David previously worked with Europe’s No.1 Marketing Agency & the World’s No.6 biggest Integrated Marketing Agency, seeing first-hand how £150 million+ campaigns are executed to create household brands. Now he is the CEO of YewBiz and is focused on helping small businesses.
How LinkedIn Can Help Small Businesses
The phone in your pocket probably already has Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter applications installed on it - but have you ever thought of downloading the LinkedIn application?
If you are in business, whether it is running your own business or are employed by a business, then you need to be using LinkedIn.
Many other small business owners have also decided to overlook LinkedIn and focus on other social networks, with Facebook being the most popular. These people do not realise that LinkedIn can provide some of the best opportunities for business owners.
It is the meeting place for like-minded professional people.
Unlike Facebook or Twitter, individuals on LinkedIn never post selfies accompanied by funny emojis or pictures of their cats. People interacting on LinkedIn do so in a professional manner and know it is for business purposes only.
LinkedIn also helps you expand your online marketing reach and puts you in front of a larger audience - an audience of professional people who might be interested in your products or services.
Why Small Businesses Need To Be On LinkedIn
If you are ignoring LinkedIn, then you are ignoring a world of opportunities.
Business owners are misguided if they think that Facebook and Twitter are the only platforms they can use for social networking. Yes, these two giants are the biggest social networks, but LinkedIn has something to offer that they don't.
LinkedIn allows individuals to connect with many like-minded professionals and will enable them to grow their network of professional contacts. Most small business owners find that this is easier said than done. They believe that the task of setting up a LinkedIn profile is a mammoth undertaking and it is easier to push out Facebook posts and tweets.
This is not true. In our membership site, we have guides that will show you how easy this is to do.
Often small business owners spend too much time thinking about how involved and time consuming using LinkedIn is, instead of spending that time on actually setting up their profiles in the first place.
Having a profile on LinkedIn (see our guide on LinkedIn Profile Tips) is like being in a candy (sweetie) shop with the knowledge that everything there is free. There are potential clients, prospective business partners and many service providers all waiting to connect with you.
LinkedIn is a favourite place to help you find and recruit talented people, it also helps you find key contacts for services from other companies. You can use LinkedIn as a virtual blog to share your knowledge, it allows you to access expert advice from others and you can use it as a promotion tool.
Furthermore, it is a great way to offer advice and recommendations, you can also start and join groups on specialist topics - even become a thought leader in your own arena if you wish.
A great way to raise your profile is to write LinkedIn articles (see our free guide here) which other people read and share to their network of connections.
Getting Started On LinkedIn Is Easy
Setting up an account on LinkedIn is simple.
There are different LinkedIn packages for you to choose from, with the most common one being the "free" version. There is also a "premium" version which incurs a monthly fee. Each of them has their own benefits, however, we suggest that you start with the free version and see how you go.
The team behind LinkedIn provide a step-by-step guide to get you started. It covers everything from filling in your personal details, address, company name, etc. In addition to the guides provided by LinkedIn themselves, YewBiz also share our own tips & tricks as part of our membership plans.
After joining LinkedIn, there are two profiles you need to customise - your own personal profile and your business profile. Your personal profile is where potential partners, clients and job seekers will get to view you. Your business profile should showcase your own company's services and products, and this where you and your employees will be grouped.
First of all, don't worry if you are doing things right or wrong. LinkedIn includes a "to-do" list which will walk you through the items on your profile that you need to complete. It will show you what has already been completed and what is outstanding.
Completing your LinkedIn profile is not dissimilar to your Facebook or Twitter profiles. What you do have to remember, is that LinkedIn is your virtual business card, it is not the place to portray your home life. It is where every interaction is a business-oriented one.
You only need to fill in the relevant sections on your profile, you can include links to your other social media accounts, websites and/or blogs. Your dog’s birthday is certainly not something you include on your profile.
When completing your business profile, begin by entering basic information about your business, such as a description, number of employees and the particular industry you serve. Take a bit of time here to write content that promotes your company and gives reasons for other people to do business with you.
You should also take advantage by including keywords relevant to your industry. This will help your LinkedIn page from an SEO point of view, and help achieve a higher ranking position whenever a potential customer searches for services related to your industry.
Once you have finished completing your basic LinkedIn profile, you can make it visible to the other LinkedIn professionals. If you then spend some time each week interacting with other users LinkedIn posts and articles - and keep improving your own profile, then things will get interesting.
Reaping Rewards From LinkedIn
This is the stage when new customers start finding you!
Not only have you created a new way of winning clients - you have also opened up a new world of doing business with new partners. You may find that potential partners reach out to you to discuss alliances or to offer you products at a cheaper rate. The opportunities are endless.
As well as giving you a platform to share your services, knowledge and experience, LinkedIn connects with other social media platforms. This means that you can share content on LinkedIn and it will also be posted on Facebook and Twitter at the same time.
Some LinkedIn Do's and Don’ts
Becoming active on LinkedIn and interacting in a positive manner will certainly help your progress. Certain areas that you should engage in include:
- Answering business-related questions form other professionals - do it to be helpful, not to "show off".
- 'Like' updates from other LinkedIn users
- Write articles and posts and share them on LinkedIn
- Write recommendations for other users that you know
At the other end of the scale, there are some things that you need to stay away from. These turn people off and soon you will start losing connections. A few of these include:
- Hard selling your products or services
- Avoiding questions or using them to promote yourself
- Being too overly personal - remember it is a professional network
- Sharing cat videos or other unsuitable material - keep that for Facebook
Deciding to use LinkedIn may be the best thing that small businesses owners could do. There are a host of other benefits that it can offer in addition to those above.
If you are willing to put in the time and effort into creating a LinkedIn profile that stands out, you will have endless opportunities. Of course, if you are of the mindset that it is too much work for you, you can always consider hiring LinkedIn experts to do it for you.
Our own experts are highly experienced in setting up LinkedIn and training users how to do it more efficiently - although some people consider hiring a consultant an expensive option, it is worth every penny.
As a business owner, you know how critical time and money are, so don't delay, get started today!
YewBiz offers a series of LinkedIn Courses so you can learn how to properly set-up and start winning new business.
If you know someone who has a small business and you know they are not using LinkedIn to the maximum, then please share this post.
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