LinkedIn As A Branding Tool: How Brands Can Reach Their Full Potential

How can your brand become more vis­i­ble with­in LinkedIn?

Bas van den Beld By Bas van den Beld from State of Digital. Join the discussion » 0 comments

Linkedin has many pur­pos­es. As dis­cussed in Har­ness­ing The Full Poten­tial Of LinkedIn As A Con­nec­tion Tool, LinkedIn start­ed as an online resume tool, but it has evolved into a con­nec­tion tool, as well as a brand­ing tool. LinkedIn can be used for all social media pur­pos­es, includ­ing brand­ing. When it comes to brand­ing on LinkedIn, it is real­ly impor­tant to not see Linkedin as a bill­board, but as a tool that will help you show how knowl­edge­able you are or your busi­ness is. By show­ing that knowl­edge, your brand will grow and flour­ish.


Think About Your Audience

The most impor­tant ele­ment in brand­ing, mar­ket­ing, and PR is your audi­ence. Who are you tar­get­ing? Which peo­ple will receive your mes­sages when you start broad­cast­ing on LinkedIn?

When it comes to social media plat­forms and brand­ing Twit­ter is best com­pa­ra­ble to a bill­board, you put your mes­sage out there and you hope peo­ple will see it. Face­book is more tar­get­ed, like a mag­a­zine on a cer­tain top­ic: it might get you atten­tion, but peo­ple might flip through it quick­ly. LinkedIn how­ev­er is a bit dif­fer­ent. On LinkedIn you are tar­get­ing a very spe­cif­ic group of peo­ple with spe­cif­ic expec­ta­tions. They see LinkedIn as a human con­nec­tion tool, which means, they won’t be respon­sive at all to a mes­sage from a brand, unless they trust the brand. How­ev­er, they might respond to a mes­sage from a per­son, espe­cial­ly if they know that per­son. It’s like the local busi­ness club. Peo­ple trust what is said, and if the trust fails, they won’t look at the source again. So both as a brand and a per­son you want to built trust.

This means that when using brand­ing for LinkedIn you have to keep one thing in mind: do not use it as a bill­board. Make it per­son­al, be trust­wor­thy and make it worth the time of those you are tar­get­ing. If not, they won’t give you a sec­ond glance.

Where Brands Go Wrong On LinkedIn

Unfor­tu­nate­ly I still see too many brands (and peo­ple) mak­ing this mis­take on LinkedIn and treat­ing the ser­vice as a bill­board. They con­stant­ly post links to their own web­site in groups, they send out mass e-mails to their LinkedIn con­nec­tions talk­ing about their ‘great prod­uct’ and they keep adding new con­nec­tions with­out even look­ing at who they are.

Wrong!

If you real­ly want to use LinkedIn as a brand­ing tool and make it work, you need to think first. Think about your audi­ence and think about what you can give them to make them bet­ter.

Branding Using LinkedIn

In essence you can say that there are two ways you can use LinkedIn for brand­ing: brand­ing as a busi­ness (your com­pa­ny) and per­son­al brand­ing, mak­ing sure you look good for new job options or busi­ness oppor­tu­ni­ties (more on this top­ic in tomorrow’s post).

Findability

One real­ly impor­tant thing to keep in mind when it comes to brand­ing: search. LinkedIn’s search func­tion­al­i­ty is a much used func­tion­al­i­ty. Peo­ple use LinkedIn search for sev­er­al dif­fer­ent rea­sons – they’re look­ing for jobs, for pages, and for peo­ple.

You want your brand to be found when peo­ple start search­ing. That is the first step of brand­ing.

Advanced search on LinkedIn is espe­cial­ly inter­est­ing. Here peo­ple can fil­ter down to dif­fer­ent lev­els, from peo­ple and jobs, to posts, groups, and regions.

The essence here is that in every tac­tic you use (some of which are being dis­cussed below), you must keep in mind how find­able you can be for the dif­fer­ent ele­ments of search in LinkedIn. Use the right key­words, cre­ate the right con­tent, and make the right con­nec­tions. (A nice addi­tion­al ben­e­fit for this is that you will also start rank­ing bet­ter in search engines!)

