One of the most common questions we are asked by clients is: “Which social media platform should I be active on to market my small business?” Unfortunately, the answer to that is not a simple one. Why? Because it depends on a number of factors:
- Who (and, more importantly, how old) is your target audience?
- Are you B2B or B2C?
- What type of business are your (retail, restaurant, virtual, brick & mortar, etc.)
- Are you creating original content?
- Are you able to take well-framed and high-resolution photos?
- How much time are you able to dedicate to social media?
Today we are going to take a look at LinkedIn and explore the advantages it has for a small business looking to further their reach, increase engagement and develop more leads.
Understanding the Various Social Media Platforms
Each of the major social media platforms has its pros and cons.
As an example, Instagram and Snapchat are perfect for telling a visual story. They also, however, require a heavier utilization of original photography, which is something that many business owners aren’t capable of producing or just don’t have the time for. In addition to that, they are primarily run from a mobile phone app, which can be a bit of a challenge, and aren’t designed to help drive traffic back to your website.
If your target market is women aged 18 – 65, then Pinterest might be a social media platform to consider. Much like Instagram and Snapchat, it does require you to get more creative with imagery, but it does facilitate driving traffic back to your website and original content.
Then, of course, there is Twitter. It is a great platform for small businesses, but it tends to be too labor intensive. You typically have to post over 15 times a day if you want anything you have shared to be seen and your posts need to be optimized for the specific search behaviors associated with Twitter (that means familiarizing yourself with character lengths, ideal posting times, popular and smart hashtag choices, etc.). This can be extremely time-consuming, and confusing, for a small business owner, unless they hire a content marketer.
Depending on the type of business you have, Facebook can provide a number of marketing advantages while not requiring an intense level of time or experience. It is by far one of the most popular social media platforms with over 2 billion monthly users, so odds are your target audience is among them.
Can’t decide what #socialmedia platform your #business should be on? Here’s a look at @LinkedIn. Click to tweet
Then there is LinkedIn. If I have to narrow my answer down to one universally acceptable social platform that is great for a small business owner with little time, I’d go with LinkedIn. More specifically, I’d say that every small business should strongly consider having a LinkedIn company page.
The Advantages of LinkedIn for Small Business
The LinkedIn platform is the largest professional network with more than 500 million users in more than 200 countries. Unlike the other social media platforms, it is geared solely around creating professional and business connections. That alone has a lot of value if you are a B2B business looking to find quality prospects and connections for your product or service.
Let’s take a closer look at why LinkedIn is a smart choice for small business owners and how to make the most of your time on the platform.
The Connection Between LinkedIn and Content
Each social media platform serves a specific purpose. LinkedIn is the perfect place for the business-minded who want to connect through content. With content marketing playing such an important role in driving traffic and leads to businesses, it makes sense that small businesses would be attracted to a social media audience that is the most receptive to it.
LinkedIn is the most commonly used platform for distributing content according to a 2017 Content Marketing Institute (CMI) report that said 89% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn to share content with their target audience. In that report, LinkedIn only came second to email.
Conversely, CMI found that 66% of B2C marketers use LinkedIn to share content. Email, Facebook, and Twitter are more often utilized for direct-to-consumer marketing efforts. With that said, it’s impressive to see a professional-focused platform like LinkedIn serve as one of the key delivery systems for consumer content.
How You Can Share Content on LinkedIn
There are a few different ways you can share content on LinkedIn.
The first is through their news feeds – or as a ‘post’ to the platform. According to LinkedIn, content shared in their news feed significantly outperforms job postings (by 15x). And this is likely because consumers and other businesses look to LinkedIn to find useful and relevant information. The news feed is a great place for a small business to share valuable information about their business, whether it be articles, product releases, information related to their industry or company updates. Just remember when you are posting to LinkedIn, like all other social media posting, you need to follow the 80/20 rule: 80 percent non-promotional, 20 percent promotional. It’s about being informative – not salesy.
Another option for posting content to LinkedIn is using their publishing platform. Much like your website blog, this platform allows you to create original content or repurposed content from your website to the platform for sharing across all of LinkedIn. By using relative tags to help with search, you can reach a larger audience than just your existing LinkedIn network.
The Benefits of Having a LinkedIn Company Page
LinkedIn currently has 467 million users and personal pages. While it might not be the most popular social media platform (Facebook almost always takes that top honor), LinkedIn has proven to be a very powerful and reliable platform for small businesses that have high-quality content ready for sharing.
However, your business entity needs something more robust than just a personal page. Personal pages are great for the CEO and key players within your company. But your business should have its own “face” represented on social media, too. That’s why the LinkedIn company page is a must-have. As of August 2017, there are over 13 million company pages.
#BizTip: Make the most of @LinkedIn by giving your #business a face with a #company page. Click to tweet
Here are 11 things a LinkedIn company page can do:
1. Tell your company’s story and provides relevant details and links that people will be looking for and might not find elsewhere.
2. Provides a high-level “snapshot” of who you are and what you do that’s easier to digest than, say, your entire website.
3. Localizes your page for a more diverse and global audience.
4. Highlights a featured product, service, or special promotion through the Spotlight feature.
5. Connects with various target audiences, prospective employees, current employees, influencers in your industry, as well as other companies.
6. Builds your list of followers and opens a new, direct line of communication to them.
7. Advertises career opportunities on a trusted platform, but that’s still directly connected to your profile.
8. Shares content from your personal LinkedIn page (the “Pulse” stories), your blog, and from other places around the web.
9. Sponsors critical content to ensure it gets front and center with your targeted audience.
10. Tracks how your small business’s brand and the content you share are performing.
11. Creates a new opportunity for search engines to find and rank your brand within search.
While LinkedIn may not be the most fun social media platform (sorry…not a lot of silly emojis, gifs or images to look at!), it has some serious tools to help you market your small business and make valuable connections to other professionals. It is also one of the easiest to use and one of the most effective if your main goal is to share content and create meaningful connections with your audience. Any small business owner (past or present) will tell you how incredibly important both of those were to their marketing strategies, especially when first starting out.