Using LinkedIn as a marketing tool.LINKEDIN IS THE WORLD'S LARGEST ONLINE PROFESSIONAL NETWORK and the fourth largest social network in terms of monthly visits, yet many financial institutions have not even claimed their free profile. From a risk and reputation management perspective, every financial institution (FI) should at the bare minimum claim its profile, since anyone with an email from your company can claim the account.
While recruitment and job seekers may be the first thing to come to mind when people think about LinkedIn, you should understand that LinkedIn can play an important role in your integrated social media strategy for your FI. Keep in mind that LinkedIn boasts the highest average income of all social sites, so it is a great place to reach a more affluent audience.
Currently, more than 2 million companies have LinkedIn Company Pages. LinkedIn provides a prime opportunity to showcase your business and its employees as experts in their field.
Some of the benefits of LinkedIn include:
* Enhanced search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. Claim and enhance your profile and your LinkedIn Page will very likely begin to show up in first page results for brand name searches. There are many places within a LinkedIn profile cu to place inbound website links.
* Brand recognition and perception. More and more people are using social sites to search for and validate businesses online. If your site is not claimed, LinkedIn may provide a description for you with the disclaimer "This LinkedIn Company Profile was created by LinkedIn and is about (Company Name). This page is not endorsed by or affiliated with (Company Name). For questions regarding LinkedIn Company Profiles contact us (website)."
* Positioning your FT as a thought leader. Publish periodic company updates that go into subscriber newsfeeds and are public. Start a Linkedln Group around a particular topic, join in on the conversation in another group or take the time to answer questions posed by others--all will position you as a leader and a resource in your online community.
In addition to uploading a logo and customizing the company biography, LinkedIn features give brands the ability to customize a Products & Services tab and to segment and create a unique offer for distinct audiences. This feature provides a selling opportunity with a 100 x 80 pixel icon, and description of each product/service along with a bulleted list of attributes. Another potential selling opportunity is through use of the Spotlight section that rotates three 640 x 220 banners and links to URLs that you designate. Two large brands that have taken advantage of this real estate are American Express and Citi. Aside from design time, it costs nothing to upload these images and drive traffic to your website or Facebook Page. There are also opportunities to load videos into LinkedIn as well as feed a blog into the Company Page.
Managing a LinkedIn presence doesn't have to take a lot of day-to-day effort. The biggest investment is time spent upfront on building your profile. Content on the site can be integrated along with content generated for other social sites such as Twitter and Facebook where appropriate. By building in tracking links and reviewing the internal analytics provided by LinkedIn you can determine activity and results that will guide your future investment in the platform.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
TARA HERSHBERGER is media and public relations director for Pannos Winzeler Marketing, Bedford, N.H. Pannos Winzeler is a provider of social media and interactive marketing for community banks. Web site: Pannoswinzeler.com; Email: email@example.com; Twitter: @Tarahersh
LinkedIn provides a prime opportunity to showcase your business and its employees as experts in their field.