LinkedIn has nearly half a billion users, with two new members joining every second, according to Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn.
Because of its unique user demographic, smart companies and businesses are seeing the increased potential of using LinkedIn as a marketing tool. But like any social network, there are rules to be followed and others to be ignored as you navigate the space.
Remember the Platform
First and foremost, LinkedIn is a business-oriented network. Professionalism and commerce are two of the social platform's fundamental philosophies, so anything your business posts needs to fit within this paradigm. One example of a company that blends business with a human touch is Amway. Amway's LinkedIn page doesn't let you forget it has earned the designation of a Forbes top-30 private company, while still keeping true to its business pedigree in human capital.
Know Your Brand Identity
LinkedIn does not exist in a bubble. In fact, it's part of the larger, greater world of social media. Despite showing a unique face and publishing varied content across different social media platforms, experts say your true brand identity must remain consistent. Denny’s is a perfect example of a company showing its quirky human side across social media.
Connect Judiciously With Your Audience
Because of LinkedIn’s business philosophy, the way you connect with your audience — customers, clients and prospects alike — is important to your image. Posting unauthentic and impersonal content will make your company look like it's simply posting for the sake of posting to gain a marketing edge. The connections you make to the world must be personal, which can be tricky when promoting a business. Post content true to your brand identity and stay away from pre-written text (which can make your LinkedIn page look unnatural or dishonest.)
Don’t Do Anything Canned
Everything you post on your LinkedIn page should be polished but not boilerplate. Most importantly, it needs to be original. The world of social media is becoming a battleground for copyright infringement violations and litigation. Because many companies allow employees to post on social media, make sure they adhere to the policies you set forth.
Always Maintain Relevancy
As a business site, LinkedIn has a reputation for being, at least partially, educational in nature. The content you post should shy away from fluff and instead opt toward instructive. This could help make your company become a thought leader in the space in which you occupy.
Know the Differences Between Advertising and Marketing
Let's face it: Whether it's your company, a competitor or even one you hold near and dear, there's no greater turn off than seeing advertorial LinkedIn posts. In essence, you don't want to be sold something every time you visit a company's page. You want your marketing message to be clear and resonate with different audiences, but it cannot and should not sound like an ad. This will erode your company's image of honesty and authenticity — and your customers, clients, and prospects may start to ignore you altogether. Don't be that company.
Think Like a Web Designer
Whether your content creation team is tech savvy or not, all the rules of Web design still apply when presenting yourself and posting on LinkedIn. Your posts need to be created with responsive web technology in mind. Understand that images, text and videos may appear wonky or just plain differently, depending on the devices your audience uses. Thus, it's imperative you publish content geared toward users of desktop and laptop computers, as well as smartphones and tablets, so your message doesn't get lost in translation.