If you’ve looked for a job in the past five years, you’ve probably made sure to spruce up your LinkedIn profile. But, LinkedIn isn’t just a social networking site for job seekers—it’s also a great marketing platform for businesses.

If you’re looking to become an expert voice in your particular industry, you may want to consider adding LinkedIn to your social media marketing arsenal. However, before you get to posting, let’s go over what type of content LinkedIn is best for, and how to use the platform effectively.

Understand LinkedIn’s primary function

LinkedIn is, first and foremost, a workplace networking site with a heavy focus on hiring and professional development. So, setting up your LinkedIn company page will potentially help you with recruiting and hiring, and give you a way to connect with new suppliers, vendors, investors, and so on. For the purposes of this article, however, we’re focusing on using the platform as a marketing tool.

While LinkedIn has a unique focus compared to other social platforms, you can still incorporate it into your social media marketing strategy. You should realize, however, that you won’t necessarily be able to approach LinkedIn with the same strategy you use for your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest marketing.

In addition to serving as an online job networking space, LinkedIn serves as a business-focused social network. In particular, LinkedIn groups function as networking opportunities between professionals across a huge spectrum of industries. This means that your content should be focused on things pertaining to your specific industry, and should help build your business’s presence as a thought leader in your specific industry.

While the content you curate for other social platforms can (and arguably should) have a lifestyle focus, your LinkedIn strategy should center around your industry, and what your business can contribute to that space.

The different types of LinkedIn pages

Before we go into more detail on what to post, let’s look at the different types of LinkedIn pages out there.

If you have a personal LinkedIn account, you have what is known as a LinkedIn profile; it’s essentially your online resume. LinkedIn also allows you to create company pages, and pages for groups. If you’re familiar with Facebook, it is similar to how Facebook lets individuals, businesses, and groups all have different types of pages.

Unique to LinkedIn, however, is the Showcase pages function. Showcase pages are a place where you can highlight a specific brand or product within your company.

For the purposes of this article, we will be talking primarily about a company page, rather than your own personal LinkedIn profile. However, it is worth noting that you do need a personal profile on LinkedIn in order to set up a company page, so make sure you set up your LinkedIn profile before proceeding.

Create a company page

The first step to establishing your business on LinkedIn is creating a company page for your business. LinkedIn Small Business is a great starting point, as is their article on creating a company page.

The importance of a strong company page is obvious: in the world of LinkedIn, it’s all about your company and your industry, not just whether or not you can create appealing content for that particular platform.

For a great company page, make sure to fill out all the required information, including contact details, a description of your company, and branded images like your logo and a personalized banner. Additionally, make sure that all of your employees add your business as their current employer on LinkedIn, which helps legitimize your page and increases exposure.

Engage with LinkedIn groups

Now that you have the basics of your page set up, it’s time to take advantage of LinkedIn’s primary function as a networking tool for industry professionals. To do this, take some time to go through LinkedIn’s groups and join those relevant to your industry.

In order to get the most out of your LinkedIn groups, cast a wide net at first, but eventually narrow it down. Remember, the goal here is to connect, network, and build your brand as a thought leader in your industry. Unless you have a large amount of time to devote to interacting with dozens of LinkedIn groups, avoid trying to be a part of as many groups as possible.

Choose a few active groups, contribute to discussions, and post your content in relevant groups (more on that in the next section).

Share content on LinkedIn

If you have a blog, make sure to share your content directly to your LinkedIn profile, by posting it manually or by scheduling it via a third-party program (we like Coschedule here at Bplans).

Consider also sharing your content to the groups you are a part of, too. Now, that being said: Don’t be spammy. This will likely make you appear desperate and less reputable, which is the opposite of what you’re trying to achieve.

Instead, focus on the groups you selected earlier that you are actively engaging with on a regular basis, and post blog content that you think the group members will genuinely enjoy and benefit from. Ideally, you want people to engage with the content you post, so try asking questions or prompting members to engage.

Integrate SlideShare into your company page

LinkedIn is, in a lot of ways, limited in terms of the kind of content you are able to share on your company page. You can post updates about your business, and share blog posts and external articles—but that’s pretty much it.

Enter SlideShare, the slide deck platform purchased by LinkedIn in 2012. You’re likely familiar with SlideShare, a site that is part social networking platform and part content creation tool.

SlideShares can be embedded on your LinkedIn company page, and are a great way to share information about your company or to delve deeply into a topic where you have expertise. For more on creating a great SlideShare, check out Social Media Examiner’s 7 Ways to Use SlideShare for Your Business.

Do you have any further questions about using LinkedIn for your small business? Let us know on Twitter or Facebook, or reach out to me directly on Twitter!

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