Of all of the social media platforms on the web, the one that seems hardest to pin down for business promotion is LinkedIn. This is despite its complete focus on the business world, and its many applications for ecommerce in particular.
How could a site that is literally made for the men and women of the professional world fail to be properly utilized by so many? Perhaps because social media is still a new platform for ecommerce, not everyone sees the value in networking as a tool for the ecommerce business itself. In any case, blatant self-promotion is never good social behavior.
So, the question remains: how can LinkedIn be used for ecommerce?
Lead Generating and Networking
LinkedIn has two helpful purposes. These are lead generation and business networking. Both are based on connecting with others in your industry, which is done much more effectively on LinkedIn than it is on any other site.
But just finding others who maintain a presence -- especially those who are more visible than you -- is a major benefit. You can engage companies, and even potential contractors who might be able to bring something special to your ecommerce website. Or just create a circle of helpful contacts.
Just think of all that energy you can save by networking online instead of mingling at conferences.
Showing Your Experience
You are the face of your company. Therefore, the image you present to the world reflects directly on your business's ability to meet the demands of the consumer. For an ecommerce site, this is a daunting task. Many do not feel online stores to have the immediate legitimacy of a physical shop.
The way to get past this is to make yourself a presence online, and prove that you know your industry. LinkedIn is a good place to do this. Not only can you connect with others in the field, but also you can answer questions, post content, and interact. This goes a long way to proving you are an experienced and savvy ecommerce professional who can be trusted.
Checking Out the Competition
Chances are, your competitors are already on LinkedIn. It is always helpful to keep up with what they are doing and saying. You might even learn who they are following, and have access to the same information they are getting. Which will help keep you a step ahead, or at least at the same level. Think of it as a business intelligence tool.
Creating a Company Page
A great way of getting your business on the LinkedIn map is through creating an actual company page. This is a place where you talk about what you do, update information about what is going on at your ecommerce website right now, and otherwise just provide information about the business itself.
There are many LinkedIn company pages that have managed to get it right. Some examples are:
Being that it is all about business and promotion, it isn't a surprise that LinkedIn has one of the better analytics programs that you can get for a social media website. Using it, you can get a clear view of who has been viewing your profile and company page. This is broken down into demographic information, such as location, age groups, and gender.
You will also get a clear view of your place in your industries community based on who you communicate with, your visibility and people's reactions to you. Which will lead you to a more targeted approach at marketing and promotion.
There is one important thing to keep in mind as you embark on your LinkedIn journey: you have to be patient. While social media platforms have made it easier to network, but it takes time. Especially for the ecommerce website not yet well established in the market.
Like any attempt at gaining visibility, establishing a brand, and creating a wider consumer base, you have to build up from the bottom. Don't be surprised if it takes weeks, or even months, to start seeing any real effect. But remember that along the way you are building a more solid foundation on LinkedIn, which will pay off in the end.