Branding For Businesses

With a lit­tle work, your brand can become more vis­i­ble with­in LinkedIn. It all starts with fig­ur­ing out what you want to be vis­i­ble for. Is it to attract new per­son­nel? To show the world how knowl­edge­able your com­pa­ny is? Or anoth­er rea­son?

This deter­mines which of the tac­tics you will use. As always, it’s strat­e­gy before tac­tic.

Here are some brand­ing tools LinkedIn pro­vides to help brands reach their full poten­tial.

Company Page

The LinkedIn Com­pa­ny page has seen a big make over in the past few years. Where before it was just show­ing your­self, where­as nowa­days it’s much more. One thing to keep an eye on is the infor­ma­tion you share and how you look.

There is the stan­dard infor­ma­tion you have to fill in. Make sure you fill in all parts. When doing this, think about what peo­ple might be search­ing for (espe­cial­ly when decid­ing on the spe­cial­ties)!

Also be sure to use the right logo (think about the sizes) and be sure to cre­ate a beau­ti­ful head­er. Just like on Face­book and Google+ as a busi­ness you now have the option to show­case who you are using a ban­ner. Try chang­ing these ban­ners around and adapt them to cur­rent sit­u­a­tions. See for exam­ple how brands like Apple use it.

Your com­pa­ny page will also show your updates. Many brands still make the mis­take of only shar­ing com­pa­ny news. Here you have the pos­si­bil­i­ty to show how knowl­edge­able you are, so make sure to com­bine the news about your com­pa­ny with inter­est­ing (rel­e­vant!) infor­ma­tion from oth­er sources as well.

Career Pages

When try­ing to be a “cool” com­pa­ny, careers are impor­tant. Even if you aren’t look­ing for new staff, those check­ing out your LinkedIn Page will have to be impressed.

If a com­pa­ny takes care of its employ­ees it after all is much more inter­est­ing for busi­ness as well. The career tabs again can be nice­ly designed and you can add valu­able infor­ma­tion to it, like for exam­ple videos. Again, take a look at how Apple does it.

Showcase Pages

Show­case Pages are so-called “niche pages” that are direct­ly con­nect­ed to a com­pa­ny page. These pages can be fol­lowed sep­a­rate­ly from the com­pa­ny page, which gives you the oppor­tu­ni­ty to seg­ment for the dif­fer­ent types of audi­ences you serve.

One exam­ple of a com­pa­ny that has been very active on com­pa­ny pages is Microsoft, which made pages for dif­fer­ent prod­ucts.

You can cre­ate up to 10 show­case pages. With that comes a nice set of ana­lyt­ics that will show you engage­ment, trends, and demo­graph­ics of your fol­low­ers.

Groups

Mil­lions of LinkedIn Groups have been cre­at­ed, but lots of them hon­est­ly aren’t that inter­est­ing, sim­ply because busi­ness­es set it up and then either leave it as it is, or use it as a bill­board: spam­ming the crap out of the mem­bers.

As a busi­ness you can set up a group and it can work, as long as you do it prop­er­ly: don’t over­do it, be very tar­get­ed on the top­ic (don’t cre­ate a group for your busi­ness, but for a top­ic that relate to your busi­ness), and make sure that with­in the group you act as a thought leader – show what you know!

Advertising

Like all social plat­forms, LinkedIn also offers adver­tis­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties. These are still quite inter­est­ing because they are afford­able and you can tar­get rea­son­ably good. You can for exam­ple try to get cer­tain group mem­bers to fol­low your com­pa­ny or ser­vices, or even bet­ter, you can ask them to rec­om­mend you or share your page.

Standing Out: Have A Strategy

Final­ly, when it comes to brand­ing your busi­ness on LinkedIn, the most essen­tial part is your strat­e­gy. Think about how you want to be seen, think about what your poten­tial audi­ence wants to see, and cre­ate con­tent around that. Use your employ­ees in this: have them pub­lish arti­cles, have them “present” you, and make sure you tell your sto­ry.


Are you using Linkedin as a bill­board, or as a tool to help show con­sumers how knowl­edge­able you are or your busi­ness is?

Bas van den Beld

Written by Bas van den Beld

Digital Marketing Strategist, State of Digital

Bas van den Beld is an award winning Digital Marketing consultant, trainer and speaker. He is the founder of State of Digital and helps companies develop solid marketing strategies.

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