You may be a big fan of Twitter or consider Facebook your favourite social network, but did you know that LinkedIn is quite possibly one of the most useful tools for entrepreneurs and professionals? Especially for connecting with the right people, driving new leads, referrals and ultimately new business.

So in this post I aim to refresh your memory on why LinkedIn is great for business, how to create a great company profile and add in your products and services. And oh did I mention a giveaway? Read on.

The Benefits of LinkedIn

It’s a place to scope out key contacts, business partners, joint venture opportunities, and talk to potential clients. You can also stalk high profile media and executives and CEOs (ok maybe connect with them is better) through referrals and introductions.

According to Lab42′s July 2011 survey of 500+ LinkedIn users:

  • 61% of LinkedIn users said LinkedIn is the social site they use most for professional networking.
  • 35% check the site daily and LinkedIn users are also active in other social networks as well. 46% of those surveyed said they also have a Twitter account, and 79% indicated they have a Facebook account, too.
  • The large majority (81%) of users surveyed belong to at least one LinkedIn group, and of those users, 52% participate in group discussions
Plus now you can actually promote your business more effectively since the Company Profile just got a whole lot more social.

 1. Creating A LinkedIn Company Profile

If you haven’t set up your Company Profile then login and head to this link now to create one. Check out my one for an idea on how it will look. While you’re at it feel free to follow the Suitcase Entrepreneur.

Then go ahead and:

  • Add your logo and company description
  • Enter your company specialties as categories
  • Enter in your Twitter account username
  • Add your blog feed so it displays on this profile
  • Fill in the details on company size, no. of employees & year founded
  • Add your employees, or better yet ask them to join your Company Profile and link to it on their own profile.

 2. Showcasing Your Products and Services

It gets even better because now you can actually showcase your products and services to visitors who may never have know you had such things on offer!

After searching through a lot of companies on LinkedIn I’m surprised at how few people are using this feature, but you can be sure they will be soon. However Hewlett Packard’s Company Profile is a shining example of how to do this right. Check out their rotating banners too. 

Hewlett Packard Shining Example of a LinkedIn Company Profile

The Company Profile `Products’ tab allows you to: 

  • Add in products and services that you offer with details linking to the pages on your website where people can find them.
  • Create different versions of your products pages for different countries depending on what services and products you offer, you just click `New Audience’ to duplicate and edit your default page each time.
  • Market and showcase your company with up to 3 images (each 640×220 pixels) that give you a rotating spotlight module to display on your page.
  • Drive traffic by adding URLs that direct where you want people to go on your website when they click your images.
  • Offer specials on your products right there on your company profile and get people to recommend your products too.

Adding products is as easy as pie. 

LinkedIn talk you through it when you click on `Add a new product’. Here’s an example I filled out below:

 Adding a product on your LinkedIn company profile

Here’s an example of the two products I’ve added in after doing the above. Once you’ve added them you can share them direct from the page and get people to recommend them if they’ve bought your products or used your services. This is a great way to build credibility for visitors to your company profile too when they see what great work you’re doing.

Hint: If you’ve bought my BYOB Build Your Online Business Guide or my Ultimate Toolkit For Evolutionary Entrepreneurs I’d love for you to leave a recommendation!

Making The Most Of Your Company Profile

LinkedIn have just made some pretty groovy updates that make your experience on LinkedIn more social. Now your Company Profile is going to act more like your personal profile on Facebook. Yes it finally has a purpose!

Here are the key changes:

  • Followers of your Company (similar to likes of your page) will now see your company status updates on their homepage, or by going to your Company’s “Overview” tab.
  • Each Follower’s network will also be able to see posts in the home feed so long as the follower comments, likes, or shares your post.
  • To post a Company Status Update, you must be an Administrator of your Company Page, and it must be set to “Designated Admins only”.
  • Posts can be up to 500 characters (including spaces).

Here’s where to add yourself as a designated admin and anyone else that will be managing your company profile:

  • Go to your company page Overview Tab > Click on Admin Tools > Click on Edit
  • Follow the instructions below and select yourself as an adminstrator
  • Then click Publish to save your changes

Managing your admins on your LinkedIn Company Profile

Even better LinkedIn have created analytics for you to look at and measure your results, much like Facebook Insights, where you will be able to see:

  • Impressions (number of views of the status update) on each Company status update and;
  • Engagement (total number of clicks, likes, shares and comments/ total impressions).
So if your page has been sitting idle I’d suggest now is a great time to go in for a refresh and bring it to the forefront. After you’ve updated it grab the embed code for the LinkedIn Company button and display it on your website for people to follow your company.

LinkedIn Have The Answers

I have to admit that I find LinkedIn one of the most logical social networks to navigate around. If for whatever reason though you just can’t find what you’re looking for then their Help section is really well laid out and informative.

Recently I used it to send them an email to see if it was possible to change my Company Profile name from my former brand WomanzWorld to Suitcase Entrepreneur. Six days later I received an apology on the delay and this response that you may find helpful too:

“Company Page name changes must be internally. Thanks for keeping this information up to date. The name on your Company Page has been changed to Suitcase Entrepreneur.

If you would like this change to show up on your personal Profile as well, you will need to reselect the company name listed for your current position.

This can be done by taking the following steps: 

  1. Click the “Profile” link located in the top navigation area of the home page. This will take you to the “Edit My Profile” tab.
  2. Click the “Edit” link next to the position.
  3. Click the “Change Company” link next to existing company name.
  4. Type in the full name of your company. If your company name appears in the dropdown list of companies as you type, be sure to hover over and click on the company name to ensure proper company name selection.
  5. Fill out any additional fields as prompted. The “Website” field is not a required field.
  6. Click the “Update” button to save your changes.”

And so I did and it all worked perfectly and I’m now all LinkedUp on LinkedIn

I’m feeling generous:

I’m giving away one month free in my Social Media Club valued at $20.

All you need to do is tell is share this post and leave a comment below on what your biggest social media challenge is.