Welcome back to our series on social media for businesses. Having covered Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter this week we turn our attention to LinkedIn.

Of all the big social media sites, LinkedIn is perhaps the most business-oriented. People keep their image on the site far more professional and it is primarily used for networking and job-hunting purposes. Its mission statement emphasises connecting professionals for productivity and success.

It’s therefore no surprise that companies who use the platform well stand a good chance of growing fruitful business connections through LinkedIn. The scope to reach not only potential customers but potential employees, partners and colleagues among LinkedIn’s 500 million users is huge.

So how do you build a network on LinkedIn?  While the approach for businesses looking to build a following isn’t radically different, there are some nuances that are worth knowing, and we’ve covered these below.

Optimise your page for searches

It’s important to make sure that your business’s page is easy to find from inside and outside of LinkedIn, so be sure its description is up to scratch. Keyword-rich descriptions, as well as complete information on your specialties, industry, and more will help not only Google to identify you as relevant content in a search, but will also bring LinkedIn users who are browsing keywords they might be interested in.

Get your employees involved

More than any other site, LinkedIn is about connections. Because of the way the site limits interactions, people work within a confined circle of influence, dictated by degrees of separation. People looking at your business will want to know if they know anyone who works there, so it’s important that your employees are just that on LinkedIn – ask them to list you as their employer. The result will be that more people know someone ‘on the inside’ and will be more confident asking about your business or trusting the brand.

Know what content gets shared

Being a more professional-focused platform than Facebook or Instagram, LinkedIn’s content is distinctly different from that of other sites. That’s not to say your business necessarily has to create content just for LinkedIn, but that some content which would be acceptable on other sites will not be here. A fun brand like Coca-Cola will happily share pictures of cats on Facebook, but on LinkedIn it’ll be articles on recycling, diversity, and human rights.

According to LinkedIn, professionals visit the site for “industry news, expert advice, professional learning, peer insights, and recommendations.” Following the trend here will ensure you don’t stick out in the wrong way. Share news about your company and industry, give advice, or best of all, put together a ‘top’ list – these get nearly 40% more amplification than normal posts.

Engage with your current network

The best way for your company to be recommended is by a trusted connection – a friend, colleague, or influencer. Accordingly, if you engage with people that follow you, your business is more likely to receive those recommendations. To do this, post regularly, share useful content, and be helpful. The more you care for the people who follow you already, the better the chances that they’ll promote you to others. With each post, think about the benefit to the people reading it.

Next time we’re concluding our series with the king of video sharing and one of the most under-utilised sites for small businesses: YouTube.

About the author

Jake Waller is a wordsmith who plies his trade here at Findmyshift. He uses his background in engineering to simplify complex topics for a variety of tech firms. When not writing for Findmyshift he blogs under a pseudonym at My Name is Skylance and has a passion for creative writing and editing, about which he's always talking on Twitter.