How to use LinkedIn to promote your business

LinkedIn is fast turning into a great place to meet exactly the right kind of people that can benefit your business most. Be they prospective new clients or staff, suppliers or respected industry leaders. For purveyors or information, LinkedIn can also be the venue to share what you write about.

LinkedIn, the professional business network

Earlier this evening (which, by the time you read this will be the day before), I found a question on LinkedIn’s Q&A, asking: How do you promote your business / services / blog using LinkedIn?

Posting your blog articles and services web pages on LinkedIn

I thought this was an excellent question, so I decided to reply, and offer that reply here for all to read, but expanded with more detail.

Posting to related groups

It’s tempting to join a related group and just post your stuff there. While that is a legitimate avenue for promoting your articles, I would suggest you do so only when your article offers something, like advice, help, tips etc. Something people will find useful.

Some people can — and will — interpret the posting of your articles to groups as being “spammy” and overly self promotional. Often, the people that are being spammy don’t follow up any of the comments.

That’s the problem with pushing articles about your services — they’re out-and-out self-promotional. The focus needs to be on adding value to the members of the group. Give them something to remember you by.

Of course, there are exceptions, but you need to be totally sure you’re offering something that will really help people out and not come over as being just another sales pitch.

Posting to the Q&A

I personally answer questions on LinkedIn’s Q&A and reference some of my own articles, if (again) that article offers specific and related advice, particular to the question.

So by all means, post links to your own articles and web pages, so long as they’re relevant to the question and likely to help in answering it.

The goal is to be useful — I also post links to articles, written by other people, which helps demonstrate impartiality on my part.

Trust is a quality of relationships that doesn’t come quickly or cheaply, and isn’t bought, sold, nor is it transferrable. So ultimately, this is an exercise is acquiring trust.

Posting to your status

The status update is a good, simple method to promote your articles, but you really need to be already engaging with people for them to want to engage with you — it’s essentially like Twitter, so the same rules apply.

I use Twitter, and use HootSuite in particular, which is a web application that enhances Twitter by offering a lot more features, such as options to schedule messages (otherwise known as “Tweets”) and a option to shorten URLs so that they fit into the 140 character allowance.

HootSuite also allows you to connect to your LinkedIn account, so you can post messages straight to your LinkedIn profile’s status. I personally use this sparingly, instead only posting messages / updates that are specifically related to Octane and my business activities in general, or articles that people will find useful.

A recent example being an article on how to stop eleven hidden security threats, which came on the back of my own article offering seven security tips for your computer and the web.

My recommendations for posting articles and web pages to LinkedIn are:

  1. Try to avoid posting general and off-topic status updates and instead focus on updates that a particular to you and your business activities.
  2. If you post to groups, follow up any comments. Sounds obvious, I know, but you’d be surprised how many people just “fire and forget”.
  3. When answering questions in the Q&A, why not suggest an expert? You’ll be helping to build trust with the person you’re suggesting, while demonstrating that you’re a good source for referrals.
  4. Also, whatever you do, if you see a odd or apparently naive questions (of which there can be many), don’t be tempted fire off a glib or dismissive comment. LinkedIn is, after all, a network for professionals — so leave the stupid remarks to the amateurs.
  5. Use something like Clicky web analytics to monitor the click activity of your articles in real time, in addition to using Google Analytics. Why? When you see clicks come in from a group, for example, follow the link back to see If there have been any comments and reply.
  6. If you’re using a link shortening tool (like bit.ly or ow.ly, which is part of HootSuite) ensure you have an account with them, so you can view their own click traffic statistics.

Above all, make yourself a resource to other people, so that they value your contributions, and in turn value you.


9 essential reasons for tracking visitors to your company website

Having the best company website in the world counts for nothing if you can’t track who’s visiting. Be you the managing director, or part of the sales and marketing team, knowing the where, why, when and what of your website is essential.

Tracking visitors to your company website

When I build a company website, I have a list of prerequisites, one of which is installing options to track and monitor visitors to those websites. Without an understanding of your visitors, you run the risk of steering your website into rough seas, less trafficked than the calmer waters more popular websites are to be found sailing through.

Here are some of the top benefits of gathering web statistics for your business website:

  1. know how many visitors you’re getting daily, weekly and monthly;
  2. see where those visitors are coming from (such as other websites, search engines, or typing your web address directly);
  3. if you’re getting visits from the search engines, like Google, you’ll see what words they searched for;
  4. see how long each visitor spent on which web pages, and what they did next;
  5. monitor downloads of things like software, PDFs, white papers et cetera;
  6. if you have a search tool on your website, you can track what people are searching for and which web pages they’re visiting.

They are but a small selection of the things you’ll be able to do once you start tracking visitors to your company website.

Using web statistics to improve your sales & marketing

But you don’t just want to accumulate all of this data. You want to put all of this data into action. So here’s some ways you can make use of your visitor data, which include:

  1. track marketing campaigns, which include campaign codes;
  2. use your web statistics to build a demographic profile of your visitors, which will help your sales & marketing team target their campaigns with more precision;
  3. spot recurring trends, such as visits from particular web pages or articles, and use those sources to hone your marketing activities.

So the next question is, now? I use a number of tools, but the main two I use and recommend to clients are Google Analytics and Clicky Web Analytics.

Web analytics software

Google Analytics is free. All you need to sign up is a Google Account, which is also free. As well as a huge wealth of data at your disposal (far too many options here to cover in any real detail), you can also add profiles for different people, like colleagues and perhaps your own clients, as I do.

Clicky Web Analytics is a paid service, but there are some very unique features particular to Clicky what you won’t see in Google Analytics. For example, Clicky has a Spy feature, which allows you to see visits to your website live. The advantages of this might not be immediately apparent, but over time, you’ll appreciate being able to respond to currently active marketing campaigns in real time.

Clicky really comes into its own once you have a business blog. There are options to track buzz, such as who’s talking about you and your brand on Twitter, for example.

In both instances, Google Analytics and Clicky Web Analytics require you to install a small portion of code into each web page for them to do their magic.

So what have we learned? Data is good! Data can give your business a critical edge, one perhaps not shared with the competition…

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