LinkedIn is known as the social network for professionals and a great place to find jobs or clients, or to discover new talent.
But did you know that LinkedIn is also a great addition to your PR toolbox?
Here are some ways LinkedIn can boost your PR efforts:
- research journalists before you pitch to them, to discover insights and other background information that will help you make a better pitch
- get introduced to journalists, editors and bloggers
- be discoverable by a different audience than you’re already reaching
- improve your company website’s SEO
- gather intelligence on your market, audience, and competitors
How exactly can you accomplish all this? The key is to know the different parts of LinkedIn and how to leverage them for PR:
The first key for businesses is to have a company page. Fill it in completely and post to it at least once a week. If you also have a blog, post links to your new blog posts on your company page.
Also, did you know that other LinkedIn users can follow your company page? Make sure you have a “Follow Us” LinkedIn button on your website and blog.
One last thing. Make sure all your employees who are on LinkedIn, connect their profile pages to your company page. The only thing they need to do is to add your company name in their profile page, making sure to use the exact company name that’s on your company page.
Which brings us to….
Your Profile Page
Many of your contacts will discover your company page through your profile page, and that of your employees. So if your profile is incomplete, inaccurate, unprofessional, or worse, not publicly accessible, then you’re missing out.
Journalists could be using LinkedIn to find someone to interview in your industry. Make sure your profile page makes a good impression.
Speaking of profiles, how are the LinkedIn profiles of your employees? If they’re connecting their profile pages to your company page (and they should), they are ambassadors of your company. Give them the tools to create professional-looking LinkedIn profiles.
If you want to be connected to a certain journalist, see how the two of you are connected. You can ask one (or more) of your connections to introduce you, so you’re not coming out of the dark.
LinkedIn groups are a great source of information, advice, ideas, and new connections. Join groups in your industry to find out what your market wants, or what your competitors are up to. You can also join groups for other PR professionals. You could even lurk in journalists’ groups just to see what they’re interested in nowadays.
Post answers to questions about your product or industry. This will display your expertise.
You can also post questions yourself, as part of your market research.
Whether they’re on your personal profile or company page, recommendations give social proof of your and your company’s credibility. Would you rather work with an individual with 500+ connections but no recommendations? Or someone with 300 connections and 30 recommendations? Get more recommendations by giving them out first.
You can also ask some of your best customers to post recommendations on your products in your company page. If they’ve already given you a written testimonial to use in your marketing materials, encourage them to post the same testimonial on your company page. This saves them the effort of having to write another testimonial.
Don’t overlook your ability to post updates from your LinkedIn home page and your company page. This may seem like yet another piece of content to create, but remember that updates from your home page can be synchronized with your Twitter, Facebook and Google+ accounts, and vice versa. Although, it’s still better to post unique updates just for your LinkedIn contacts.
Updates from your company page are visible to those who follow your company, so choose updates that are about your product or company. And don’t forget links to your latest blog posts.
Scratching the Surface
As you can see, LinkedIn offers many opportunities for businesses to improve their online presence, reach out to new audiences, and support their PR efforts.
How have you been using LinkedIn, and how can you better use it for PR? Share your experiences and/or plans with me below. Or connect with me on Twitter or Facebook.
PS: Do you want to learn how to use LinkedIn in a way that gets business results? I highly recommend Lewis Howes’ LinkedInfluence. I purchased it myself and used Lewis’ strategies to increase my ranking for PR. Click here to learn more about LinkedInfluence (affiliated).
Elena is founder of a technology PR agency that works with startups to billion-dollar companies. She is passionate about helping marketers and small business owners with practical publicity strategies, which she's also using for her own bling flip flop company.
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