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It is easy to think of social media solely in terms of the most talked about sites – usually Facebook and Twitter – where communities of friends and family increasingly organise their social lives. But social media has a very direct impact on the business world beyond B2C marketing. More and more companies are taking advantage of the opportunities to improve their B2B strategies, through social networks like LinkedIn.
The purpose of LinkedIn is to provide a forum for professionals and businesses to build relationships online. It is used purely to create communities of and links between professionals and the organisations for which they work. For some individuals it is a powerful tool for building their career path or marketing their services. For businesses, it is not only an increasingly useful tool in the recruitment process, but also the perfect stage for communicating and building relationships with business partners.
As with other social media, LinkedIn is a platform for bringing a brand to life, engaging in an interactive and personal way with business partners and professionals rather than with customers. It is a place where a company can establish its credentials as an employer or a business partner, and where it can live up to the brand messages that it has established through its overall marketing strategy.
As with other social media networks, building a presence on LinkedIn requires an investment of time and effort, but the rewards possible through maintaining an active profile are growing greater by the day. Given the different kind of audience compared to B2C marketing networks, the focus on communication through LinkedIn is different, but it must still be consistent with the brand identity and the broader marketing strategy. Advice from social media experts can help ensure that the right approach is taken and that the return on your investment is optimised.
If a business is not already maintaining an active presence on LinkedIn then it is missing one of the most promising opportunities in B2B marketing. Now is the time to act, before your competitors do.