I often have discussions with business colleagues, associates and clients about the merits of having a LinkedIn presence and the value of  having a presence on LinkedIn. Quite frankly, adding LinkedIn to your social media marketing and yes, sales arsenal is good business.  Many generalize LinkedIn and compare it to Facebook based on numbers. True, compared to Facebook with their 1.11 billion users, LinkedIn seems like a lightweight with a mere 200 million members. Yes, I am being funny. 200 million users is impressive.

The big difference between LinkedIn and Facebook users is that LinkedIn users are business professionals, a totally different and distinctive demographic than the friends and families found on Facebook.Comparing these 2 Social Media properties is like, forgive the feminine analogy,  comparing a business suit to a cocktail dress.

By now , I believe that the majority of us have a LinkedIn profile (please say yes!). We talk about our professional-selves  and connect with others in our industry. Many people use it to find jobs and employers use it to advertise jobs…and research perspective employees.

According to Forbes, the American business magazine, “LinkedIn is, far and away, the most advantageous social networking tool available to job seekers and business professionals today.” I tend to concur. It is now “a natural” to go  on line and research a company via their website, and also search it out on LinkedIn. I don’t need to tell you about the influential and far reaching weight of Facebook. Despite the many differences of  Facebook and LinkedIn there are common elements. Just like Facebook, LinkedIn provides yet another opportunity for your business to have a company page. Your company page is an opportunity to talk more about your company and the people who work there. Like Facebook, LinkedIn enables  you to add photos and videos as well as case studies of your work…. and best of all engage with the people who follow you.  LinkedIn allows you to personify your company, by linking your employees and management profiles to the company page. This assist in building a business reputation and showcasing a culture through personnel that is key in any business evaluation, perspective employees or potential clients. It builds your business community… uniquely yours. If that’s not powerful marketing, I don’t know what is.  With an average income of over $100,000 your LinkedIn followers are an excellent resource to drive word of mouth sales.

LinkedIn has a great set of features you will want to take advantage of. You can post status updates, company announcements, product releases or whatever content you wish and link these updates to your Twitter account. You can create a group where you reach out and build your own community, in order to build business reputation.  Businesses  can also showcase your products and services. And the one feature I think is the most influential is the recommendations you can receive from LinkedIn members. Not only do the recommendations create a positive image the recommendation links to the person’s profile that makes the recommendation and provides instant credibility that can assist any sales process from employment to business to business sales.

Like any good social media tool LinkedIn offers you analytic information. You can view the total company followers, group followers,  impressions, new followers in the last 7 days as well as page views, unique visitors, and page clicks over the last 7 days. It shows page views by tab, page visitor demographics, and more.  Don’t worry this information can only be viewed by your company page administrator.

With all this audience and information, it’s a wonder why more businesses don’t have a company page and if they do, why they  don’t “work” it to its fullest potential. LinkedIn is a powerful marketing and sales tool that just makes business sense.

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