In January, LinkedIn welcomed its 200 millionth user. March saw LinkedIn Corp’s share price reach all-time highs. Just last month, the company launched a full redesign of it’s mobile app with the explicit goal of growing market share. In short, it’s no great leap to argue that the world’s largest professional networking service is becoming a business juggernaut. Despite this clear and present opportunity, however, too many entrepreneurs fail to harness the full potential of LinkedIn as a driver for promising startups. Your company’s LinkedIn page provides an opportunity not only to broadcast your products and services, but to gain valuable insights into potential customers or investors and, more important still, to reach out to them directly.
The exact constitution of your company’s profile is, of course, a matter of subjectivity, but best practice is to keep brevity in mind and tell visitors exactly what you do and exactly how you can help them. Assuming a well designed, well written, and well marketed company profile, you have acquired a veritable goldmine of data concerning those interested in your company. These individuals may include potential clients or customers, potential investors, or both, depending on how you’ve marketed you startup. In either case, LinkedIn’s administrative toolkit provides a detailed and highly accessible demographic breakdown your page’s visitors, all powered by the necessarily detailed profiles of regular LinkedIn users.
With this information in tow, LinkedIn can be used to reach out to your target audience both directly and indirectly. Thanks to the redesigned LinkedIn app, you can expect insights, announcements, and other status updates conducted through the medium to enter a new stratum of prominence within the greater social ephemera. This does, of course, place an increased onus upon the entrepreneur to grow followers, but the reward will be a dynamic audience which is by definition actively searching for updates into new business trends and opportunities at the exact moment they stumble upon your latest public announcement.
That said, don’t ignore LinkedIn’s vires maximus for the entrepreneur: the ability to directly contact individuals whom you believe can benefit your company. By virtue of the fact that every profile is a de facto resume, you can easily identify individuals offering maximum utility toward your work. More importantly, you can contact them with a confidence unheard of by those resorting to the buckshot marksmanship of a general contact email address. LinkedIn’s search mechanism provides you with a highly efficacious method of identifying potential contacts, its profiles offer a clear snapshot of the contacts in question, and InMail provides instantaneous notification when your message has been read. Should you pique the interest of the individual contacted, they will be led, via your profile, directly to your company’s page.
Your startup’s LinkedIn profile should be second only to your company’s actual website in terms of visibility. By acting accordingly, you provide your company with a highly accessible content anchor housed within the aesthetics of a world-recognized brand. Frankly, I can think few startups which would be wise to turn down such an easy opportunity for regular exposure.