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Want to grow your small business? LinkedIn may be the lead-generation tool your growth strategy is missing.

Whether you’re a new startup or a global enterprise, LinkedIn can be an enormously valuable tool for generating quality leads and increasing your brand awareness.

A vast networking platform with more than 800 million members worldwide, LinkedIn offers an unmatched social-marketing opportunity. When done right, a savvy LinkedIn marketing strategy allows businesses to leverage anything from professional connections and business groups to high-quality content and engagement for compelling brand-outreach initiatives, boosting recognition, revenue, and even long-term growth in the process.

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But despite its promise as a brand-building, business networking, and client-cultivation tool, LinkedIn remains a widely underused marketing platform among small-business leaders. While more than 50 million businesses are currently listed on the site, we’ve seen many that fall far short of hitting their LinkedIn marketing potential, even with so many options at their disposal.

With that in mind, here are a few tips for maximizing your LinkedIn visibility and unlocking growth and awareness opportunities across the world’s largest professional network.

1. Target connections in your unique niche
For small-to-mid-sized businesses, Linkedin marketing efforts should always start by zeroing in on the LinkedIn users most likely to buy from your company. LinkedIn advertising offers a one-of-a-kind opportunity to target brands by size, industry, and even the specific job roles, allowing you to shape your ad campaigns to reach businesses and motivated buyers fast.

Related: How to build a memorable brand

Even if you’re entirely new to LinkedIn for business or have no on-site presence to speak of, this hyper-targeting capability can help fast-track branding efforts (at least temporarily) while getting your message, brand, and products to decision-makers across the platform quickly. Seizing on this opportunity early can help establish a LinkedIn footprint, build brand awareness and bolster business growth as your organic marketing efforts get underway.

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2. Be active on LinkedIn. Work it into your social media marketing strategy.
Much like branding on other social media networks, building recognition for your brand or business name on LinkedIn takes a consistently proactive approach. Providing fresh content, updating your feed, and engaging with followers regularly continues to be one of the best ways to keep your brand above water and in front of customer eyeballs, making it critical to incorporate LinkedIn into your social-media-marketing schedule and contribute to the site’s ongoing content churn whenever appropriate.

Of course, any efforts to stay on the LinkedIn user’s radar shouldn’t be done indiscriminately or without a plan customized to fit your target audience. After all, LinkedIn is a professional networking site, and using content updates and lead-generation and engagement strategies to reach customers should always be done with that context in mind.

But once you get a sense of what LinkedIn members look for and engage with on the platform, you can better shape your timing and approach to fit that need and cultivate connections that translate into something more down the line.

Related: What Is LinkedIn Marketing?

3. Post content that provides value
Posting value-add content is integral to an impactful LinkedIn content marketing strategy. Not only does it provide specifically targeted members with helpful information that addresses actual pain points, but it also delivers a jolt to your industry authority, providing users with engaging content that frames you and your business as thought leaders in your space. With each new high-quality Linkedin post, you offer professionals a free but valuable resource that strengthens brand trust and recall when the time comes to make a purchase.

LinkedIn’s blog posting feature offers an excellent opportunity to reach decision-makers and create an indelible impression on future customers. Posting new how-tos from your business page or even from a senior leader’s LinkedIn profile can help improve brand visibility in ways not possible through other means, making it possible to present relevant content directly to LinkedIn’s news feed and attract attention immediately.

And should a post start inspiring engagement and gain some traction, it’s likely to get categorized by Linkedin and thrust further into the spotlight. Once viral, that basic how-to or pro-to-pro career advice screed has the potential to impact thousands or more readers and potential clients across the platform.

Related: How to Create Meaningful Engagement on LinkedIn: 3 Tips

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4. Your LinkedIn page matters. Make it a priority.
Where do leads, followers and job seekers go when they want to learn more about your business? If they’re on LinkedIn, members are likely visiting your brand’s LinkedIn page. And if that company page is generally out of shape or your company description is loaded with inconsistencies, it not only makes a negative impression on those users, but it also puts a serious dent in your impact and credibility, damaging lead generation and growth in the process. That makes tending to your company’s LinkedIn homepage absolutely essential.

Regularly updating your LinkedIn company page and aligning that page with the colors, content (mission statement, values, etc.) and logos ensure consistent brand messaging and cohesiveness, strengthening the trust that comes with it. Small-business owners that regularly update their company page also show that their brand is active and engaged on the platform. Doing so helps avoid the appearance of profile dormancy, which itself can raise doubts about brand legitimacy while scaring away potential leads and quality hires.

Good LinkedIn page hygiene should be firmly baked into any digital-marketing effort. Those that don’t keep their LinkedIn pages polished or use LinkedIn to showcase their best qualities are missing out on a relatively easy branding opportunity.

5. Join LinkedIn groups, and create your own
Plugging your business into a Linkedin group or two offers multiple opportunities to interact and build stronger connections with your target audience. Done smartly, joining LinkedIn groups relevant to your prospects creates a valuable conduit for listening in to customer conversations, offering useful tips and advice, and cultivating relationships that generate sales leads and clients in the future.

As part of a LinkedIn group, your business can gain crucial insight into customer trends and industry messaging, essential for tweaking your own outreach approach before it’s too late. And even if you aren’t connected with fellow group members, you can still message those users while getting around the costs of LinkedIn Mail, allowing you to interact with your target demo and build relationships while also maximizing your LinkedIn budget.

Related: Why LinkedIn Direct Messaging Is Your Best New Sales Tool

Taking this a step further, you can also create your own LinkedIn group, a great marketing tool for identifying and gathering high-quality leads into one easy-to-manage location. Once established through your business page, you can scour other groups you’re in for members that fit your ideal customer profile and invite them to that group. You can also tap into your own page followers and other LinkedIn connections for new members.

As your group grows, you have more opportunities to target and generate leads that were hand-picked and well-sourced, and to share content and strengthen awareness among your best LinkedIn prospects.

Adam Petrilli

Article by Adam Petrilli

Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor
CEO & Founder, NetReputation.com

Adam Petrilli develops and executes winning strategies while inspiring teams to embrace change to promote business excellence. He thrives during challenging situations and in making high-risk decisions with a strategic revenue-focused perspective to generate growth.

https://www.netreputation.com/