The missing link? LinkedIn as a cornerstone to digital communications
• 4 minute read
With over 500 million members, LinkedIn is unrivalled when it comes to being the social network for professionals. Indeed, the platform is a powerful tool for maximising brand awareness and networking to drive business development. Whilst many companies have been quick to adopt LinkedIn, too many continue to underutilise the platform, mistakenly perceiving it as ‘not for them’.
Far too often, physical and digital networking are viewed separately when they should actually be used to complement one another. Digital networking can be used to ‘sandwich’ a physical touchpoint, whether a quick coffee meeting or a formal event. LinkedIn provides the opportunity to start relationship-building before an encounter as well as after, where LinkedIn can be the conduit for sharing a quick ‘thank you’ note or for sending across follow-up materials mentioned during the face-to-face.
Connecting with someone on LinkedIn is also the best way of ensuring you stay in touch in the long-run. Your profile and that of your company will give them a better understanding of who you are and what you do, and vice versa. This can be used to develop on anything discussed during a meeting and to provide a fuller picture of areas of interest which can, in turn, guide future communications. In the same vein, regularly updating your profile by posting and engaging with posts, including sharing and liking content, can generate conversation and potentially spark new fruitful connections.
There is also a ‘six degrees of separation’ element to social networking. We don’t tend to think of ‘going viral’ as a LinkedIn expression but the same compounding principle applies. If your connections share your post with their connections, your audience is expanding exponentially at just the click of a button. In this way, connecting with someone you’ve met in person can also encourage further referrals, with the new contact acting as an introducer (either online or in-person). Seeing which groups and communities your contacts engage with will also allow you to broaden your network and meet new people relevant to your industry. This is a powerful mechanism and when your entire team is sharing and engaging with content, the impact is magnified.
With this expanding network of people, LinkedIn is also useful for showcasing thought leadership and offers a chance to promote yourself as an expert within your field. Amplifying your content through LinkedIn will help impress existing clients and grab the attention of prospective ones. By providing valuable insights on the issues facing your industry, you will boost your credibility and demonstrate the value of connecting with you. LinkedIn is the ideal shop window for this.
The platform not only offers you a space to directly post thought leadership content, but it is also a great way to share or link external, third-party content that reinforces your expertise, such as media coverage. Sharing earned media coverage is a great opportunity to cement yourself as an expert, showing clients and prospects not only what you are saying but where you are saying it, demonstrating editorial validation.
Sharing coverage secured in reputable publications further enhances your own credentials and can help solidify your company as a respected brand. As a social network, LinkedIn is also useful in providing a platform for sharing content that otherwise may not have an obvious ‘home’. Perhaps the tone of the content doesn’t match with your website presence, but fits well with your LinkedIn page or groups you are a member of. This presents you with an extra space to publish a diverse range of content.
One of the additional benefits of LinkedIn is that it also provides excellent analytics tools to measure the impact of your activity. Analysing such metrics allows you to see which content has resulted in the most engagement. This information is invaluable for gauging what trends and issues are most popular; information that will no doubt prove useful in both online and offline networking situations and for informing further content creation.
LinkedIn can also be used as a platform for your brand, where you can convey a message about your core values through imagery and language as well as content generation. Strong brand awareness is crucial for making your audience familiar with the distinctive qualities of your business and for building trust with clients and prospects. Along with your website, LinkedIn will be one of the first ports of call for people looking to learn about your firm, so the content and imagery (both in terms of profile and cover image) on LinkedIn provide an excellent opportunity to communicate to your audience and make a good first impression.
At its core, social media is about bringing people closer together, and allowing connections to thrive regardless of geographical distance. LinkedIn is no different. Whether you are sharing your ideas with like-minded professionals around the world or convincing those with different views to consider your stance, it is about connection and communication.
With the number of LinkedIn users growing by the day, the pool of potential clients, colleagues and collaborators is only increasing. It is therefore paramount to make LinkedIn a cornerstone of your digital communications strategy.