LinkedIn is about more than just job seekers looking to network and find employment. LinkedIn is also a great place for businesses to market themselves and work on client relationship management.

This free, easy-to-use site provides many benefits: Business connections can find one another, individuals can post their résumés for the world to see, and companies can seek out job applicants for open positions.

Perhaps the greatest part about LinkedIn, though, is that it’s a place for companies to build a strong reputation for their brand. Keep reading to find out how to use LinkedIn as part of a small-business marketing strategy to boost your company’s image.

1. Set the Stage. LinkedIn is a blank slate for businesses, which means it’s the perfect place to start when developing or revamping a company’s reputation and image. When a small-business owner or manager sets about writing a LinkedIn profile, he or she should look at it as an opportunity to set the tone, look, and professional manner of the company. This is something anyone in the world can see, so it’s important to get it right.

Think about which high-profile companies on LinkedIn are thriving: Do they have a sense of humor, are they serious and focused, or do they reach some sort of ground in between? Take a look through company descriptions and decide what you like and what you don’t like about certain LinkedIn profiles; then get to work on a company description.

You can write a bit about company history, your mission statement, and the types of clients you take on. There are no hard rules here, but always remember to keep it interesting and brief. Link to your company website, and include your specialties—the specialties section is a great place to include keywords that will get your company good search results.

For example, if you specialize in structural engineering or 3D visualization, be sure to include those words in your specialties. That way, when people are looking around on LinkedIn for people with structural engineering expertise, your company will show up as one of the results. This will drive in new customers and help establish your reputation as a leader in the field.

Remember, this is the place to let the world know what your company is about, so focus on showing off what your business does best. Treat your company’s LinkedIn page how you would your personal résumé. Make your company look appealing, and show everyone that you’re the best choice for the job.

2. Share and Update. It’s not enough to hastily create a LinkedIn profile and leave it at that. Instead, make a point to update your LinkedIn page regularly. Sharing articles and newsworthy items with your connections is one easy way to do that.

Each LinkedIn member has the ability to share items with the rest of the world, whether it’s news of an award or industry alerts. According to The Virtual Handshake, use LinkedIn to let everyone know when you are launching a new product or when your company makes the news. You can also share news that’s relevant to your field. If you run a small design firm, you can link to infographics and articles on advancements in the field.

This will show individuals how knowledgeable you are and that you’re on top of small-business trends. It will also keep your company on others’ minds—when you update your profile or share an item, it shows up on the homepage of each of your LinkedIn followers.

 3. Participate in Group Discussions. LinkedIn provides a space where employees, job seekers, and companies can converse freely with one another. According to Entrepreneur, these online forums are the perfect place for businesses to get the word out while also delivering solid information to interested parties.

Here’s how it works: A person or group will start a discussion on a certain topic, say, the future of the architecture industry over the next decade. These discussions will most likely be found in architecture and design groups on LinkedIn, so keep an eye on these groups, and when a relevant subject comes up, chime in and help people with insightful and personable answers. Doing so will get your name out to a wide array of people who will see that you answered with a strong perspective, which will in turn increase trust in your business.

Just be careful not to be too self-promotional, as this will come off as spamming a group. No one likes unsolicited advertising disguised as an answer—resist the temptation to link to ten different products and instead address the question at hand. People will come to respect your opinion, and soon you’ll see more and more people visiting your profile.

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