LinkedIn’s focus on job searching and professional networking makes it a valuable platform for small business entrepreneurs. There’s a lot you can do on LinkedIn beyond the basics of building a profile and connecting with your colleagues. Read on for 20 ways to benefit your business through this useful social network.
Before we get into the list of things you can do, you should make one important decision. There are two kinds of people on LinkedIn: those who vigorously prune their contacts to the people they’ve actually worked with, and those who accept every random contact request that comes in. One has a smaller network of true colleagues and friends, and the other has a vast mailing list of vaguely-connected professionals. Neither strategy is wrong, but figure out which one you’re doing and stick with it. Onto the list!
There are groups for every interest, professional and not-so-professional. Find some that match your interests and your industry.
Once you’re in some groups, post regularly (but without spamming the group). Share ideas and stories. Ask questions. Don’t constantly bring the subject back to your business. Instead, build your credibility as an expert in your field.
Pick a topic that’s relevant to your field and expertise and start a group based on that topic. Instant guru status, if you’re good at communicating what you know.
There are lots of events posted on LinkedIn, both virtual ones that you can attend from anywhere and meet-and-greets in your local area. Use this as a way to learn more about your field and to network with customers and competitors.
You’re not limited to just your personal profile—you can create a free LinkedIn page for your company, and if you aren’t a one-person show you definitely should. A company page can serve as a hub for networking between your employees and your customers.
Because LinkedIn is such a text-heavy environment, the few places where images get used are important. Your picture, your logo and the images you put in blog posts or articles should be as first-rate as you can manage.
Create LinkedIn posts that promote your blog posts. Or, write articles directly in the Linkedin platform. Providing useful information regularly keeps your profile fresh while building engagement and your reputation.
A lot of people find LinkedIn profiles via search engines. Make sure your headlines and your copy use the appropriate keywords to help people find you. Build on your employees! Everybody who works for you should have their own LinkedIn profile. Encourage them to do so. Heck, let them use company time to do so, within reason. It’s a win-win situation for both of you.
Research shows that positive endorsements and reviews have a major influence on buying decisions. Generously (but honestly— remember you need to build credibility) hand out endorsements to the people in your network, and be proactive in asking for endorsements in return.
LinkedIn is a wonderful place to showcase the work you do, such as pictures of your work and excerpts from creative content you’ve produced. Whatever you can show your potential clients, show them! Showing is always better than telling.
LinkedIn uses a category system for both company and personal profiles. Your company profile can have 20 categories. Make sure you select a category for everything your business does.
Set goals for your LinkedIn page so that you have a metric against which to measure your success and progress. This can be a certain quantity of B2B sales, the addition of X people to your mailing list, whatever you want to accomplish.
Research shows that LinkedIn posts with images get almost twice the attention as text-only posts. Accordingly, have a meaningful and attractive photograph for everything you post.
You can create up to ten Showcase pages underneath your company page, to highlight particular aspects or services of your company. You can use these pages to organize specific marketing campaigns, to conduct recruitment drives, or really for just about anything at all. In essence, LinkedIn is giving you another ten company pages for free. Use them!
This sounds obvious, but a lot of people get halfway through creating a profile page and then think “I’ll come back to finish this tomorrow.” Five years’ worth of tomorrow later, their page is still hanging fire. Commit to creating a complete page so that you look professional.
People hate being sold to on LinkedIn…so don’t sell to them. Instead, make connections with people who are naturally going to be interested in your product or service. Don’t sell it to them; be there when they realize they need to buy it.
You don’t need to passively wait on the network to come to you; you can go to the network. You can search the LinkedIn database of more than half a BILLION (that’s billion with a B) users for people who are in the industry you’re targeting, work at the companies you want to sell to, etc.
You’re a master of something. Share that mastery in blog posts, group discussions, and individual conversations. This builds credibility and attracts higher-quality people to your network.
Premium memberships on LinkedIn can be pricy, but when your marketing efforts on the platform are starting to pay off, upgrading to a premium membership gets you access to a lot of useful features (like the ability to directly message people who aren’t in proximity to your existing network).
You may work hard on weekends and holidays…but an awful lot of people turn off the business side of their brain on those days. Focus your efforts to connect on days when everyone is working and you’ll see a higher ROI.