education, industry experts, groups and interests.

Integration
You put a lot of effort into your social marketing on other sites like Facebook and Twitter—what you need now is to boost your web presence by linking all the profiles together. Via LinkedIn apps you can link your Twitter and Facebook accounts to your LinkedIn profiles, which allows you to automatically update your LinkedIn with activity on the other networks. This can be done via apps or hashtags. If you have a WordPress blog this can be integrated too.

Polls/Market Research
Social media marketers should be doing market research before beginning any campaign and LinkedIn makes this easy. LinkedIn Polls offers a great way to do market research within your own networks and within the LinkedIn community. Given that the LinkedIn community is made up of professionals, influencers and decision makers—this will be your most valuable market research tool in your portfolio.

Headhunting
LinkedIn has more professionals than any other network. It also includes resumes of professionals that are not even on the market which means the headhunting possibilities are endless. So, if you don’t have the money to use Google’s talent acquiring technique of buying the companies of the talent they want to hire, then LinkedIn is the next best way.

Build your Network
LinkedIn isn’t about connecting with consumers like Facebook or Twitter, it’s about connecting businesses. By building a professional-based network of vendors, clients, and associations you will increase your networking abilitiy. Building a network via LinkedIn doesn’t just happen online though as there are regularly hosted valuable industry events that you can invite and be invited to. Imagine being able to know which industry events your prospective clients will be attending, which executives will be there, and what those executives look like—priceless.

Know your Competition
Via LinkedIn you can keep tabs on your competition’s hires, fires, gains, losses, events, strategies, and more. If you are not monitoring your competition’s social media strategies—you should be.

Conclusion

LinkedIn is a business oriented network of decision makers, buyers, movers and shakers. The information that you can glean from competitive analysis, polls, and researching tools can improve your entire social media marketing strategy. Also your social marketing portfolio will be enhanced greatly via LinkedIn’s integration tools. LinkedIn IS one of the most important social networks for businesses.

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