By Karen Nardozza, Moxxy President and CEO
Whether people are working from home, still out in the field, working reduced hours or not working at all, everybody is spending more time on social media during this time of social distancing and shelter in place.
LinkedIn is a powerful social media platform for business. And since your current and future customers, clients, peers and employees are more active than ever, now is an excellent time to up your LinkedIn game—as long as you do it appropriately and authentically. Here are tips for taking your LinkedIn engagement to the next level.
Build Your Audience First
The more people in your network, the more who can see your posts. Start by making sure your existing clients, employees, and other colleagues are connections. LinkedIn makes it easy by allowing you to import your contact list so you can see who you still need to connect with.
Once you’re connected with your “inner circle,” you can begin expanding and growing your network. I like to have an achievable goal such as reaching out to 10 new people per day. It’s easiest if you pay for a premium account, because you can search more deeply, but even with a free account, you can easily find people to invite into your network. Looking up connections of your current connections is a great place to start. It helps to personalize your invitation with a note: “I’m also a connection of Jane’s and thought we could benefit from sharing our expertise in the fresh produce category.” Once connected, you’ll have access to their contact information and will be able to call or email outside of LinkedIn.
Post to Your Company Page, Share Personally
It makes sense for companies that have multiple people in marketing or business development roles to have a LinkedIn company page and to use it as a conduit to expand the reach of your LinkedIn posts. But if there are only one or two of you active on LinkedIn, focusing on a company page could make your company appear much smaller than it really is (or than you want it to appear to be).
Even if you have a company page, most people have many more connections in their personal LinkedIn network than they do followers for their company page. In this situation, to expand the reach of your posts, first post to your company page, then share the post personally. Have other people on your team share it too, and you’ll greatly expand your message distribution.
Keep it Authentic and Appropriate
Be consistent with your brand messaging—now is not the time to portray a new image that people might interpret as opportunistic or disingenuous. If you’re known as a high-touch company that cares about its customers, leverage that to show how you care during these difficult times. If you’re known as an efficient, strictly-business organization, build upon your reputation for getting things done. Be careful with comedy—keep in mind what people are going through and how they might react to your messages. People are still buying and selling things, but messages that are hard-sell could be counter-productive.
Stick to Share-Worthy Content
Is what you’re considering posting useful, informative, or insightful in a business environment? If you saw it from somebody else, would you share it? If not, write or find something else to post. Here are a few ideas for share-worthy subjects:
• Industry trends and statistics
• How companies—yours and others—are innovating and adapting
• Acknowledge and thank your workers
• Recognize your customers and supply chain
Reach Out and Share Something
Content posted to LinkedIn does not need to be original to be beneficial. Don’t just like good content posted by others, comment on it and share it. Share posts from industry groups, research organizations, posts from your customers and prospects (these can be very powerful). As long as you stick to your brand and are sharing posts that are useful and insightful, you can’t go wrong.
It’s a Hashtag, Not a Pound Sign
On LinkedIn, people can search and follow hashtags, making them useful tools to extend the reach and life of your content posts. Try using a mix of broad categories with big followings (e.g. #Farm) with hashtags you can “own” (e.g. #MyFarm). I suggest though, that you avoid using hashtags that could appear strictly self-serving (e.g. #MyFarmIsGreat).
Build Your Brand Now—Sell Later
In the midst of this COVID-19 pandemic, most people are focused on urgent “must-do’s”, not “it’d be nice to-do’s”. It might be a difficult time to introduce new products or generate sales from new customers, but it’s an excellent time to build your brand and lay the groundwork for future sales.
The Coronavirus pandemic has caused a significant disruption in our lives and at our businesses, but it also has created opportunities for business improvements. I hope these tips motivate you to use this time to reevaluate your presence, refocus your marketing goals and work on how you can use the tools available at your disposal today, such as LinkedIn, to help your brand become stronger tomorrow.