When it comes to nurturing professional relationships and developing a community, LinkedIn is one of the best resources. But while entrepreneurs might already be aware of important features such as its custom groups or the Question and Answer section, there are a number of tools and features that the professional networking site offers that have gone mostly unnoticed.
I recently connected with Fenot Tekle,senior communications manager from LinkedIn's Marketing Solutions team. Here's what she had to say about how small-business owners can use LinkedIn to help take their ventures to the next level:
Entrepreneur: What LinkedIn tools are underutilized by small-business owners?
Tekle: We offer a number of tools that small-business owners should be aware of when considering how best to engage with professionals on the platform, including:
Partner Messages: Small-business owners can utilize LinkedIn's InMail messaging platform to deliver relevant messages to specific audience segments.
Polls: This allows users to easily find answers to their business and market research questions. You can share a poll through LinkedIn's Facebook or Twitter integrations, or embed the voting module on your own website or blog.
Display Ads: Yes, businesses can advertise on LinkedIn. The display ads service allows advertisers to target specific groups of professionals through display ads on the LinkedIn platform.
Recommendation Ads: These ads display the number of recommendations that a small-business owner's product or service has generated on their LinkedIn Company Page.
Targeted Status Updates: Users can tailor the content in their status updates to specific types of company followers. Make sure the right people are seeing the right content.
Entrepreneur: What's the best application for an entrepreneur to promote their business?
Tekle: The targeted status updates, a feature that increases the relevance of conversations between companies and members. Accessible from a LinkedIn Company Page, the targeted status update allows an entrepreneur to tailor relevant messages to professionals who follow their company.
Entrepreneur: For business owners, what's the most important metric to measure?
Tekle: Key metrics will vary from one company to the next, but, in general, business owners are interested in seeing an increase in engagement.
An increase in engagement is the beginning of turning followers into advocates for the business. Engagement analytics are accessible on any established Company Page, so it's convenient for business owners to track their progress.
Entrepreneur: What does an entrepreneur need to know to get the most out of LinkedIn advertising?
Tekle: Have a clear understanding of the target audience. There are many tools available to marketers to attract desirable targets, but campaigns will likely be most effective if business owners reach the right audience, with the most the appropriate content in the right context.