LinkedIn recently launched a number of new, Facebook-esque Share features. Now, in addition to Q&As, groups and personal messages, you can send images, article excerpts, blog posts and other content to your professional connections in much the same way that you would with your personal connections on other social networks.
But the way you'd use LinkedIn sharing for your small business is likely going to be a lot different from how you'd use your personal Facebook account. While most folks love to pass on relevant, interesting and valuable links, some content will be more appropriate than other content for sharing with your business contacts. Here are a few ways you can maximize the benefits of LinkedIn shares.
1. Stay Top-of-Mind
Posting once a day, and syndicating that post to your business' Twitter and Facebook accounts, can help you remain fresh in the minds of your connections and customers. As long as the content is relevant and valuable, it will be appreciated and re-shared. Just remember to not overshare; users will be quickly turned off if their timelines on every network are flooded with updates from you. Space out your LinkedIn shares to maximize their value for your network.
2. Finding New Talent
If you're expanding your team, LinkedIn is one of the largest and fastest-growing resources for finding the perfect candidate. Particularly in this economy, letting the world know that you're hiring is some of the most valuable information you can send out on the wire! Write a brand-appropriate blog post giving very specific details on the kind of person you're looking for. Give your post a simple, sharable headline that contains the company name and position available... and try to avoid use of the term "ninja" if at all possible. When you're sharing this link, be absolutely sure to include a call to action for every connection to pass this information on to others. For more tips on using LinkedIn to find rockstar employees, check out this article.
3. Crowdsourcing Solutions and Getting Feedback
If you've got ideas you want to run by your peers or a nagging business problem that needs a solution, LinkedIn groups and Q&A are popular and effective ways to get feedback. But sharing allows you to cross-post your query across multiple networks and add supporting data such as a picture or Web site link. One of the best aspects of using LinkedIn for soliciting feedback is that the comments from your professional network will all be collected in a single thread in your LinkedIn profile.
4. Promoting Special Events You Host or Attend
Whether you're going to a charity dinner or hosting a meet-up for your clients, a string of well-timed LinkedIn shares can be great for raising community awareness, driving participation or soliciting volunteers or donations. This is another circumstance where it's completely acceptable to ask others to re-share the content across their own networks, particularly if it's a local event geared toward your own community.
Leading Local and Industry Thought
If you've got an article in an online publication or a blog post you're particularly proud of, LinkedIn sharing can be a great way to broadcast that content to your network – again, both on LinkedIn and elsewhere on the web. Be sure to include a personal comment on why you're sharing the link, and tailor the excerpt section to include something descriptive and appealing, such as a quotation. Shares on LinkedIn are also a great way to spread news items that are relevant to your peers, vendors and customers.
If you've got other tips and tricks for your fellow small-business owners on how best to maximize the value of LinkedIn's sharing features, please let us know about them in the comments!Image courtesy of iStockphoto, iqoncept