MARKETING budgets are facing cuts, causing marketers to consider marketing via social media such as LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is quite different from Facebook and Twitter because it is designed primarily for businesses. Its user profiles are characterised according to particular categories of interest.

LinkedIn is a network of authority figures. You have business owners, investors and many other individuals in the same field as you.

Many of LinkedIn’s users are in a position of power in their business. This means that they can make executive decisions, such as implementing your time management software in their office, if you can catch their interest.

With close to 80 million users, LinkedIn is a social network filled with people who have both decision-making and buying power — something you should be using to your advantage. Here’s how:

1. Get involved

It is a good idea to take the time and effort to create a LinkedIn account and complete your professional online resumé for your potential employer, employees or business partners. 

When creating the page, it is also a good idea to use some basic search engine optimisation methods, as LinkedIn is highly authoritative and ranks very well in Google.

2. Make your company page ready for visitors

Do this by allowing your page to be searched through keywords, garnering visits from targeted visitors too. This may be the introduction of your business to an interested individual.

Any form of testimonial helps as well, especially through LinkedIn recommendations from clients and co-workers.

3. Get active

The key is to make regular status updates, network with users, participate in various LinkedIn groups and contact users in your network.

You might want to consider paying for exclusive LinkedIn membership for features that can help you reach out to prospects.

4. Stay consistent and relevant

Keep your LinkedIn page relevant at all times.

Building the page up outside of the network (such as mentioning it on your website or during webinars) will attract attention.

Even if these are not converting visitors, it will build up the authority and interest for your LinkedIn page and attract more natural and targeted visitors to it.

5. Interact, interact and then interact some more

The power of the LinkedIn community is incredible. There are many examples of networking methods that incorporate LinkedIn activity. The various LinkedIn groups are a great start.

Also, interacting through Linked-In Answers allows you to answer questions and provide relevant sources. This builds up your authority and can serve as a direct marketing tool as well.

This social media platform is a highly effective marketing tool if used right. It is especially powerful for lead generation purposes and will provide you with some of the most targeted and valuable leads that you will ever get.

It is now up to you to create a marketing plan so that your time and effort with the LinkedIn network is invested well.