LinkedIn, the social site that specializes in professional networking, is one of the most underutilized digital platforms among independent retailers. The 13-year-old network, which boasts more than 450 million users in some 200 countries, initially was pitched to job seekers. But it’s rife with marketing and operational opportunities for business owners. We asked LinkedIn expert Viveka von Rosen, author of LinkedIn Marketing: An Hour a Day, how jewelry retailers can leverage the site.
Company pages and personal pages are different—and you should have both.
“You can update anonymously as your company,” says Von Rosen. “You can get statistics on your updates, add special offers, post job listings, and do things like you do on Facebook. But you can’t talk to other people as a business.”
Keywords and search terms will make your (or your store’s) profile more visible.
“The best place to put keywords and search terms is in the title field of the experience section,” she explains. “You have 120 characters, and you can put more than Dan Smith, owner of Edelstein’s. Be descriptive. In the summary section, you have 2,000 characters to tell the story of your company or your expertise. Add search terms where they are relevant. In the Interests section, you should literally dump 1,000 characters of keywords. No one really reads that section, so you can even add names of your competitors because whenever someone searches for them, you will come up, too.”
Yes, endorsements are important.
“Endorsements are a game we have to play. But you have to have the right skills to be endorsed,” says Von Rosen. “You can delete skills that people endorse you for that might not fit. You get endorsements by endorsing people, then they endorse you back.”
Make connections, but not too many connections.
You want to have a decent number of first-level connections—between 3,000 and 5,000. LinkedIn gets really glitchy when you have more than 5,000 connections.
Looking for a new employee? Look to LinkedIn.
“Make sure to use the advanced search,” explains Von Rosen. “You could type in jewelry design and customer service or intern. Then see what comes up. If a lot of gemologists show up and you don’t want that skill, type in the same, but add not gemologist to the end. The engine will get rid of everyone who has gemologist in their profile.”
A version of this story originally appeared in the October 2013 issue of JCK magazine.