Did you know LinkedIn has over 660 million users across the globe? Meaning the platform is one of the top social networks today.
Now, an important question: Is your business using LinkedIn to its fullest potential to improve brand awareness, build your network, boost leads and conversions, increase revenue, and more?
With new social networks sprouting up constantly, LinkedIn is a platform that often gets underutilized or put on the back burner. But the truth is, LinkedIn can be extremely powerful — especially when you’re aware of all the platform’s hidden features that don’t get nearly as much attention as they deserve.
This guide is chock full of LinkedIn tips you can begin implementing immediately to help you learn how to use the platform to improve brand awareness, share your marketing content, and grow your business.
What is LinkedIn marketing?
LinkedIn marketing is the process of using LinkedIn to make connections, generate leads, improve brand awareness, foster business relationships and partnerships, share content, and drive traffic to your website. LinkedIn is an integral part of many successful business’ marketing strategies today because of how effective it can be in expanding professional networks.
When you use LinkedIn to market your business, you gain access to useful features related to analytics, connections, and brand-building, just to name a few. (Don’t worry, we’ll review all of these and more in depth momentarily.)
But first, here’s a quick primer for those of you who may be new to LinkedIn.
LinkedIn launched in 2003 and is primarily centered around career networking, building, and sharing. The platform enables you to connect and share content with other professionals including colleagues, potential employers, business partners, competitors, new employees, and customers.
This is why having your business on LinkedIn is so powerful — the platform is a fantastic marketing tool.
Now, let’s review the various ways to use LinkedIn to market and grow your business.
LinkedIn Marketing Best Practices
LinkedIn allows you to drive traffic to your website, identify quality leads, share your expertise through thought-leadership content, and grow your network. It’s also a great way to market job openings and attract new talent to your company. These are just some of the reasons why LinkedIn is an ideal platform for all businesses to market through.
Below, we’ll cover LinkedIn marketing best practices and some effective ways to use the platform. These 28 best practices and steps can be tailored to your needs — whether you have a personal LinkedIn page, business page, or both — no matter your industry or size. However, you’ll notice some of the points we’re going to cover are more suited for businesses looking to boost brand awareness or share content while others are more tailored towards those looking to recruit and hire new talent.
Let’s dive in.
1. Customize your public profile URL.
Make your profile look more professional, and easier to share, by customizing your LinkedIn public profile URL. Instead of a URL with confusing numbers at the end, it will look nice and clean like this: http://www.linkedin.com/in/amandazantalwiener.
You can do this by clicking View Profile and then clicking Edit Public Profile and URL. Here you can change your URL to anything you’d like — such as your first and last name or business name — assuming it hasn’t already been taken by another LinkedIn user.
2. Add a LinkedIn background photo to your profile.
In 2014, LinkedIn finally jumped on the cover photo bandwagon and starting rolling out the ability for users to add a background photo to their personal profiles. Give your LinkedIn profile a little bit more personality by adding an on-brand background photo of your own. Keep in mind LinkedIn is a professional social network, so choose your photo accordingly.
LinkedIn recommends a background photo size of 1584 x 396 pixels, and that it must be a JPG, PNG, or GIF file under 8MB.
3. Add a ProFinder Badge to your profile.
You might consider adding a ProFinder Badge, which is used to identify freelancers within LinkedIn’s ProFinder. This service matches contractors with project managers who are seeking help. Freelancers can display a ProFinder badge on their profiles to show prospective clients their skills, expertise, and recommendations.
LinkedIn offers two badge themes for you to choose from:
4. Take advantage of the blog and website links on your LinkedIn profile.
You can add links to your portfolio and social networks to your LinkedIn page. You can also add links to your content and business information to increase clicks. This feature allows you to draw greater attention to specific areas of your page to drive traffic elsewhere.
For example, if you produced a podcast, you can share links to your episodes on LinkedIn (e.g. SoundCloud tracks) to promote your work.
5. Search engine optimize your LinkedIn profile.
Search engine optimization (SEO) isn’t limited to blogging — you can also optimize your profile to get discovered by people searching LinkedIn for key terms you want to be found for. You can add these keywords to various sections of your profile, such as your headline, your summary, or your work experience.
6. Add, remove, and rearrange sections of your profile.
You can edit and reorder sections of your LinkedIn profile to highlight specific pieces of information in any way you see fit. When you’re in edit mode, simply hover your mouse over the double-sided arrow in each section. Your mouse will turn into a four-arrow icon, at which point you can click, drag, and drop to another position on your profile.
7. Use Saved Searches and Search Alerts in Recruiter.
With the feature, you can save as many searches as you want and receive alerts when new candidates match your filter refinements and criteria. You can elect to receive daily or weekly search alerts from the system about relevant results via the Recruiter homepage.
