7 Ways to Use LinkedIn for PR
When it comes to social media and PR, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram get all the glory. They’re the popular kids in school; the ones everyone wants to be friends with. In the business world, they’re the go-to sites businesses use to connect with customers, prospects and the media. But in their haste to squeeze their messages into 280 characters, PR bods tend to forget there’s another social platform on the block, that’s equally, if not more powerful for marketing and PR. Yep, LinkedIn. And you may be on it right now.
LinkedIn: the professional networking site
LinkedIn is a professional social networking platform. It differs from other social sites in that it’s business focused. Rather than sharing baby photos, funny memes and photos of last night’s dinner, professionals use it to seek out new talent, network with other businesspeople, and share expertise.
Due to its reputation as a recruitment site, many business owners neglect to use LinkedIn for PR. But the site has evolved massively since launching in 2003. While it’s still a great place to find potential employees, it’s rife with marketing and PR opportunities. And with some 500million+ global users, it’s a great place to take advantage of them.
Here are my top seven tips for using LinkedIn for PR and branding.
Create a robust company profile and keep it up-to-date
LinkedIn users are savvier than ever. Nothing says ‘red flag’ quicker than an empty profile or one that was last updated in 2015. If you want to maximise your chances of getting found by customers and journalists, fill your profile with as much detail about your company as you can, and make sure it’s kept up-to-date.
If you want to reap the rewards of LinkedIn, you need to be as active on there as you are on your other social sites. Share blog posts, articles and other interesting, relevant content that may be of interest to your target audience. This is a great way to communicate and share your expertise without asking for anything in return. If your content is compelling, you’ll likely get comments which can start a conversation and nurture a relationship.
Listen and talk to your audience
LinkedIn groups are a great way to connect with like-minded people and learn about your target audience, in terms of what they care about, talk about, and who they associate with. Join groups that are relevant to your industry, look at the trending topics and read the posts and articles. Show users you value their insight by commenting on their posts and engaging with them. This will help you build your network.
Bonus Tip: LinkedIn provides users with the ability to pose business questions and get them answered by experts. This is your opportunity to shine. Monitor these groups, and answer questions in your field for an instant credibility boost.
Link with media folk
This one may sound obvious, but a lot of people neglect to do it. Every time you work with a journalist or are introduced to one, link to them. The media often use the site to seek out expert sources for inclusion in stories.
As you spend more time on LinkedIn discussion groups and Q&A forums, you’ll be able to identify the influencers: the most well-connected and powerful business voices in your sector. These people tend to be very active in the forums and on the site in general. If you’ve been doing a good job of building relationships with members, someone will be able to introduce you to one or more of them. The aim of the introduction is to build a relationship with them and see if they’ll become an advocate for your brand.
Receive a stamp of approval through recommendations and endorsements
Ask for recommendations from clients, former co-workers and employees to make your profile go that extra mile. Do the legwork for them and provide the specific qualities or project examples you’d like them to highlight. For your skills section, select the ones you want to be known for and list them, starting with the most important at the top.
Hone your social skills
As with any network, it’s important to listen and observe the group dynamics before you interact. Notice what kind of questions generate responses in group discussions, and which responses garner ‘best answer’ accolades in the Answers section. If you pay attention, you’ll be able to work out what sort of content the audience does and doesn’t like and plan your marketing and PR activity accordingly. In addition to making your interactions on LinkedIn more effective, paying attention to what sort of content generates interest and interaction can also inform your future content strategy.
Get some professional help
LinkedIn is no longer just about finding people to fill jobs. It’s a one-stop-shop for sharing thoughts, ideas, experience, and business information in a professional environment. In short, it’s a powerful PR weapon that you can’t afford to ignore.