LinkedIn is probably one of the most innovative networking tools that businesses have today. At Cedar Dean Group, LinkedIn has become a platform which allows us to find connections with potential clients, industry experts and business partners. Whether it is a blog post, a relevant news update or professional networking, we are pretty active with this platform.
One of the main benefits we get from using LinkedIn is enhanced SEO (search engine optimization) function. This helps us to optimise our profile and expand our network, especially when there are 20 million members in the UK signed up to this social network. Increased SEO exposure leads to increased web traffic which eventually results in an increased conversion rate. This is a great opportunity which the leisure and hospitality industry can use to its advantage. When it comes to accessing specific types of data and information on businesses, potential clients or employees, LinkedIn can save you time, resources and energy. LinkedIn is also a useful tool to regularly be updated on industry relevant news and keep an eye on emerging trends via Pulse, influencers and/or groups you follow. We find this to be a key benefit which is currently raising our awareness of the market.
More professionals and businesses in the hospitality industry should use LinkedIn. Online exposure can help to increase your brand awareness, without having to explicitly be selling. The Wagamama story is a great example; their first restaurant opened in London's Bloomsbury in 1992 and today Wagamama spans 18 countries with 149 restaurants. More than 10,000 people follow the brand on LinkedIn which both compliments and demonstrates its strategic success. The question is why do people follow the brand? The brand just appeals to the different needs of their target market – which provides benefits such as; entertaining content, product information, promotions, discounts, one to one customer service and up to the minute feedback. Wagamama knows how to get its client salivating over its products!
Whilst this platform has its perks, it is important to be aware that like anything, there can be drawbacks too. In our experience, we have found that some members use LinkedIn as serial “spammers”, bluffers who are not serious business operators but opportunity seekers without any expertise. We are aware that in the leisure and hospitality sectors, networking and connecting with people is an integral part of what we do. Undertaking a bit of due diligence and research on LinkedIn users can save you from an uncomfortable situation.
We should not forget that the online and offline realms are actually part of the same world. Regardless of the way we choose to network and do business, it is crucial that we maintain integrity and professionalism in all scenarios. After all, the most powerful tool we can use is our values.
Link with people and link to opportunities and results.