Small businesses targeting companies can use LinkedIn to make more professional connections.

As LinkedIn continues to grow and surpass its 200 million member mark, it becomes imperative for brands to develop unique social media marketing strategies for the professional social media network. LinkedIn is not just a job prospecting tool or live resume- brands can use LinkedIn to increase branding and thought leadership on the web. These tips below can help you: 

Pages: Show off your brand

Company Pages are the most visible area for your brand. To start, think about why someone would come to your Page and what they are looking to learn from your business. The ‘Overview” tab will be the first part of the Company Page your prospects will see. You should begin to optimize your Page by uploading should upload a 646 x 200 pixel image that depicts what your company represents. (i.e. a stock photo of people conducting business in a boardroom. You should obtain reviews from other LinkedIn professionals, and update your basic organization’s biographical data.Contentlead LinkedIn

Your company’s status updates will attract the widest audience, making it the most prominent area of your “Overview” tab. Previously, Pages were only able to add text and links from their own website and around the internet. Now LinkedIn allows “Page Admins” to add special projects, photos and presentations to their Pages for lead generation purposes and educational sharing. Members can add content using the paperclip icon located in the update box. Go crazy with the addition of PowerPoints, PDF’s, white papers, images and more! LinkedIn also allows for targeted status updates where you can publish content that reaches followers by industry, geography, company size, job function and seniority. This adds creative opportunities to engage with audiences with effective social media content strategies. According to a LinkedIn study, some companies have seen a 66 percent increase in page engagement due to targeted updates.

You can also use your LinkedIn Page to showcase your products and services. Under the “Products & Services” tab, you can list your products or services to generate instant leads, and you can also use calls-to-action to drive viewers to your website. On this tab, you can add three clickable 646 x 200 pixel images, which can link to products on your website.

Groups: Places to connect

Unfortunately, company Pages tend to have fewer viewers than other areas of LinkedIn. For example, LinkedIn Ads reaches a wider audience and helps professionals show off their industry expertise. LinkedIn will disable its Answers feature on January 31, 2013, so brands must begin to use Groups more frequently to break into new markets. In fact, Groups should be utilized in your strategy in addition to your company Page. Groups tend to be an overlooked channel on LinkedIn, but they also yield a level of engagement that other parts of LinkedIn don’t.contentlead

To find Groups, utilize the main search box in the upper right corner of LinkedIn where you search for keywords. Join Groups within your industry and communities your customers would join. Prioritize Groups that have more members and also have frequent activity, which you can view in the “Group Statistics” section of a group. Next, spend some time finding and engaging in groups pertinent to your company. Initially, comment on other posts to start your own discussions within these groups. Make note that people join groups because they are interested in a topic such as “graphic design tools.” Because of this, do not be overly promotional with your company, or you will push your audience away.

Through the company pages and LinkedIn groups features, you can increase your company’s reach and educate your customers about your products or services. LinkedIn has a lot more potential than just being an online resume.