LinkedIn for Small Business: Everything you need to know
In this post we are going to talk about how to use LinkedIn for business and explain the potential of using the platform for small businesses and more. Here are the major topics we are going to talk about in the blog post.
- How to use LinkedIn for small business?
- How to promote your business on LinkedIn?
- How to use LinkedIn for Business Networking?
- How to increase followers on LinkedIn company page?
- Why use LinkedIn Business Solutions for your small business?
LinkedIn is a resourceful platform for professional and business networking and for building relationships with prospective customers, existing clientele, or any other stakeholders. The platform is particularly useful for small business owners, freelancers, home-business owners, and telecommuters by helping them build their business and career and to stay connected with the rest of the world.
LinkedIn – An Overview
LinkedIn is a social platform that is specifically designed for career and business professionals to connect. With over 575 million professionals using LinkedIn the platform is actually a great place for cultivating their careers and businesses. LinkedIn helps you build strategic relationships and not just add people randomly to your friend list. Here, it is about the quality of connections you create, not the number, which is why LinkedIn stops showing the exact number of connections once you reach 500.
How to use LinkedIn?
LinkedIn as a platform is quite different from other social media platforms but learning how to use it is not more difficult than learning to use any other social media platform. The first step here too is to create a LinkedIn profile.
(Above video is a part of a more elaborate course on Academy by Appy Pie. To access the complete course, please Click Here, or continue reading below.)
However, when it comes to networking, LinkedIn is entirely different from any other social media platform. This is not the place to post cat videos or a picture of what you cooked for dinner (unless you are a take home chef). LinkedIn is a space for professionals, hence everything on the platform is about careers and business.
Hence, while building your profile and seeking out connections, endorsements, and recommendations, you should behave professionally.
How to use LinkedIn for Small Business?
In 2003, when the site was launched, LinkedIn was just offering an online version of your resume, but in 2019, the platform is used for business purposes like building relationships with the right kind of professionals, staying abreast of the current industry trends, and finding prospective leads that you can convert.
LinkedIn is the largest professional network in the world with more than 575 million users all over the world. Now, in addition to a hiring tool, LinkedIn is quickly becoming a sales and marketing platform.
Let us take a look at how to do that in the best way:
Create company and personal profiles
Just because you have a small business, does not mean that you do not need a LinkedIn profile. Company profiles on LinkedIn or Company Pages as they are called rank pretty high in the search results. This means even a simple page on LinkedIn with basic information listed on it can be very useful for you.
Additionally, when you create a company page on LinkedIn, you get access to a lot of meaningful data like demographic information about the followers and metrics on the posts you put up. This lets you understand the customers better.
Creating a strong personal profile is a great idea as it shows the prospective clients that there is a real person behind the brand giving you some credibility and validating your expertise in the field.
Make connections to find good quality leads
LinkedIn is not the place to put up a sales pitch, but members are here to make meaningful connections which eventually convert to sales. As a small business owner, you can use LinkedIn to find new leads and identify similarities and then contact the “warm” leads instead of having to make cold calls!
You can message a prospect while mentioning shared connections or interests, show interest in their company and offer help with their business. This phenomenon is called “social selling” and seems to be working pretty well.
Maximizing your connections can save quite a lot of time for you and connect you with the right prospects for your business. To get started you can go to the ‘My Network’ tab and then import your entire email address book and select the people you want to connect to. Here, you will also see suggestions under the section ‘People you may know’. After you are done exploring these, you can scout the ‘People Also Viewed’ section for similar people. As you are sending the connection requests, add a personalized note to increase your acceptances.
Join relevant industry groups
Look for groups related to your industry, join them and engage with the group to share your opinion and expertise. This will help you establish your credibility while helping you expand your network. Choosing the right groups for this is critical. As a principle find groups that are focused around a niche that relates well to your industry. Join a couple of such groups and interact in it regularly to establish yourself as an expert on the subject.
Find the right groups by searching topic keywords or you can also view the profiles of your connections and scroll down to their groups section and join a group you like.
Engage with the newly acquired network
As you are making new connections, do not let them just sit there and be left behind. Nurture the relationships you are making by participating in meaningful discussions, answering questions, liking and commenting on the content that comes your way. LinkedIn is driven largely by the amount of engagement created by the users. This means, the more you engage, the more you show up in searches and greater is your growth in reach.
Recommendations & endorsements
Like every business profits from the client or customer testimonials, your LinkedIn profile benefits from the recommendations and endorsements you receive. These are the two tools that your connections can use to vouch for you and your skills and so can you!
