The world of social networking is growing all the time, but for B2B professionals there really is only one place to be; LinkedIn.
Using professional social media is unique. Many of the things that are acceptable on websites like Facebook or Twitter are downright dangerous on LinkedIn.
When you are using LinkedIn for business, there are some really important things to be aware of. This article will help you to avoid making grievous errors on LinkedIn, and possible damaging your lead generation prospects.
1. LinkedIn Is Not Facebook
Given the similarities between the formats, you could be forgiven for thinking that using LinkedIn is like using Facebook.
Treating LinkedIn like Facebook is roughly the same as showing up to the office on a Monday morning with an open can of beer while still dressed for bed.
Totally unprofessional and will make a negative impression on your network.
What this means from a practical perspective is that when you post on LinkedIn, your message should be concise and business-appropriate.
I just supervised phase one of new product roll-out for Exgen, great job team!
Just got to work and the bathroom is a mess, WOOF!!! :(
2. LinkedIn Is Not For Venting
Social media has become a place for people to vent their frustrations. If you bring this attitude to your business LinkedIn account you will become a pariah. No one wants to hear about the problems in your life in a professional setting.
When you post to LinkedIn, pretend you are addressing a meeting where important clients and decision makers are present. Do you really want to bring up personal things that aren't flattering?
No. You want to keep your message short, direct and positive.
Second tier of the marketing plan is coming together, ahead of schedule and looking great.
What is going on Anne?? Come on get your act together, this is soooo pathetic!
3. Do Not Use LinkedIn For Direct Marketing
People don't join LinkedIn so that you can push your company on them. It is all about networking, not direct sales. If you look at LinkedIn primarily as an email or lead list, you will get nowhere.
You want to create allure and image with LinkedIn. If you get a group of LinkedIn contacts and start to spam it with “salesy” communications, pushing yourself or your service on people, they aren't going to react well.
The image you would be creating is that of the cheap sales person, who uses tactics as opposed to relationship building.
LinkedIn can yield tremendous leads for your company, but they will come from a positive image you create and the relationships you nurture, not from a direct marketing push.
Just picture a giant “No Sales” sign on the front page of LinkedIn.
4. Don't Be Anonymous
LinkedIn is a place to post carefully crafted content to project a professional image. You want to be very open and give a lot of detail, so people can really connect with you and your company.
But all of that information has to be professional and relevant. So when you add a picture, make sure it is a good quality photo of you in a professional setting, or an image relevant to a product or service.
The same thing goes for the additional information that LinkedIn lets you post. If your business is involved in charities or community causes then list them. This is one ‘personal’ area that is great to share.
In fact, if you don't do any sort of charitable or community activity, now is a good time to start.
Building up a good image on social media is a great professional tool. Be sure to take lots of pictures while you are volunteering or engaged in corporate social responsibility (CSR), and cover social media with them!
5. Don't Be Political On LinkedIn
Unless you work for a political party or think-tank, LinkedIn is the last place you should show your political affiliations.
‘Virtue signalling’ is common on Facebook, but people can be really touchy about politics. Taking a stand on a political issue is a sure way to alienate professional contacts on LinkedIn, even if they agree with you in principle. The goal of LinkedIn is to gather connections and build relationships.
Using politics to do that is dangerous, and can do a lot of harm.
Avoid politics on LinkedIn like the plague. If you have a lot of shared connections between LinkedIn and Facebook, be aware of the risk to your professional image from Facebook-based rants.
You need to cultivate an overall, non-partisan business image, and LinkedIn is just a part of that.
Learn more about how LinkedIn can work for your business with these great articles:
Keep It Professional
Using a business LinkedIn account is a great way to nurture leads and build new connections.
But you need to be polite, professional and politically correct. Don't go there with the attitude that you can say or do what you want because you are on social media.
Your business can use LinkedIn to great effect, whether those effects are positive or negative are up to you.
LinkedIn marketing works best as part of a larger strategy that includes other digital marketing methods. To find out more about what this looks like in practice, please get in touch with one of our advisers for an informal chat.