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Leveraging LinkedIn for marketing success

More than two million business professionals have joined LinkedIn over the past nine months, making the total number of users in the UK total nearly six million.

Earlier in the year, before its successful IPO, LinkedIn announced that 100 million users worldwide are now using the professional networking site.

LinkedIn can offer significant business development opportunities. It is a perfect B2B marketing platform and can enable users to easily connect and engage with the major players within the construction industry.

Get connected with your industry peers and target audience

By using the in-depth search functionality, you can quickly find people, companies and groups that are relevant to your industry. You can connect to the people, follow the companies and join the groups.

Once part of a LinkedIn group you can start a discussion, participate in someone else’s conversation and share your marketing wares.

LinkedIn enables you to become part of relevant construction industry groups. If you take the time to engage within groups, you can quickly become a thought leader and gain new relevant connections.

Optimise and update your company profile

LinkedIn has progressed over the past year and now enables you to showcase your organisation and your products and or services, rather than just a personal CV of your own work.

A company profile on LinkedIn will show against each employee that has linked themselves to the company. If your employees are active on LinkedIn - sharing, engaging, participating - then there is the potential to reach thousands of relevant users on a day-to-day basis.

The company profile on LinkedIn is a powerful tool that allows your clients and contacts to recommend your company’s products and services (different to a personal recommendation).

The profile should, therefore, demonstrate an in-depth portfolio of your organisations products/services and a showcase for your marcomms materials, such as:

  • Videos
  • Case studies
  • Presentations
  • Capability document PDFs
  • Brochure/white paper PDFs

Link to your website and blog, as this will drive relevant traffic that can be analysed in your analytics account. A well-optimised company profile on LinkedIn will enable industry professionals to share your online marcomms and point users to your site.

You should link your personal and company profile to your other social media profiles. LinkedIn enables you to draw in the feed from your Twitter account and your company blog, so that it is quick and easy for those that follow your company to see and share your marketing messages.

Join in the conversation

Don’t use LinkedIn as a blatant sales tool; use it to demonstrate your expertise. Ask questions: “Can anyone recommend a UKAS-accredited inspection laboratory in the North-west?” or “What is the best CRM system for the construction industry?”

Once you are interacting in groups by participating in discussions, recommending, reviewing and sharing information with others (including those that you are not connected to) others will recognise that you are an expert in your field and will value your opinion.

Track & monitor competition

LinkedIn offers several insights into your competitors. Follow the company profile - you can see what their employees are doing, who they are talking to and what they are sharing. You can view their marcomms materials and how they are using LinkedIn for marketing purposes.

Of course, it’s up to you how you leverage such information, but it can help formulate your marketing and business development strategies.

Kirstie Colledge is a committee member for CIMCIG (www.cimcig.org) and managing director of SMPR (Simply Marcomms PR), the online PR and digital communications agency for the construction industry

 

Readers' comments (1)

  • contractjobs.com

    Apply for your next IT contract job with the new LinkedIn plug in!
    LinkedIn has launched a new plug in, ‘Apply with LinkedIn’, which turns a profile into an instant CV, allowing contractors, freelancers and job hunters to put themselves forward for positions with a single click. The plug in can be embedded on the company website and customised with minimal effort - more than a thousand companies, including Netflix, Tripit, LivingSocial and Photobucket are participating in the launch by including the Apply with LinkedIn button on their website. This news will be of interest to contractors working in or looking for IT contract jobs or other UK contract jobs as it has the potential to make the application process much simpler.
    The new plug in will allow applicants to share their public profile with a potential employer and let contractors and freelancers to apply directly to the company, rather than filling out lengthy application forms and regularly updating and tailoring a CV to a specific role.
    Jonathan Seitel, LinkedIn’s technology project manager explained the plug in from the perspective of the applicant: Apply with LinkedIn will show the contractor the job description alongside a description of the company, and once you click the button, it will allow you to make changes to your profile in real time. Once you have applied, LinkedIn will show you your professional connections that work at the company to help you gather more information about the role whilst increasing your chances of getting hired through a referral; statistics show referrals to be an incredibly powerful tool as the number one source of external hires at companies and may find you your next IT contract job.
    LinkedIn members will be alerted to job openings through their professional connections and their membership to groups – members can then apply for the position or share the opportunity with others who may be interested in the role. LinkedIn’s marketing director, Laurence Bret-Stern maintains that “people trust their connections to make purchasing decisions, and people trust their connections to make job or career decisions. Recommendations from peers or connections about jobs going should increase the number of [suitable] applications”.
    The Apply with LinkedIn’ plug in gives companies a “360 degree view of the candidate”, according to Deep Nishar, LinkedIn’s senior vice president of products. Employers can see how applicants interact on social networks, what information they choose to share, how they answer questions and how they behave in a professional online environment.
    What’s more, is that all applications made through the Apply with LinkedIn plug in are recorded in the ‘Saved Jobs’ tab, so you will have a record of all the jobs you’ve applied to around the web, throughout your career.
    It is hoped that this will encourage those currently working on projects and not actively seeking a new role to consider applying for something new. Hearing about a position from a trusted connection, colleague or peer, rather than a random head-hunter may increase their chances of applying and moving onto something new. Employers are able to ask three specialised questions and prompt the applicant for a cover letter, with a view to filter out any unsuitable candidates and get rid of those who aren’t serious about the role. This will be of use to contractors who have focused experience, particularly IT contractors who are applying for IT contract jobs that demand specialised experience.

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