With over 238 million professionals using LinkedIn, the business-minded social media site offers up an appealing avenue for reaching high-quality potential customers. The appeal is there, whether your online business operates in the business-to-business (B2) or business-to-consumer (B2C) arena. Once you’ve covered the basics of your business, such as installing an SDSL Internet connection and writing your business plan, it’s time to promote your business through LinkedIn.

Reaching Company Decision Makers

LinkedIn is most often identified as the social network for businesses who wish to target other businesses (B2). It offers several routes for reaching company decision makers, including content marketing services. According to Forbes, results of a recent study among the 50,000 members taking part in LinkedIn’s B2B Technology Marketing community showed that 85 percent of participants identify LinkedIn as their top social network for content delivery.

Targeting Consumers

LinkedIn’s reach to B2B audiences is only part of what the website has to offer. Despite its reputation as an online professional network for establishing business relationships, those 238 million professionals are also consumers, many of whom are educated household decision-makers. This makes LinkedIn a viable source for high quality, ultra-targeted audiences.

LinkedIn Groups

There are two ways to promote your online business using LinkedIn groups, and both can be effective whether you are marketing B2B or B2C.

Firstly, you can represent your business and join groups as an individual, taking part in discussions and engaging others with similar interests. Not only does this help you reach prospective customers, it also enables you to more easily monitor competitors. You may also pick up some new marketing ideas along the way.

The second way to promote your business via LinkedIn groups is to launch your own group. Doing so helps build your company’s reputation as a thought leader and authoritative voice within your sector. LinkedIn groups can also help build sustainable relationships with current and prospective customers and provide exclusive access to those targeted audiences you are trying to connect with.

To get started, browse LinkedIn’s list of existing groups, which can be found under its products and services section, to see if there are some groups that are particularly active in your sector. To form a new group, click on the “Interests” navigation tab from a profile page and then choose “Groups”, which will display the groups you are involved in, as well as a link for launching new groups.

Company Page

Just as it sounds, your company page tells prospective customers about your company and its products or services, and it will come up in LinkedIn searches. A company page allows you to post status updates directly from your page so your posts can carry your company logo or another identifying image.

Company pages can also be useful for building up product/service recommendations from LinkedIn users and promoting job openings at your company. Keep the text on your page engaging, and note any groups your company is sponsoring. LinkedIn offers tutorial videos on making an effective company page to help you get started.

In addition to groups and company pages, LinkedIn offers a number of other tools designed to help businesses get the most out of the site, such as sales navigator, paid advertising, and its content marketing service, LinkedIn platform. Assistance in using these and other business services is available from the LinkedIn products and services page.

-Nancy Boyce, Blue Fire Media