8. List job opportunities and recruit new talent with LinkedIn’s job postings.
And speaking of your business’s open job opportunities, don’t forget to add and market your new positions on the LinkedIn Jobs page.
Here, candidates can learn about your business and openings by searching for specific keywords such as job title, industry, location, salary, experience level, and more.
9. Take advantage of LinkedIn Endorsements.
LinkedIn offers a feature called Endorsements — this allows you to recognize the skills people you work with (such as employees, colleagues, freelancers, or partners) have to offer.
You can promote and endorse the skills of the people you work closest with to help refer them for other work, make their profiles more impressive, show your support, and more.
10. Use Open Profile to send messages to people you’re not connected to.
To branch out and make new connections with potential partners, customers, and other industry leaders, you might want to send them a personalized message.
With the exception of fellow LinkedIn Group members, the platform only allows you to send messages to people who you share a first-degree connection with. But did you know some people let you send them messages anyway, even if you’re not connected?
Here’s how that works: The ability to be part of the Open Profile network is only available to Premium account holders, but it allows those users to be available for messaging by any other LinkedIn member regardless of membership type.
Additionally, there are options for sending messages to those with whom you’re not yet connected, similar to sending a request to connect with a note (though we don’t recommend overusing this technique). Additionally, if you have a premium account, you can use InMail.
11. Check your Network Updates (or share your own).
Found on your LinkedIn homepage, Network Updates are essentially LinkedIn’s version of the Facebook News Feed. Check this feed periodically for a quick snapshot of what your connections, customers, competitors, and others are up to and sharing. You can also share updates of your own, such as details about your products or services and noteworthy content your business has created and published.
You may choose to sign up for email notifications or sort by “Top Updates” or “Recent Updates” to filter your feed in any way you choose.
12. Be identifiable.
Your LinkedIn profile visitors should recognize it as yours to the moment they look at it. A great way to make your profile easily identifiable and on-brand with your other marketing content is by ensuring your profile’s name, headline, and other simple identifiers are easily viewable to any visitor. Make sure these features on on brand, match your other marketing content, and are uniquely yours.
Note: You should always have your Public Profile setting enabled as well, to be visible and identifiable for your audience.
13. Check out who’s viewed your LinkedIn profile.
Learn a little about your audience members, potential leads, and customers who are viewing your profile and marketing content that you’re sharing on LinkedIn.
How? With the Who Viewed Your Profile feature.
This tool, which is accessible in the main navigation via the Profile dropdown, enables you to identify the exact people who have visited your page. You can see how you stack up against the profile views for your connections, other businesses like yours, and more.
14. Export connections.
Now, it’s no secret that you can use the connections you make on LinkedIn to drive traffic to your site and grow your base of paying customers. Exporting your connections — to a contact management system, for example — is a great place to start.
Under your Advanced Settings, you can start exporting your LinkedIn connections.
15. Customize your Connections to grow your professional network.
LinkedIn offers features to help you grow your professional network and make valuable connections. There are several ways to do this depending on what you’re looking to accomplish.
Here are some examples:
- Add, view, and remove connections depending on their level of value to your business.
- Control who can see your connections — maybe you do or don’t want your competitors to see that list of people.
- Leverage your second and third-degree connections to grow your network and build new relationships.
- Import and sync your contacts from your email and other sources to stay in touch with colleagues, partners, leads, and customers across the board. These connections will see your content in multiple places so they learn more about who you are as a business, deepening their relationship with your brand.
16. Join LinkedIn Groups.
LinkedIn Groups are a great way to make connections with people who are in, or interested in, your industry. They serve as a hub for you and other members to share content, grow your contact list, establish yourself as an expert in the field, and boost brand awareness.
There are a number of other benefits that come from joining LinkedIn Groups. For example, by joining Groups related to your industry and participating in discussions within those groups, you’ll exhibit thought leadership in your industry.
Additionally, by joining Groups, you can view complete profiles of other members of the same group without being connected. Also, if you’re a member of the same group as another user, LinkedIn allows you to send up to 15 free 1:1 messages to fellow group members per month (typically, you can only do this if you’re a first-degree connection).
17. Create your own LinkedIn Group.
Consider creating a LinkedIn Group of your very own, like HubSpot did with the popular Inbound Marketers Group.
You can use your group to establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry, grow a community of advocates, generate new marketing content ideas, promote brand awareness, and generate new leads.
18. Communicate with your LinkedIn Group.
And on that note, there are more reasons to create your own Group on LinkedIn. In fact, one of the perks of managing a LinkedIn Group is that LinkedIn makes it simple to interact and communicate with the members of the Group you’re in charge of.
