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How Engineering Firms Can Maximize Their Influence On LinkedIn

Aug 22, 2016
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engineering_firms_maximize_linkedin.jpgHow does a small to mid-sized engineering firm even begin to be noticed online within their industry? The answer: Increase your online presence where your customers and employees hang out. That place is LinkedIn. As a platform for social networking, LinkedIn has become an incredible source of new business and new talent in the B2B market. According to Statista.com, as of the spring of 2016, LinkedIn had 450 million users. LinkedIn offers a platform for professionals to network with each other and for businesses to expand their influence.
 
If your engineering firm is late to the social media game and you’re wondering where to start, begin with LinkedIn. Its power as a B2B marketing tool is proven. In a study of 5,000 businesses, Hubspot found that LinkedIn was 277% more effective in generating leads than Twitter and Facebook. A focused strategy on LinkedIn can yield positive results for your firm so it’s worth the time invested in making it work. You’ll get targeted engagement and visibility within your industry.
 
Another thing to note about LinkedIn. It was built for business networking, so there is an expectation that the content shared and relationships built on this platform will be business-related. Gone is the awkwardness of sharing business content with your “friends”. Also missing is the algorithm that Facebook uses to determine what content is shared with followers. LinkedIn users know where and how to find the information they want, as opposed to Facebook users who tend to digest the articles that Facebook deems worthy of releasing to their newsfeed.
 
So, let’s dive into the specific ways that engineering firms can maximize their influence on LinkedIn.
 

Marketing

 
After you set up your profile page and explore the features of LinkedIn, you’ll soon discover that LinkedIn is an awesome PR tool. Announcing new products, innovations, and industry accolades will lead to greater exposure for your firm.
 
Articles and videos that share ways to use your firm’s products and services are an opportunity to provide helpful and purposeful information with your current and potential customers.
 
Posting about employees in the news, such as awards received and research published, is great for public relations and employee relations. It helps establish your firm as valuing the work that your employees produce and as a leader in your industry.
 
Publish articles written by employees. This boosts a company’s visibility and credibility as a thought leader. It’s also great for employee relations to see a company celebrate their employees’ innovations and subject matter expertise.
 
Join groups with members who are prospective clients and influencers in your industry. Then create and share content (articles, eBooks, guides and blog posts) that is engaging and relevant to the group. Once you’ve established your firm as an industry leader, start your own group.

Don’t forget the 80/20 rule. Share 80% purposeful content that is created by others. 20% of your content should be created by your firm. Although LinkedIn is a business form, it should not only be used to promote your company. Provide great information that helps people. That’s how you grow followers on any social platform and LinkedIn is no different in that respect.

Be sure to share technological developments made by other firms in your industry. Sharing posts from key influencers will help you create more connections and become established as an industry leader in your own right.
 

Building Relationships

 
LinkedIn is, after all, a social networking site. It only makes sense that one of the best uses of LinkedIn is as a sales tool. When used to build relationships with potential customers it can be very effective. It allows you to engage with like-minded individuals in a professional way, especially in Groups. By answering questions, posting relevant purposeful information, offering industry expertise and seeing how potential customers respond and engage, it allows you to build deeper relationships with potential customers.
 
According to Yumi Wilson, Manager of Corporate Communications at LinkedIn,  “when you engage in groups, more people look at your profile. So there’s a four-time increase in the number of profile views based on your engagement in groups.” Like any social networking site, putting in the effort to build relationships will lead to results. People don’t want to be sold to, they want to be helped. Make sure your conversations with other group members center around helping them find solutions to their problems.
 

Building Good Will

 
Put your company mission and core values on your firm’s profile. It’s one of the first things a potential customer or employee will see. Use this valuable piece of LinkedIn real estate to share not only what you do but why you do it.
 
People want to do business with companies that make an effort to be environmentally and socially conscious. Publish articles about your firm’s efforts to be environmentally friendly and sustainable and why this is important to your firm.
 
If your firm has connections to the community be sure to share that on your company page. Examples are employees serving on community boards or raising money for local charities, conducting tech fairs for local students, and coordinating STEM programs that encourage careers in science, technology, engineering, and math.
 

Recruiting

 
LinkedIn was made for attracting potential employees and recruiting top candidates. Utilize the Careers tab to make it easy for candidates to apply for positions with your firm. Some of the ways to use this page of your company profile are:
  • Embedded video – share a message from your firm’s CEO or employees discussing why they love working for your firm.
  • Jobs listings – include a listing of open positions or a link to your website’s Careers page.
  • SlideShare – include a slide deck that shares why your firm is a great place to work.
  • Employee spotlight – put your employees in the spotlight, sharing what they do and how they are making an impact in your industry.
  • Outlining the hiring process and tips for successfully applying.
  • Announcing upcoming career fairs and college recruiting visits.
  • Sharing employee relations articles discussing what makes you a great employer (i.e. military-friendly, diversity, fringe benefits, opportunities for growth, educational opportunities).
 
Utilize the power of LinkedIn as part of your overall marketing strategy by integrating it into your other marketing efforts and budgeting in the time and staff it will take to see results. A company profile page which looks dormant can damage your reputation, so if you’re going to start using LinkedIn make sure you keep up with it. You’ll want to have a staff member(s) dedicated to the role of implementing your social media strategy so it doesn’t get pushed to the back burner. Consistency is key.
 
For a closer look at how specific tech firms are using social media, including LinkedIn, check out this article
 
If you are already using LinkedIn, we’d love to hear what’s working best for you. Be sure to comment and let us know about the ways you’re using LinkedIn as part of your marketing strategy.
 
Inbound Marketing for Engineers
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Rhonda Bavaro

By Rhonda Bavaro

As an Inbound Marketing Strategist for Shelley Media Arts, Rhonda helps our clients grow their audience through content marketing. A self-professed grammar geek and word nerd, Rhonda enjoys writing about social media, productivity, and remote work. Working from her home office in Queens, NY, she is an enthusiastic evangelist for the virtual office lifestyle.

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