Recommendations are short narratives that describe the person’s professional abilities and performance. Make the first move and encourage others to write one for you. Pick someone you respect and write a recommendation for them. Put some real thought into it and not just write some generic lines and people would definitely return the favor with recommendations that will bring about a credibility to your profile.
Giving out endorsements are even easier. All you need to do is click on the skill or proficiency you would like to endorse the person for. To get endorsements, you need to give endorsements.
Share and publish content to establish your expertise
LinkedIn has fast emerged as a versatile content platform as it started focusing on visual content, redesigned the site, and updated their mobile app. The company content has a higher chance of getting exposure on LinkedIn. Typically, a status update from the company reaches about 20% of the followers whereas in Facebook the reach is about 6%. This is because Facebook favors user generated content over company content.
Establish your expertise in the community by sharing helpful articles or any other form of content. Engage with relevant groups and contribute to conversations with others. You can also go for targeted updates or sponsored updates to make sure that your posts are exposed to right kind of audience on LinkedIn.
One thing you must remember is to add a relevant CTA. The whole idea behind posting content on any social platform is to direct the user from the social page to the website. It is the CTA that would help you with this.
Analyze the data for each post after you have published it. The insights on LinkedIn are pretty interesting, including details like number of people who viewed the post, length of life for each post and the demographics of the people engaging with your posts.
How to use LinkedIn for Business Networking?
Networking for business is an important aspect of achieving any measure of success. Things that are taken care of, with real world networking can be accomplished more quickly and efficiently through an online professional networking environment. Using LinkedIn, you can review any businesses or professional’s recommendations and reviews before getting connected to someone new.
LinkedIn offers multiple opportunities to increase the referrals and knowledge base, attract new business and quality employees, increase credibility and showcasing products and services.
You can also promote your business using LinkedIn which puts you out in front of the right people helping you connect with relevant businesses and consumers as well.
Another great way to create a strong network for your business is by creating a group which helps you build an engaged community around your business and grow your online community.
Creating a group of your own on LinkedIn or being actively engaged in one, can help you establish yourself as a thought leader and an industry expert, eventually helping you send a greater traffic to your company page.
One important thing to do is to nurture relationships on LinkedIn. This starts with the time you add connections to your LinkedIn network where you need to make sure that your connections are relevant and updated. With these valuable contacts, make sure that you stay in touch with them through meaningful conversations. This can help you build awareness and trust in an effective manner.
Another great feature on LinkedIn is LinkedIn ProFinder network which works particularly well if you are a freelancer. This is a great freelancer marketplace for independent professionals to get connected with LinkedIn members to seek advice and assignments.
How to increase followers on LinkedIn Company Page?
This is more than simply pumping in a lot of money into your campaign and starts much before that. The company page should always reflect very clearly the image you want to showcase. Establish a strong credibility and trust in your company, offer only credible information about your business.
When you are sending out professional emails or any other communication, make sure that you include all your social media links in your signature, including the LinkedIn company page. If you have a company blog or website, make sure that you have a LinkedIn widget in place to follow you or to share your page/article.
One thing to remember, however is that people will only share your content, if there is anything worth sharing. Post great content and do it consistently to give great value to your followers.
You can follow other companies as your company page and when you do that, it encourages them to follow you back, exposing you and your company page to their followers. Remember to like the pages of relevant companies that belong to your industry niche.
Your employees have the potential to become your brand ambassadors. Motivate them to follow your page, share your content and increase the overall views you are getting to increase the chances of getting more followers.
Why use LinkedIn Business Solutions for your small business?
LinkedIn Business Solutions has some definite and clear advantages for small businesses and we are going to talk about them here. The biggest reason why you should use LinkedIn Business Solutions for your small business is that it helps you generate massive leads by giving you easy contact with your target audience. LinkedIn messaging is a lot more effective because it doesn’t seem as salesy as cold emailing.
You can optimize the company page on LinkedIn and leverage the advantage of SEO for your company. In addition to being a professional networking space, it is a great space for promoting and marketing your company and the products or services you offer.
Finding the right candidates for any profile can be quite a task and LinkedIn can help you do it. You can simply put up an ad for local candidates.
LinkedIn is a great platform for connecting with the right kind of audience, professionals, and target customers. The idea is to first understand how you are going to project your business, which fraternity are you going to be a part of, and finally where do you want to see yourself.
There are multiple ways in which having a LinkedIn company page can prove useful to you. Did you know that you can also convert your LinkedIn Company page into an app? Try it now and let us know what you think about it in the comments section below.