By:Â Terri Wells
Seemingly hundreds of articles cover the use of social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google+ to market your website and raise its visibility in the search engines. Relatively few articles talk about using LinkedIn for the same purpose. Keep reading; you’ll be surprised at what you can accomplish with this professional networking site.
George Aspland, writing for Search Engine Land, noticed the power of LinkedIn when building some links for a client. He discovered his client’s rival boasted some incoming links ranked as â€œstrongâ€ in the review tool he was using. They came from the rival’s LinkedIn profile and led to the rival’s website. But Aspland’s client also had a LinkedIn profile pointing to his own company’s website, and that link had not earned a â€œstrongâ€ ranking on the review tool. What was going on?
It turns out there’s a lot more to setting up a strong LinkedIn presence than just creating a profile. None of it is particularly difficult, but it is a bit time-consuming. After the initial set-up, you’ll need to mind it regularly, like a garden, for the maximum benefit. And if you have employees, it’ll help to get them involved as well.
The first thing you’ll need to do is set up a LinkedIn Company Page. This is basically a LinkedIn profile for your company. You can set up your company’s LinkedIn Company Page yourself, or you can delegate it â€“ as long as the person setting up your firm’s LinkedIn Company Page is a current employee of your firm, with his or her own LinkedIn profile listing your company and their position within it. Whoever is setting up your company’s LinkedIn Company page needs a company email address, such as email@example.com, which will be used as one of the confirmed addresses on the new LinkedIn account.
LinkedIn provides a ton of detail on company pages and what goes into them. Before you create yours, I recommend you read the article at the link to give you a better idea of their full potential. You may also want to check out this FAQ page on company pages; it answers the questions most likely to come up as you’re building your company’s LinkedIn presence. When you’re finally ready to build your LinkedIn Company Page, you’ll want to start here.
You’re only about one-third done at this point. Next, you need to get your employees to associate their LinkedIn profiles with your LinkedIn Company Page. That’s not difficult. LinkedIn’s FAQ page suggests sending the following directions to employees for editing their LinkedIn profiles:
Click Profile at the top of your home page.
Click Edit next to your current position.
Click Change Company and type the full company name.
Click the correct company name in the dropdown list.
Linking to your company profile on LinkedIn isn’t enough. If you want to increase your company’s visibility, your employees need to be more visible as well. Once they’ve associated their profiles with your LinkedIn Company Page, they can optimize their public profiles. It shouldn’t take much time, especially if they’re already using LinkedIn for professional networking.
To optimize your own LinkedIn profile for more visibility, log in to LinkedIn, and then hover over your profile name; it’s in the upper right hand corner of the profile screen. Choose â€œSettings.â€ You’ll get a number of choices on the next screen; click on â€œEdit your public profile.â€ On the next screen, click the radio button for â€œMake my public profile visible to everyone.â€
On this â€œCustomize Your Public Profileâ€ page you’ll also see a list of options that you can make public. Click as many of these as you are comfortable with. Aspland notes that â€œThe Headline, Summaries with specialties, Additional Information / Websites are helpful for search results.â€ Once you’ve walked through it for your own LinkedIn profile, you’ll be able to tell your employees how to do it.
You’ve effectively set a connected social network in place. Now it’s time to use it. When you have an important update, encourage your employees to share it with a link to the content via LinkedIn. Don’t spam this network with lots of automatic updates from other sites like Twitter; in large quantities, they’ll get ignored. But judicious use of this function will put your company’s name in front of your employee’s contacts â€“ along with the helpful information from the update, of course. This can become pretty powerful. As Aspland observes, â€œif you have 50 employees with LinkedIn profiles each with an average of 100 connections and most of them posted an update about a great article your company published on its website, thousands of connections on LinkedIn, many of who are familiar with your company and (hopefully) favorably predisposed, may see that announcement.â€
As you get the word out about your company and use this network within a network, the search engines will start to take notice. Your content will become more visible, not just within LinkedIn but outside of it as well, as others who discover it via their LinkedIn connections link to your content in turn. Just make sure you’re using it for something worth spreading. Good luck!