How does LinkedIn help people

How can companies use LinkedIn? An introduction

LinkedIn is on the heels of the market leader Xing in the German-speaking area and has a lot to offer not only international entrepreneurs and the self-employed. In this post, Ute Blindert shows you the most important functions for being found on LinkedIn.

facts and figures

While Xing now has 17 million users, LinkedIn has 14 million in German-speaking countries. So it remains exciting to see how the market for the two online business networks in Germany, Austria and Switzerland will develop. According to its own information, LinkedIn has 660 million users worldwide, while Xing is negligible internationally.

In recent years, many companies have asked themselves: Where should we be present? With Xing, LinkedIn or both? Where will the journey go and which horse should you bet on?

Before making a decision, the question should always be: What do we want to achieve with a company website? Can customers, cooperation partners and potential employees be found on LinkedIn? The sheer size of a network and the number of users ultimately says nothing about its suitability for a company and its sales, employee search or communication.

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If you look at the number of users and the companies of the people who are active on LinkedIn, the following statements can be made:

  • 660 million people around the world use LinkedIn.
  • These come from over 200 countries - so LinkedIn is really international.
  • Employees from large companies and corporations are more likely to be found on LinkedIn than on Xing.
  • But employees from medium-sized companies and SMEs are also increasingly to be found, as well as self-employed and solo preneurs.

Sources: official LinkedIn statistics, LinkedInsider

For most companies today, it makes sense to create a company page on LinkedIn and also to encourage employees to be present with a profile. Especially employees from the areas of sales, human resources and communication should show up there.

Personal brand and ambassador for the company

With LinkedIn, employees are of course not only visible to the company, but also to themselves - so it's always about personal visibility, i.e. personal branding. Companies should see their employees as brand ambassadors and support them as such with their presence and visibility on LinkedIn. This cannot be forbidden anyway.

Incidentally, it is particularly important when the management at LinkedIn also shows itself - and preferably not only with a rudimentary profile, but also create articles or write articles in your own name and call for discussions. For the employees of a company, this also sends a signal that invites them to speak publicly about and about the company.

In order to optimize a profile, you should ask yourself the following questions:

  • What and who do I want to reach with my profile?
  • For which topics or products do I want to be noticed?
  • What do I want to convey from the corporate culture?
  • Which terms do I see as key terms in my profile?

Of course, the profile of a sales rep will be different from that of a recruiter. Just like that of a coach from that of an owner of a software company.

Understanding LinkedIn as a search engine

The question about the key terms is aimed directly at the LinkedIn algorithm. The more precisely LinkedIn can classify a profile, the more appropriate LinkedIn's suggestions are. Key terms from the field of human resources could be, for example: Digital HR, Active Sourcing, Candidate Experience, Xing Talent Manager, Linkedin Recruiting, E-Recruiting, E-Recruiting Software, People Analytics, Data Analysis, etc.

These terms should be as clear as possible - and should be thought with the prospect's gaze: What could be interesting for my target person? This also supports the technical possibilities of LinkedIn. LinkedIn's search algorithm needs information in order to be able to suggest suitable profiles for a search. The networking suggestions that LinkedIn always displays are also based on this data.

Stefan Kloß has already shown in his article how the profile can be filled out in detail. In addition, a suitable background image should ideally be incorporated from the company's point of view. I would like to show two nice examples of this here:

5 tips for a good LinkedIn profile (which can be used quickly)

Optimize the profile slogan: There is the option of inserting a profile slogan in the header. This should show the core of a person directly with 70 characters. Why? Well, it is displayed prominently in the header directly below the profile picture and is displayed when searching. It is even advisable to include the most important information in the first 20 characters. The screenshot from the app makes it clear:

Create your own LinkedIn URL: With LinkedIn, the automatically assigned URL with name plus numbers can be replaced with your own URL. You can do that here:

Insert a call-to-action in the first two lines of the "Info" box: Only two lines of the info box plus "Learn more" are displayed. These two lines should be used for a key message or a call to action. Here's a nice example:

Upload media: Various media can be uploaded or linked in the info box, but also in the work experience. Pictures of work samples, slides of a lecture on a company project, these are all conceivable possibilities.

Create profile in different languages: One of the big pluses of LinkedIn is that profiles and pages can be created in 24 languages. This means that customers, candidates or multipliers can be addressed in their respective language. At least one profile in German and English should be common for most companies.

Visibility for your own topics

What is highlighted as particularly valuable on LinkedIn is the engagement rate. With the last major design update in 2017, LinkedIn radically changed its timeline, inviting its members to contribute, share, like and, above all, discuss even more. This is used so intensively by LinkedIn members that LinkedIn is now talking about “Facebook for business”.

Visibility is mainly achieved through activity: LinkedIn rewards it when someone regularly publishes, comments and “likes” posts, as the Dutch social selling consultant Richard van der Blom found out in a study.

In order to publish a post, one logically goes to "Publish a post" in the feed. There is now the option to share a link outside of LinkedIn, as well as upload a video or picture.

