Opportunities abound on LinkedIn for small business. LinkedIn is the premier social network when it comes to connecting, and engaging communities within a more business-oriented and professional setting. If your customers are business people or businesses themselves, then read on to learn how to network the right way.
Let’s be candid. Some of us love LinkedIn, some of us loathe it. Regardless, LinkedIn is worth understanding due to its genuine usefulness for a small business. The origins were head hunting and job searching but it has now become a networking site and a place for branding in a more professional setting.
Why do people love it? Because LinkedIn is a place to highlight your experience and hard work. It’s also a network in which to develop professional connections. Why do people loathe it? Because it is often tedious to develop the connections you are looking for. While it certainly used to be a platform focused on the individual there are more opportunities for business & organizations to shine. With our bit of guidance, we can help you be set up for building some of those connections on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn Is All About Business
First things first, if you are looking to simply socialize or focus on sales, you are going to have a tough time. This is a business network, and business is all about the connections and relationships you create. View LinkedIn for small business as a social strategy for B2B and your professional online presence. For 2017 there were 500 Million active users, so there are definitely users and business just like yours out there linking up on the platform. There are lots of ways to have fun online and but there has been an increase in the value of showing who you are professionally.
With 9+ Million job listings for 2017, LinkedIn has certainly kept themselves relevant. Users are checking their accounts frequently. This uptick in use has been enhanced by the digital workforce and companies wanting to have a more global presence. We at Teacup have team members all over the world, and seeing someone’s LinkedIn quickly helps us understand whom we may be working with. Once on board, we want to show the world who our team is and how we, as a global team, work together.
Active participation on LinkedIn is the best way to say, ‘Look at me!’ without saying ‘Look at me!
Connect Business and Personal
A best first step is to create a company page for your small business on LinkedIn. This is where you can begin acting as a business on LinkedIn. To show your services, brand, team members, as well as your thoughts on the LinkedIn business community. It’s free to start your company page and to begin acting as a business entity. Then those who follow you don’t have to follow an individual anymore. The structure of the business page is set up to discusses offerings/services. It’s an all-around way to establish your brand, provide more info to customers, meet others in your space, find who thought leaders are as well as connect your team together.
However, you mustn’t ignore your personal account. Having an equally as solid personal page creates even more transparency and consistency your company’s public LinkedIn presence. Say someone wants to contact the CTO or operations manager of your company. You certainly would want someone to be able to easily find it through your business page and have your team members’ pages uphold a well-developed profile. Again more humanizing in the online social world. So update the basics, show your personality in the workplace, and demonstrate why people would want to engage with you.
Participate In Discussion & Networks on LinkedIn
Once established on this well-mannered social site, it’s time to build out your community and conversation. Find other companies in your industry to find what people are interested and discussing to discover where you fit in. Look at where you can add your specific knowledge to begin the steps as a thought leader. Which of course gets you noticed. You will begin to notice Groups you would fit in to.
These are like-minded professional forums for those wanting to learn about specific topics. Make sure that most the groups you find yourself in are local to your business. This gets you noticed in your own communities, rather than starting with bigger groups first where you may be lost in the vast chatter. Here are LinkedIn’s news and discussion platform.
Blogs posts and articles are very popular content to share. Share your blogs where it makes relevant sense. We recommending inviting your employees do it too, so they can learn, find new leads and make themselves known professionally. It’s important to note that the best connections are made when there is a learning exchange happening. So a good balance of posting a commenting is great for learning discussions and groups. It will be good to review with your team the type of attitude and tone you will want representing your company especially when it comes to suggestions or opinions. You don’t always need to be neutral, but know how you want your company to sound like. Here is how to make your LinkedIn groups thrive.
8 Top Tips: LinkedIn For Small Business
1. Gain Recommendations
A neat feature of LinkedIn for small business is that others can leave recommendations on your profile. This could be a client, customers, or businesses partners. This gives you both further credibility and wider reach.
2. Always Think Both B2C AND B2B
While you are looking to have a good online image for your customers also know that LinkedIn is a good place for B2B opportunities as well. You want a full view of your niche.
3. Have A Complete Profile
This should go without saying and LinkedIn won’t let you forget it either. LinkedIn offers an incessant evaluation of profile completeness. Make the most of your small business profile while you are there.
4. Update Your Profile Often
Business is always changing, and we may forget to update the small events, maybe photos or employees. Keep your profile transparent up-to-date as much as possible.
5. LinkedIn Is Not Only A Marketing Channel
Don’t use LinkedIn as a purely promotional channel. If you do, you won’t attract the connections you want. Be true to your company’s purpose and build a network.
6. Don’t Over-Sell Yourself
A bit of repetition of the last note, but make sure you are representing your company not only yourself. Remember, you’re here to provide value to others and show your expertise, but also to demonstrate the value of your small business.
7. Don’t Put Anything On There You Don’t Want The World To Know
LinkedIn is a business environment. We can get away with posting more casual content on other sites. Treat this as a professional setting where things can get noticed quickly.
8. Don’t make enemies
In conversation and discussion, you will find those you disagree with. Remember, this is a business social network and you represent your company. Stick to being cordial in conversation especially as a small business.
I’ve come to learn there is a virtuous cycle to transparency and a very vicious cycle of obfuscation
Establish A Professional Presence With LinkedIn For Small Business
Keeping up with all these social sites takes up a lot of time, thankfully LinkedIn is a place that provides some variance on how to approach a network of people. Instead of always have fun focus posts, activities stay professional. For a small business, it is a great way to really share what you are about to your surrounding communities. Stay professional, transparent and participate. Don’t forget you also need a side that promotes your business to audiences at large, but we can take care of that for you.