greater impact from LinkedInSmall businesses that operate in the B2B (business to business) arena should rely on LinkedIn more than other social media platforms.  Yes, there are other platforms on which you can promote your company, but none are as good as LinkedIn for businesses.   LinkedIn is by far the most business focused social media platform on the Internet today.  With its vast reach and professional focus, every small business should try to get greater impact from LinkedIn, don’t you think?

A DMR report on LinkedIn from October, 2016, indicated that LinkedIn has 467 million users worldwide.  That’s over 100 million more people than the population of the United States.  LinkedIn users span more than 200 countries around the world.  For more information, you can order the entire study with more than 130 statistics about LinkedIn for only $2.99 USD.

How might a small business improve their visibility and achieve greater impact from LinkedIn?  First of all, it is important that users embrace as many of the features offered to let the world – and potential customers – know about you and your firm.

Show Yourself More for Greater Impact from LinkedIn

Simple things like including a professional headshot in your profile make a difference.  Would you believe that an image improves your chances of getting a message on LinkedIn by 36%?  It’s true.  According to the DMR report, by just listing your skills in your profile, you can expect 13% more profile views.  If you have at least five skills listed, that profile view statistic jumps up to 17% more views.

Share the Maximum Information for Greater Impact from LinkedIn

Clearly, it pays to provide as much information possible about yourself, your skills, your credentials and other pertinent data.  Try to fill in as many of the Profile categories as you can.  Don’t skimp on information that can make a difference between you and a competitor using LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is probably the largest business search engine and data base available.  Prospects can search for you by name, by company name, by skills, employers, job types, educational institutions and groups.  Think of your LinkedIn personal and business profiles as an important extension of your website.

Internet searchEverything about you on LinkedIn needs to be thought about in terms of search ability Just as you optimize your website to be found through Google and other search engines, your LinkedIn profile should be no different.  You want to be found by potential customers.  Make it easy on those searching for the types of skills and services you possess.

Nikki Howell recently published an article on the Business to Community website on how to grab attention by sharing content marketing articles through LinkedIn.   She recommended posting status updates on your home page, participating in groups, setting up a company page and keeping it updated.  Any one of these would be helpful, but all of them would be so much more valuable.

Howell also highly recommended posting Pulse articles.  The Pulse venue can have a major impact for your firm on LinkedIn.  Pulse helps LinkedIn users attract high levels of attention.   By publishing your content marketing articles on Pulse, they are available to every user of the LinkedIn platform.  Remember, that puts your thoughts and expertise in front of over 465 Million business people around the world.

Not interested in the whole world?  Your expertise can still get in front of over 165 Million business people just in the U.S.  Not bad, is it?  Where else could you expect that kind of access to potential customers – for free?  I can’t think of any other platform, can you?

Howell shared a few thoughts on how to be successful when using the Pulse feature for your content marketing efforts:

  1. Article length implies value.  Good quality articles should be somewhat lengthy – over 1600 words – to be useful to readers. The best results won’t come from short ‘fluff’ articles.  Prospects want information they can use to improve their own businesses.  They want something in depth that they can implement.  They are looking for substance.  Howell stated that Pulse articles between 2000 and 2500 words get the most comments and shares.
  2. Good headlines grab readers’ attention. The headline has to grab the interest of readers.  Otherwise, they won’t click through and actually read the article.  Some of the best article headlines begin with titles that share “How to….”, “Why you should…”, “What you can gain by…” and those types of attention grabbing hooks.  Lists articles are also quite popular with readers.
  3. Long articles need key elements if you actually want them read. Formatting that allows readers to scan the article is important. Bullet points and lists work well, as do short paragraphs.  Readers tend to skim articles, looking for key points to help them decide if the article is worth reading in its entirety.
  4. Visual elements are important.  As the saying goes: “A picture is worth a thousand words.”  The human brain is wired to learn visually.  Including pertinent pictures, charts and graphs help readers work through and understand the information contained in your article.  Video pieces can also attract reader attention.  2000 or more words of nothing by text will not attract or hold the attention of readers.

We live and operate our small businesses in a world where content marketing rules.  Prospects are searching for answers on the Internet, not in newspapers or magazines.  The Pew Research Center tells us that 68% of adults in the U.S. now have smartphones.  That number is up from 35% just five years ago.  Tablet computers are now owned by 45% of the U.S. population.

Most of the time, we’re not really all that different.  None of us, or our companies, is particularly special.  But we do need to convince consumers what we have to offer will solve their problems.  To reach our potential ‘ideal’ customers, we need to be where they can easily find us.

It is crucial that we are where customers are looking for solutions to their problems and challenges – online.  Small businesses that resist playing on the Internet field will surely fail.  Content marketing rules the day.  Good content marketing takes time, effort and solid strategies.  It is time to set your content marketing strategy right now for the coming year.  Let’s sit down right after the first of the year to discuss how to make content marketing work for you.