You can either send messages to group members or create a group post. Sending messages allows you to write a member of your group directly, or share content with them, from your group’s page. This is great if you have something to share with a specific person in your group. Creating a group post allows you to share any content you’d like on your group’s page which is ideal for initiating a discussion.
19. Share your LinkedIn status updates on Twitter.
Add your Twitter account to your LinkedIn profile so you can share status updates across platforms. This is also a great way to boost your Twitter follower and LinkedIn connection counts.
For example, if you’re posting an update to LinkedIn that you’d also like your Twitter followers to see, you can easily syndicate that update to Twitter by selecting the Public + Twitter option in the dropdown menu within the LinkedIn update composer.
20. Leverage @mentions in your status updates.
Want another LinkedIn user or company to see your status update? On LinkedIn, you have the ability to tag — or @mention — users and other companies in your status updates much like the way it works on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
Include the @ symbol immediately followed by the user’s/ company’s name in your status update or post. As a result, that user/ company will be alerted that you mentioned them, and their name will also link to their profile/ page in the status update itself. This is a great way to boost engagement and interaction on your content as well as improve brand awareness.
21. Design all aspects of your LinkedIn page.
The design of LinkedIn pages has changed a lot over the years. Make sure yours is set up correctly and optimized for the latest layout, featuring a compelling and high-quality banner image.
Take a look at what HubSpot’s Company Page looks like for inspiration:
22. Create LinkedIn Showcase Pages.
LinkedIn Showcase Pages are niche pages that branch off your business’s page to highlight specific initiatives and campaigns or feature specific content you’re working on.
Think of Showcase Pages as extensions of your main page that allow you to promote specific products or cater to your individual marketing personas — this provides a more personalized and targeted experience for your page visitors. This is great way to expand your network on LinkedIn because other users can choose to follow your Showcase Page(s) even if they haven’t followed your main page.
23. Post company status updates and target them.
Publish Status Updates for your business on your LinkedIn page for your followers to see. This keeps your LinkedIn connections engaged and in the loop regarding your business’s latest developments, work, content, and updates. In your status updates, you can share written information, images, videos, documents, and more.
You can also post Targeted LinkedIn Status Updates tailored towards specific people and groups within your audience. To do this, use criteria such as company size, industry, job function, seniority, geography, language, or by including/ excluding company employees.
These targeted updates will appear on your page — or Showcase Page — as well as on LinkedIn for the targeted users (specifically, in their Network Updates feed).
24. Check out LinkedIn’s Content Marketing Score & Trending Content resources.
You can learn how impactful your organic and paid LinkedIn marketing content is with the platform’s Content Marketing Score and Trending Content resources.
Your Content Marketing Score tells you your impact on LinkedIn by measuring overall audience engagement with your content. Trending Content tells you which topics you are posting and sharing content about that are resonating with specific audience groups on the platform, allowing you to optimize your content for greater impact.
25. Experiment with LinkedIn Sponsored Content and Native Ads.
If you’re looking to complement your organic LinkedIn marketing efforts with some paid advertising, LinkedIn Ads are a smart choice. One of the biggest benefits of LinkedIn advertising: the targeting options.
LinkedIn’s PPC ads let you target specific job titles, job functions, industries, or company size, to name a few — you know, the people who are more likely to want/ need what you sell.
If you want to get started with LinkedIn’s advertising platform, check out our free guide to advertising on LinkedIn.
26. Share content through LinkedIn’s publishing platform.
Good news! You no longer have to be a LinkedIn Influencer to publish new articles to LinkedIn. Publishing is available to all users on the platform. Experiment with how this feature can support your marketing goals by creating content and promoting it on your your business’s LinkedIn page.
For example, you might experiment with syndicating content from your blog to LinkedIn — this way, you can promote subscription to your blog via LinkedIn.
27. Add a Page Follow Button to your website.
You can add the LinkedIn Company Follow button to your website to promote your company’s LinkedIn presence and the content you share on the platform. When your website visitors click to “Follow” your LinkedIn page via your site, they’ll automatically become connected to you and be able to view your company’s latest updates on the platform.
28. Analyze your LinkedIn marketing performance.
So … how are your LinkedIn marketing efforts faring? Analyzing your efforts and making necessary adjustments is critical to your success on the platform.
LinkedIn has in-depth page analytics as well as reporting tools for businesses to evaluate overall performance. There are specific data about how effective your status updates, content, and reach are as well as details about your page’s engagement and followers (like audience member demographics).
Begin Marketing on LinkedIn
Are you ready to get started marketing your business on LinkedIn?
With so many updates and additions to LinkedIn since its launch, we can’t wait to see how the network continues to make itself an integral resource and platform for marketers, job seekers, candidate seekers, and other professionals. Get started marketing on LinkedIn by experimenting with the best practices that make the most sense for your business.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in August 2017 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.