Marketing your business on LinkedIn
LinkedIn, the social networking website aimed specifically at professionals, may not be able to boast the user numbers of Facebook or Twitter, but it continues to enjoy rapid growth and is reportedly set for an IPO that could value it upwards of $2 billion.
Mashable, the social media blog, published a great LinkedIn infographic recently, which provides some interesting insights.
For example, LinkedIn is apparently adding one million new users every 12 days or around 1 new user every second.
That's pretty impressive growth even by social media standards and has helped LinkedIn gather close to 100 million accounts globally.
It probably won't come as a surprise that LinkedIn users tend to be a little older, on average, than other social media platforms.
What is a little surprising is that more than two thirds of accounts are held by people over the age of 35, which suggests LinkedIn has established itself as an executive tool and not just an online CV warehouse.
In terms of marketing opportunities, LinkedIn has its own advertising platform. If you're a LinkedIn user you will no doubt have seen these ads while posting your updates or making new connections.
Aside from the advertising, LinkedIn has a number of other useful tools that you can use to support your marketing efforts.
First up is LinkedIn Groups. There are already more than 700,000 groups and setting up new ones is free and relatively straightforward. Groups provide an opportunity to get involved in discussions relevant to your industry and connect with useful people working in the same field.
If you can demonstrate your expertise, group discussions can be a good way to promote yourself or your company, which brings us to LinkedIn Answers. Here you can respond to open questions posted by other members.
Similar to dedicated Q&A sites like Quora, LinkedIn Answers gives you an opportunity to build a reputation in your niche and, when it's relevant, point people to any relevant, original content that you've published on your website or elsewhere.
Finally, we have InMails, which allow you to contact any LinkedIn member, even those outside of your network. There is a fee for InMails designed to prevent spamming and it's important to check your intended recipient's contact settings first.
A lot of LinkedIn users are open to business proposals via InMail and they are said to have a better average response rate than cold calling.