Small businesses often spend a majority of their social media efforts focusing on establishing their brands on the most popular social networks: Facebook and Twitter. While each of these networks can certainly fill specific small business marketing and branding goals when executed correctly, LinkedIn is often only seen as a personal network that benefits the individual or job seeker.
In reality, a comprehensive LinkedIn strategy can help small businesses analyze their competitors’ networks, increase sales opportunities, hire top talent and establish industry influence, along with many other benefits. Take a look at these four tactics your small business can establish today to better optimize your LinkedIn strategy moving forward.
Building a strong understanding of what your competitors are up to on social media can be an important aspect when considering your own strategic marketing and social planning in the future. Differentiating your brand from your competition can be better informed by conducting thorough research of your competitor’s LinkedIn profiles.
To execute this tactic, start by finding your competition or brands that you admire on LinkedIn; generally, you can find their profile directly from their website, a Google search, the LinkedIn search box or through one of their employees’ profiles. From here, you can get in-depth information on how your competition is positioning themselves in the industry by researching the details they publish about themselves on their LinkedIn company page.
In this example from BioFlorida, you can determine how popular its brand is by the amount of followers it has, details about its employees and what other companies its audience is interested in under the “People Also Viewed” section.
Learning more about your competitor’s staffing composition from their company page can help guide the direction of your future hires and give you a better idea of much they are spending on their teams, as well.
One common goal among B2B companies both big and small is to increase sales with social media, and LinkedIn provides a comprehensive feature set that helps sales professionals accomplish these goals.
Find and qualify target audience: Start by targeting ideal companies that would be interested in your products. Next, browse their current employees on LinkedIn and select the employees who are most likely to be interested in your B2B products or services.
Gather context before reaching out to leads: Once you’ve found the ideal candidate, study their profile information and create a pre-email or pre-call plan. Look for any mutual connections, shared work experiences, alma maters or any other areas that could provide talking points to guide your next sales correspondence to be more human.
Get introduced to leads through mutual connections: If you have mutual connections with a targeted lead and you have a strong relationship with those mutual connections, consider asking for an introduction. A proper introduction can change a cold call into a warm lead—which can increase your chances for success.
Send InMails to expand your sales outreach: Another way to reach your prospective leads and deliver your message into their email box is to experiment with sending InMails. This feature is only available to paying members of LinkedIn, but since its boasts a nearly three times higher open rate than the typical email, it may be worth exploring to get your pitch in front of the right people.
Use LinkedIn as a free customer-relationship manager: A smart way for small B2B companies to make the most out of LinkedIn is to use its free CRM capabilities after making a connection. This feature is labeled “Relationship,” and it is available under the profile image and headline section. In this section, you can see past conversations that you’ve had on LinkedIn, view when you connected, add detailed follow up notes and organize connections with the tag feature. While not as comprehensive as a high-end CRM, this LinkedIn feature can help small businesses enjoy many of the benefits of a CRM without the hefty price tag.
Using the search function on LinkedIn can help you more easily seek out professionals with skill sets that can help grow your small business—and you don’t necessarily need the pricey LinkedIn Recruiter package to accomplish this.
Sometimes the best talent options for your business are already working for other companies and may be passively interested in new careers. To find these professionals, perform a search for the position or skills that you are looking for in the LinkedIn search feature.
From there, you can select options to narrow down your search and only display professionals that are within your geographic location, first- or second-degree connections, have completed a certain education level or a variety of other factors.
For example, say that your company is interested in hiring a content manager to maintain your online marketing and digital content creation. By performing a search for content managers in your areas, you can have a list of professionals that are likely to have the skills that you’re interested in.
From here, you can browse and reach out to potential candidates. Take note of their job titles, listed skill sets and the content that they share on their profiles to better inform your hiring needs and required terms for later searches.
Additionally, by completing and publishing new content to your own company page, you can position your brand to appear more interesting for potential hires, which can increase the likelihood that they’d want to join your team.
Your company and employees can showcase their industry expertise and appeal to potential clients by using LinkedIn as a platform to publish content to build leadership. Yes, you should use LinkedIn to develop a well-branded company page and feature updates about your business, but you should also try using each of your employees’ profiles to promote your business.
Each of your employees’ LinkedIn profiles can help to tell the story of your company—the type of talent you hire, the personality of your people and the level of expertise on your team. Optimizing these networks is particularly important for small businesses to make their mark on their prospective industries since their branding is not yet as recognizable as the more established companies.
Encourage your employees to highlight the culture and experience of your company to their audiences and monitor the key performance indicators that indicate your brand’s growth through LinkedIn. For more tips on how small business can better utilize LinkedIn, refer to LinkedIn’s Small Business program or follow it on Twitter.
