LinkedIn—Making the Connection as a Business Tool

4.19.2011 »
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Since LinkedIn has passed the 100 million member mark, it’s fairly safe to say that if you’re reading this blog post, you probably have a LinkedIn profile. You may have even added a photo to it, and possibly update your status once in awhile. You may have used LinkedIn to network, look for a job, or to research a product or service.

With so many people using LinkedIn as a business research tool as well as for networking, it’s only natural to leverage the platform as a marketing tool; LinkedIn has developed a wide range of tools for this purpose. Your business probably has a LinkedIn profile page, whether you’ve created one or not. To jumpstart the effort and provide information to users about companies and organizations, LinkedIn automatically generated company profiles and descriptions based on information provided by LinkedIn members in their profiles. (So, your first order of business is to take a look at your profile and make sure it accurately reflects what you want to say about your company!)

In addition to your (free) company profile, you can add information on products and services, social media links, videos, images, and external URLs, as well as contact information for specific individuals within your organization (this is all free as well). You can also post job opportunities to LinkedIn, though there’s a fee for this service (or, you can post the job opportunity to your LinkedIn status and to groups you’re participating in for no additional cost—LinkedIn doesn’t mind this and in fact encourages it).

Let’s take a minute to look at LinkedIn as a recruiting tool. One of the biggest challenges recruiters face is identifying passive candidates—those who are currently employed and not actively seeking a new position. Research shows these candidates to be highly productive employees, and so successfully identifying and recruiting them generates a big return on investment. (I can personally attest to LinkedIn as a great tool for identifying passive candidates—Sanger & Eby found me on LinkedIn and recruited me for what has turned out to be my dream job).

Are people looking at your company profile on LinkedIn? In a word, yes. According to a 2010 JobVite survey, 62% of job candidates visit company social media profile pages, and 55% conduct searches for company information on social media sites—including LinkedIn—so it’s well worth the investment of your time and resources to ensure your company profile does you justice.

Career Pages is a terrific tool for highlighting open positions in your organization, and companies with strong recruiting needs are starting to use it. You can create up to five separate pages focused on different areas of recruiting—technology, marketing, creative, strategy—whatever your job categories are—and users will see the specific page and opportunities best matching their background (so if you’re recruiting strategists and I visit your company page, I’ll see job opportunities related to strategy; if a designer visits the company page, she’ll see design-focused opportunities).

Regardless of what you do with your company profile, keep in mind that as with other social media platforms, it’s important to first define your objectives and build a strategy to ensure you achieve them (and we can help you with that). Also, many of the advanced tools on LinkedIn are highly customizable, including the capability to add design elements to the template-based layout. (Yes, we can help you with that, too!)

To see a great implementation of Career Pages, take a look at Macy’s company profile, and click on the Careers tab (and by the way, they’re hiring!)

How are you using LinkedIn to build your business? Tell us about it!

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