The magnificent thing about marketing on social media is that you can take a relatively small investment of time and turn it into something great: increased sales, better brand recognition, and engagement with your customers.

Or at least that was the theory at one point.

In practice, more and more small businesses are finding that just existing on social media has become a massive time sink. Especially if they are a single-person operation trying to squeeze in building a social media presence around, you know… running a business.

Part of this is because individual platforms have woken up over the last two years to the immense power they hold to marketers. But a much larger part of this is the proliferation of social media platforms, each requiring their own time investment.

How well we manage our social media matters

“We don’t have a choice on whether we do social media, the choice is how well we do it.

There was a time when just being on Facebook was enough. Now if you want to get any traction on Facebook you need to ramp up the content (and, for the most part, pay to boost your post if you want anyone seeing it). Then there’s Twitter, with its constant churn of content almost requiring you to outsource some part of your presence there to a Hootsuite-type process. Then you have Instagram, which has proven itself as a great way to entice new customers, but requires yet another time investment.

It can seem like death by a thousand cuts sometime, which brings us to LinkedIn. With everything you’re doing to attract new business, retain existing business and build your brand through social media, is LinkedIn the platform where you draw the line in the sand?

Related: Measuring ROI on Social Media

Use LinkedIn to establish yourself as an expert in your space

After all, unlike most other platforms LinkedIn seems to focus itself more on the interpersonal professional connections of its members than in giving businesses an avenue for marketing. Consider it like a massive networking event. People are there to make connections and strengthen their professional network. If you go in there with a sales pitch, you’ll be like that person at the networking event who’s throwing business cards out to everyone without so much as a conversation.

We’ve all seen that person. No one likes that person. And it’s important not to be that person.

Instead, realize what LinkedIn isn’t – a marketing platform. As such, you should not approach it the same way you approach Facebook. Sure, if you’re posting content on your own site, it can be worthwhile to cross-post it on LinkedIn. This is after all, a platform that reaches a half a billion users, many of which are key decision makers in their company. In fact, every second 2 people join LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is key for B2B marketing success

And if you’re in the B2B world, LinkedIn can be crucial. A lot of the time, you share at least one connection with potential customers already just through your existing networks. LinkedIn gives you an organic way to reach out based on that mutual connection and establish a relationship. The numbers bear this out. According to Linkedin, 50 percent of B2B buyers use LinkedIn as a resource when making purchasing decisions, and 76 percent prefer to work with recommendations from their professional network.

Even if you’re not looking to sell to other businesses, LinkedIn can still be a viable platform for building your brand and establishing yourself as a thought leader in your field. Building a company page takes little to no time and gives you an increased presence both on LinkedIn and on search engines.

It also gives you a wider audience for any content you’re publishing to build your business. Again, you won’t see the same engagement with customers that you might through Facebook, but consider the difference in time investment. You can set up a company page in minutes, then use Hootsuite to automatically send content to LinkedIn when you post it to other platforms. The amount of time you spend on it is negligible.

The evolution of LinkedIn

In a deal that closed last fall, Microsoft purchased LinkedIn for $26.2 billion. True, they most likely want the platform’s robust user base as a way to beef up their business software. But consider what a huge investment that is for Microsoft. For any business, large or small, you should establish yourself on this platform.

LinkedIn has already seen one fairly large evolution – those business pages were once used almost exclusively as an HR portal, letting potential employees scope out a company and check job openings. When they began to open those pages up to allow companies to share content, their user base blossomed.

With $26.2 billion on the line, and seeing how much of a revenue stream paid boosting became for Facebook, it’s only a matter of time before Microsoft ushers in the next step in LinkedIn’s evolution, making it an even more indispensable part of your social media marketing plan.

We’re speculating, but even if the basic LinkedIn experience stays the same, it still represents a relatively minor time investment for a relatively minor return. For small businesses, where you never know where that next big connection will come from, that small investment could be worth it.

Of course, the easiest way to handle the many platforms for your message is to give us a call at 904.359.4318, or fill out our contact form.

Download our Guide to Digital Marketing to learn more!

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