Article courtesy of SocialTimes Feed
With the upcoming release of Marvel’s Ant-Man in theaters, three major Marvel mobile games have been updated with themed content for fans who can’t wait for the film’s release.
First, Netmarble’s Marvel Future Fight has been updated with Ant-Man content, as well as general new features. The update introduces characters including Ant-Man, Giant Man, Wasp and Yellowjacket to the game, and sees Ant-Man completing new missions focusing on differences in scale. This includes the ability to play enlarged and minimized versions of existing quests.
Marvel Future Fight is an action RPG, which sees players collecting characters from the Marvel universe and taking them into missions to defeat their enemies.
In addition to Ant-Man specific content, this update introduces the new S.H.I.E.L.D. Lab to players, giving them a place to upgrade their equipment. A new alliance mode is also available, allowing gamers to form guilds of up to 30 players. These alliances can access specific alliance quests and alliance skills.
Finally, new in-game rewards have been added, including a new Hero Lotto Ant-Man character chest, an updated dimension chest that includes Ant-Man characters and biometric data, a new Ant-Man uniform and a Nickname Changer item.
A second title, Kabam’s Marvel of Contest of Champions, has been updated with a special Ant-Man story event. In Marvel Contest of Champions, players build a team of heroes and villains from the Marvel Universe, and take these characters into both single-player and multiplayer battles.
In this update, Ant-Man has discovered something unusual in the world of Battlerealm, as a group of tiny Adaptoids are seen carrying ISO-8 fragments to an unknown location. Players will complete new quests to learn more about this mystery, with new quests being released every four to five days.
In the upcoming weeks, the game will receive additional characters, including Yellowjacket, Elektra, War Machine and more. Additionally, this update adds a new Alliance Quests feature to the game, allowing players to complete new maps in real-time with their Alliance. Finally, players can also compete on their own in the player-vs-player arenas, or team up with their alliance in the alliance arenas for both Ant-Man and Yellowjacket.
Finally, D3 Go‘s puzzle battle game, Marvel Puzzle Quest, has received the limited-time ‘Growth Industry’ event, allowing gamers to recruit Ant-Man for their team after they’ve completed a series of five missions. These missions will take place over the next 30 days, with the event concluding on Aug. 8, 2015.
Article courtesy of SocialTimes Feed
Do you pay attention to who is sharing, replying to and engaging with your tweets the most? Or the people you’re connected to within your industry, who have huge followings that hang on their every word?
Twitter can be a great tool for influencer marketing – building relationships with influential, targeted individuals or brands. Here are five reasons why you should consider seeking out and connecting with your own Twitter heavy-hitters:
1. Increase your reach
If you build strong relationships with influencers on Twitter, they might become fans of your brand and start spreading the word.
Imagine sending a tweet that is not only seen by your 1,500 followers, but by the 150,000 followers that a Twitter influencer within your industry has.
Each time an influencer retweets you or engages with your tweet, you increase your reach and exposure. And by developing real relationships with these influencers, you can ask them to write product reviews, send sponsored tweets or more to augment your marketing efforts.
2. Know your audience
Connecting to the right influencers can actually provide you with some great audience insights.
Beginning by identifying influencers within your industry, you can explore who they are connected to to get an idea of what your target audience is like on Twitter. Check out who they follow, who follows them, and – possibly most importantly – the lists they are part of and have created. These will all offer up a different slice of your potential target audience, which you can examine one-on-one or in the aggregate using analytics tools.
3. Earn trust
By aligning yourself with trusted influencers, your brand will be perceived as more trustworthy itself. Typically, consumers trust word-of-mouth recommendations more than they trust messages sent directly from brands – so if you are connected to influencers who share your message, consumers may trust your brand more.
Of course, this strategy relies on a number of caveats. First, you must be connected to the right influencer: someone who is trustworthy and whose values align with both your brand values and the values of your target audience. And second, the influencer must genuinely want to share your brand’s message, because they feel it will add value to their followers’ lives. Otherwise, the endorsement will be hollow and may backfire.
4. Inform your content
Simply identifying influencers in your niche or industry can help you brainstorm content for your own marketing efforts.
Take a look at what they’re sharing and writing about. What’s trending? What’s controversial? What’s new? Influencers are often the first to share news or opinions within an industry, so following their example could be a fruitful strategy. Just be sure to use their content as inspiration – not as a carbon copy!
5. Meet new connections
By reaching out to influencers, you can find new connections, leads and potential partnerships. Many influencers will be happy to introduce two people or businesses within their network that they feel could be mutually beneficial to one another. By becoming part of an influencer’s network, you may be able to find new and interesting connections.
(Influence image via Shutterstock)
Article courtesy of SocialTimes Feed