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Don't Limit Your Online Marketing To Google: Smart Companies Use LinkedIn To Grow Sales, Membership And Influence

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If you market a product, service or run an advocacy campaign, chances are you optimize your website content in an attempt to appear on page one in search engine results. But there's something important you may not be doing. As there are over 150 million business leaders on LinkedIn, it's also critical that you manage your LinkedIn search results just as you would the results on search engines such as Google and Bing.

In addition to Google and Bing, increasingly people are using LinkedIn as their search tool for products and services. That's why smart organizations are adjusting the content of their LinkedIn personal and company pages to improve their ranking in LinkedIn search results.

When potential customers or media outlets type any keyword (e.g. "real estate attorney") into the LinkedIn "people" search box, they get a list of people whose profiles most closely match that search criteria. To attract their business or attention, there are ways for you to help push your profile or company to the top of LinkedIn search results.

Six Tips for Marketing a Business or Service on LinkedIn

1. Ensure Employees Who Interact With the Public Have a 100 Percent Complete Profile
LinkedIn ranks "complete" profiles at least 12 times higher than incomplete profiles in its search results. Your sales and senior staff need a professional photo, two most recent positions, five skills and a summary paragraph to be considered "complete." Take every opportunity to place relevant keywords in your headline, summary, position description and skills area. For more details, read this post on how the LinkedIn search algorithm ranks profiles.

The LinkedIn Skills keyword tool allows you to add up to 50 keywords and reveals the popularity of each keyword (it's similar to Google's Adwords tool). For example, searching the phrase "real estate transactions" reveals its level of popularity and experts in your network. You want to be on that list. Take advantage of the LinkedIn Skills feature by adding all 50 words relevant to your area of expertise. Consider investing in a professional LinkedIn profile writing service to create search-friendly profiles and to develop a comprehensive plan for using LinkedIn's many tools to help grow your business.

2. Add Twitter and Blog Feed
A nonprofit organization I worked with added three high-paying memberships after its tweets were read by prospects connected to its senior staff employees. This occurred because the organization had asked all its employees to add the organization Twitter feed to each LinkedIn profile. You also can add your blog feed. You should add links to the company website, blog and sales splash page with search-friendly keywords using the "custom" feature.

3. Use Applications to Highlight Organization Accomplishments
Add visibility for your business development presentation or featured white paper using a LinkedIn Application. You can add a presentation, video, creative portfolio, event or e-book to create a soft selling tool. Be sure to place a link to this content in your status update. Think of this as the social media version of the point in the sales process at which a potential new client is identified.

4. Groups and Answers
We know the phrase "it is better to give than receive." On LinkedIn, giving advice creates sales opportunities and influence. Be seen as a thought leader in your area of professional expertise and improve your LinkedIn search engine results simultaneously by helping others in LinkedIn Answers and LinkedIn Groups.

5. Status Updates
Post your most important business development or company news in your personal status update. Do this frequently to help keep your ranking score near the top in the LinkedIn search algorithm.

6. Company Profile
Your LinkedIn company page should replicate the main points of your website and funnel potential customers to your website for more details. Ensure that search-friendly keywords are used in your company description and add your company news RSS feed to keep people updated about your service offerings or campaigns.