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LinkedIn just released tools that can really help your business out. But how are you doing on the basics?

LinkedIn is to business as Pinterest is to arts and crafts lovers and Reddit is to meme lovers. A business that knows how to effectively use and navigate LinkedIn will be much more successful and happier. No more business cards flying around in your car or desk, no more scrambling all over classifieds trying to find a new hire. LinkedIn is a great tool and thankfully, even more tools to make your business interactions easier and more meaningful have just been released.

Targeted Follower Tools

LinkedIn has recently released certain marketing tools to help companies and clients better communicate with one another. Does your company have followers on LinkedIn? Now you can have one-on-one interaction with your followers through LinkedIn’s two new functions; Targeted Updates and Follower Statistics.

Targeted Updates

Targeted Updates divides your followers into different sections like industry, seniority, company size, non-company employees, and even by geography. By doing this, LinkedIn is able to send specific status updates to these specific groups of followers.

So let’s say you’re headed to Denver, Colorado on a business trip and you want to see what talent they have to offer by way of new system engineers. You can create a specific status aimed at system engineers who are following your company based in Denver, set up a place for interviews, and see who comes. Or if you are selling a product that would impress marketers rather than IT, you can make a product announcement directed only at people who work in marketing. It allows you essentially to create multiple status updates that go to targeted audiences.

Follower Statistics

It seems that analytics technologies are becoming available on almost any website. LinkedIn is now joining the club with their own analytics program called Follower Statistics. So far, a few companies are acting as beta testers such as Dell, Samsung Mobile, and Microsoft. In a few months however, this technology will be released system wide. These tools are supposed to measure how effective companies updates or content on their LinkedIn accounts are. It’s to help create “engaged followers.”

The Engaged Follower

We hear this term all the time when we are talking about social media networks like Facebook. Using Facebook as an example, an engaged follower will go to events that appear in their news feed, participate in contests, and comment on, or like pictures that are posted on profiles. What does an active, engaged follower look like on LinkedIn?

In an interview with Jonathan Listen, LinkedIn’s VP of North American sales for marketing solutions, Listen explained essentially that there are different guests on LinkedIn. About 10% of its guests are actually looking for a job but the rest are trying to network, find information, read the job market, advertise, etc.

He also explains what an engaged follower or member looks like in several different ways. One of the ways he describes it is “virality.” In his words, “If I’m a company and I send a status update to a member, we look at how much that status update is shared across the web. So how much it’s clicked on, how much it’s commented on, how much it’s shared that virality.” He explains that seems to be the highest rates of engagement they see on LinkedIn.

Basic LinkedIn Tips

LinkedIn is not only the business card of your organization. It can be your face and your hands in reaching out to other businesses, possible employees, and future customers. There are several basic ways you can reach out with LinkedIn:

1.       LinkedIn Share Button

Like other social media sites, LinkedIn also has a share button that can be placed throughout your website by pictures, articles, products, etc. Just make sure you place it next to LinkedIn relevant content. A picture of a cat dressed as a 1920’s businessman, though borderline, is not all to fitting for the LinkedIn professional setting. But perhaps an article on applying Adam Smith economics to online marketing would be more fitting.

2.       LinkedIn Recommend Button

By placing the LinkedIn recommend button next to your products or services help spread your services throughout the LinkedIn networks. You can also recommend your services on your LinkedIn page and have that link back to your company’s product pages.

3.       Get Others to Follow Your Company

We talked about this above, but you can post a button on your website which will allow users to follow your company and receive status updates.

4.       Company Profile

This small blurb is what describes your company and its goals. You get to decide which light you put your company in. Are you professional? Or are you a casual company? You can post a link to this on your main page and users will become introduced to your LinkedIn account.

5.       Company Insider

Give your business a face with the Company Insider plug-in. It shows who is working at your company and what you are looking for in an employee. It also shows the growth of your company and if done properly can promote confidence in your company.

6.       Member Profile

This is your personal business card. You can post however much you would like on this card and pass it around much easier than a business card which will just be tattered up and torn. This is usually placed on personal blogs or websites.