LinkedIn for business – social not sales

Account Director Emma Campbell and Senior Account Executive Carys Samuel of integrated agency Acceleris Marketing Communications (@AccelerisMC ) offer their advice on using LinkedIn as an effective PR tool.

Carys Samuel1LinkedIn is often used solely as a networking or recruitment tool, however it is also an important element of any successful B2B PR and social media campaign. Unlike other social media platforms, such as Facebook or Twitter, there is no confusion as to whether communications are personal or business – LinkedIn is purely professional and companies using it will see its value in raising both the company’s profile and the profiles of selected spokespeople.Emma 699x280

At Acceleris, we always recommend creating a company page which is very simple to set up and provides another channel where people can find the organisation, as well as creating a network of all employees mapping their credentials, ergo the credentials of the company. The company page is a good foundation to all other LinkedIn activity, offering a platform to post updates from interesting industry news stories to completed projects and case studies as well as links to the latest company news posts or media coverage.

However, remember LinkedIn is there to increase the organisation’s online presence not replace its website entirely! Although it can be tempting to type reams of information into the page’s white boxes, a brief overview of the company and its products and/or services are all that’s needed.

One of LinkedIn’s key selling points is its 1.2 million discussion groups which provide a great place to engage in debate, offer advice and position key employees as influential thought leaders. A quick search of discussion groups anywhere online will straightaway illustrate the importance of choosing both comment opportunities and spokespeople carefully so as not to become what is widely known in the industry as a ‘spammer’. Users must remember that LinkedIn must be used, not abused and should not become a platform to sell, sell, sell. Rather this is your opportunity to promote your company’s assets – your knowledge. This can be either new information created by yourself or simple sharing of industry news again demonstrating your awareness of the sector in which you work.

Here’s a quick checklist to consider when writing posts intended for discussion groups:

  • Is it relevant? This is not the place to shoehorn.
  • Is it useful, informative or interesting?
  • Is it sales-led? Messages about the latest reductions in the price of one of your products or services are not appropriate.
  • Is it written in a personable and easy to understand tone? LinkedIn (and particularly discussion groups) are sociable places so remember you are human.
  • Is it less than 200 words? No one wants to read an essay on your company’s recycling procedures so keep it short.
  • Has it been posted elsewhere? Provided it is relevant, posting the same comment a couple of times is fine but using it on every single group you are a member of is not.

An MD, CEO, Marketing or Sales Manager are all good examples of those who work well as LinkedIn spokespeople, but make sure the individual/s are aware of the time involved in keeping track of discussion groups to identify relevant opportunities, as well as writing comments and responding to opportunities. If a PR agency is ‘taking over’ the individual’s profile then make sure the user’s profile is set up to enable the agency to receive the daily discussion group digest emails.

If used correctly LinkedIn is a very effective element in any B2B PR strategy. It can raise the profile of an organisation and key individuals, boost engagement, increase SEO rankings and perhaps most importantly carve out a position as an authoritative thought leader and expert in your chosen industry.

Hopefully we’ve now provided you with some helpful hints, tips and inspiration to log on and start posting.  A few final words of wisdom: think before you post, draft all comments in a word document to avoid any accidents and, above all, remember LinkedIn and its 100 million worldwide users are there to be social so you should be too. Good luck!

 

Acceleris is an integrated public relations and communications agency operating for clients in the public and private sector internationally, nationally and regionally.  Launched in December 2006, Acceleris, based in Harrogate, Yorkshire, has generated more than £6 million in revenues and is ranked within the top three regional agencies by fee income.

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