If you have been searching for a new job in the past ten years, then you are probably familiar with LinkedIn. What you might not know is that LinkedIn, the world’s largest network for professionals, is more than just a place for job seekers or for finding new employees. It is also a place for small business owners to share stories and helpful tips, and to gain new customers.
LinkedIn has around 332 million members with 2 new members joining every second. That’s a huge number of professionals that might be looking to connect with you or are looking for what you have to offer. Bill Belew, a social media consultant stated the law of the Search Engine Universe in a recent LinkedIn post “If you want people to find you online …. give them more ‘stuff’ to find.”
Three ways you can grow your small business with LinkedIn:
- Create an attention grabbing Profile
- Join Groups to interact
- Publish Posts to spread the word
Your profile is usually the first thing people will see, so make it the best it can be. Don’t just focus on your own achievements, but include your company’s information. Describe what your business can do for others and what your customers and clients can expect from you, now and in the future.
- Use a professional-looking head shot that will allow people to recognize you
- Craft a headline that is catchy and describes what you do and who you serve, don’t just name your job title
- Add the industry you work in to your profile
- Write a summary that includes your keywords and is filled with the information your target audience is looking for
- Include relevant images, YouTube videos, blog articles or any other media that gives credibility about who you are and what you do
It’s a good idea to find and join several groups to contribute your content and to make further connections. Two to three relevant groups are enough in most cases. Look for groups with members who are prospective clients in your industry or create your own one group, then interact with them by leaving comments. You can also share content such as articles, how-to’s, guides, info-graphics and blog posts that feature subjects relevant to the group. Here are a few general guidelines to keep in mind:
- Read the group rules, if applicable, and post appropriately
- Self promotional posts should always go under the “promotions” tab
- Some groups will allow you to promote a free event
- If you have started a discussion, stay involved in the thread and answer any questions/comments promptly
- Avoid making overly negative comments or criticisms
- This is a business platform so it’s a good idea not to mention politics or religion
- Don’t promote your own group in someone’s else group – it’s bad form
Publishing posts is another great way to get noticed and helps to spread the word about your company. Creating blog posts on LinkedIn has become very easy. To get started simply go to your profile and click on the little pencil in your ‘Share an update…’ box, add an image and start writing.
Posting regular blog updates a couple of times a month is a great way to build a following and to get your message in front of potential clients or customers. You could write about interesting developments within your company, share customer feedback or answer frequently asked questions.
You don’t have to be a professional writer or even need to visit this networking platform more than once a week.
Darren Rowse from ProBlogger says, “Aim to inform, inspire and interact!” If you can do that on a regular basis you will be able to grow your small business on LinkedIn in no time.
This guest article was brought to you by Silke Jager.
Silke builds websites for her clients with content management systems like WordPress. She has several blogs she updates on a regular basis, among them is the Jager Web Design Blog, where she shares small business marketing ideas, SEO, web design & craft marketing solutions!
Connect with Silke on LinkedIn here.