In order to give a contribution more "momentum", you should consider the following tips:

  • Tag posts with hashtags: Three hashtags are the best. More hashtags have the opposite effect.
  • Comments are more important than "likes" and "shares": The LinkedIn algorithm rewards interaction in the form of comments, "liking" only has 50 percent of this effect, "sharing" only 25 percent.
  • The answer to a comment is ideally a comment: Anyone who receives a comment on their own contribution, for example in the form of a question, should respond with an answer, an appreciative sentence should at least be answered with a "thank you". Those who take this to heart will be rewarded by the algorithm with a doubling of the range.
  • Post at the right time and get reactions:Good times to post on LinkedIn are between 8am and 10am and in the afternoon between 4pm and 6pm.
  • The first hour is crucial: In the first hour after publication, a post should receive reactions. Then LinkedIn begins to deliver this post more so that more users can see it in their timeline.
  • Use articles and videos occasionally: Articles and videos were pushed by LinkedIn for a while and rewarded with high reach. That doesn't seem to be the case at the moment. There are also counterexamples.
  • Don't post too often in a row: Anyone who posts several posts in a row will be penalized insofar as not all of the reach is obtained.
  • Stay on LinkedIn: Anything that keeps members on the LinkedIn page is rewarded by LinkedIn with greater reach.

A lot can be done to improve visibility with these tips. In the end, however, it is always about providing customers, potential employees or multipliers with content that addresses their needs, answers questions, and expresses appreciation. And what has to be considered with these tips: The settings can of course change again and again on LinkedIn.

Use company pages on LinkedIn

Large, international companies have an easier time using company pages on LinkedIn, as the number of employees on LinkedIn and the awareness alone make it easier for them to gain followers. This is why the “Top Companies - Where Germany wants to work now” only include 25 large companies.

Every company on LinkedIn that finds customers, potential applicants or business partners in this business network should create a company page.

A company page can be set up by going to the LinkedIn Marketing Solutions Portal and clicking on the “My Company Page” button. Or use this link. When creating the company page, the most important information is then queried directly.

In doing so, attention should be paid to the most comprehensive information possible, since fully completed company pages can increase their number of followers twice as quickly as incompletely completed ones. The company description, with which up to 2,000 characters are available, is particularly important here. Up to 20 specialties can be added under the company description. These should be understood like keywords that make it easier to classify the company page.

The next step should be to ensure that all employees who have a profile on LinkedIn "link" it to the company page. This is easy in the profile settings:

This is how companies become visible on LinkedIn

One thing first: LinkedIn does not make it easy for companies to be seen with their company pages: LinkedIn wants to connect people - and not companies with companies. It is therefore all the more important that employees are involved as advocates for a company.

The next step is to create content for the company website. Not all companies necessarily have to provide content on LinkedIn. Small companies in particular can leave it at one page with the basic information for the time being.

The difficulty lies in the fact that posts from company sites are extremely rarely displayed to users in the timeline. You have to post very regularly - preferably once a day. In addition, the articles and updates from the company should add value for the followers of the site. It doesn't always have to be your own content, news from other sources can also be included here. The integration of external sources is particularly useful when it comes to stimulating other users to discuss.

Here is the example of GLS Bank, which practices this very well:

Posts should be varied and useful overall, i.e. switch between images, videos and linked posts. Here, too, care should be taken to ensure that the persons or companies involved are linked with an @ symbol.

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What the focus pages are all about

In addition to the company pages, LinkedIn also offers focus pages. These are particularly relevant when a company has different brands under its roof and wants to reach markets. These are not useful for small and medium-sized companies, so they will not be discussed in more detail here.

Here is an example of a Showcase Page associated with a Company Page:

Presence in groups

In order to build a network on LinkedIn for a company, it is also advisable to look at different groups. These groups can be found using the search function and require some research. Groups that discuss and discuss topics that are relevant to the company are likely to be the appropriate ones. However, it is also worth exchanging ideas with employees: they often know about groups or are already represented in groups and can make recommendations.

With regard to groups, too, it is advisable that managers from the company are also present and make contributions there. This presence often has a motivating function for the employees of a company.

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What comes, what stays

Even if these did not play a role in this article, the possibilities of other offers and apps on LinkedIn are particularly interesting for companies. These include, for example, LinkedIn Learning, SlideShare, Talent Insights or business services such as Talent Solutions, Sales Solutions, advertisements, etc.

The first few people and companies also get the opportunity to go live on LinkedIn. You have to apply for this feature, but it can be worthwhile.

Events come back - but you have to set English as the default language, then the "Event" function will appear in the settings. Stephan Kloß described the workaround in his blog.

Conclusion

LinkedIn will not go away anymore - on the contrary: It is already a fixture in German-speaking countries - if it doesn't even play the most important role. The functions and the possibilities for interactivity and visibility are convincing and show that LinkedIn listens to its users and offers them meaningful solutions. Companies should therefore definitely deal with this network and its diverse possibilities.


This article belongs to: UPLOAD Magazine 79

The world of digital marketing is turning fast and with this issue we are giving you a snapshot of the current state of affairs. We take a look at how companies can use LinkedIn. We have a detailed introduction to SEO for online shops. We explain how B2B marketing today finds its role between humanity and machine intelligence. We show how the advertising economy is preparing for a world without cookies. And we demonstrate how important animations are in marketing and how you can use them.

Ute Blindert is the founder of Blindert Consulting, which focuses on the topic of "Networking in the digital age for companies and organizations". She gives lectures and advises companies on how they can use networks and community building for change processes. She blogs at www.uteblindest.de and writes as a columnist for XING Insider. In 2015 her book “Via Netzwerk zum Job” was published by Campus Verlag. She is a volunteer adviser to Digital Media Women e.V.

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