Facebook and YouTube may be more popular with consumers, but for businesses, LinkedIn is the favored social media platform. With 50 percent of Americans who have a college degree using LinkedIn, according to Pew Research Center data, the platform has become an essential tool for recruiters to find qualified workers. All but 2 percent of Fortune 500 companies maintain a LinkedIn presence.
But successful companies don’t just use LinkedIn for recruiting. LinkedIn is also invaluable as a platform for establishing your company’s online profile, developing networking partnerships, and maintaining contact with employees. Here’s a look at three ways LinkedIn benefits businesses besides being a job board.
Establishing Your Company’s Online Presence
One of the top reasons businesses use LinkedIn is to develop their online presence and get their brand’s message out there. The LinkedIn platform is designed with built-in features you can use to promote your brand to B2B audiences. Your profile page includes an SEO-oriented description field that displays up to 156 characters on search engine previews, with room for more characters that can be viewed by human readers. On the graphic side, there is room for a company logo and a cover image. You also have the option of including showcase pages that expand on your main page and allow you to emphasize key information about your company.
LinkedIn further serves as a publishing platform that lets you reach your target audience with content that positions your brand. You can also include career pages that let your profile double as a recruitment platform. For example, Amway uses its LinkedIn page to publish content that informs entrepreneurs about business opportunities, as well as employment information for job seekers.
Developing Partnership Networks
With half of college graduates using LinkedIn, the platform also serves as an excellent tool for building strategic partnership networks. You can find potential partners on LinkedIn by looking for companies that do not compete with you but share a similar customer base. For instance, graphic designers and web developers both serve clients who use graphics on websites, so a graphic design firm could partner with a web development company to form a mutual referral network.
Once you identify a potential partner, you can reach out to them with an introduction asking to discuss a mutually beneficial partnership. After you’ve formed your partnership, you can promote it by sharing your partner’s content on social media, as well as inviting your partner to reciprocate. Joshua Wilson of The Dallas Entrepreneur Center uses LinkedIn to partner with angel investors, start-up capitalists, and nonprofits in North Texas. Wilson recommends starting with a list of 100 potential partners and narrowing that down to 20 to prioritize.
Keeping in Touch with Employees
LinkedIn can also be used to network with employees, both present and former. Present employees can be encouraged to connect with each other on LinkedIn and use the platform as an extension of the company intranet. Past employees can be kept in touch with to extend the company’s network to encompass their networks.
LinkedIn previously supported companies using its platform as an intranet extension through the Lookup app. Recently the functionality of Lookup has been transferred to the LinkedIn profile card on Microsoft Office 365, so companies using Office 365 can take advantage of this feature.
As a tool for promoting your company’s online presence, networking with business partners, and maintaining contact with employees, LinkedIn can serve as much more than a job board. Taking advantage of this powerful platform can help your company grow your online outreach, build valuable strategic alliances, and enhance your company’s intranet utility.