If you are not leveraging LinkedIn to support your small business, then you are already a step behind many of the half a billion people who have LinkedIn accounts. Gone are the days when LinkedIn was a platform where people opened an account and frantically tried to connect to as many people as possible because they were under the erroneous impression that having hundreds of followers was the same as having an effective business network.
Now, when you join LinkedIn you can follow thought leaders who are willing to share their insights and knowledge with their fellow entrepreneurs, and you can join communities whose members post their problems and their solutions for others to learn from their experiences.
People like Martin J. Stallone have built efficient and productive business relationships through LinkedIn by maintaining connections with their previous networks through groups such as the Ivy League Alumni and Cornell University Alumni groups while moving forward by following thought leaders like Mark Cuban.
So how can you make the most of LinkedIn for your business?
Create A Page For Your Company On LinkedIn
When others are trying to discover more about your company they do not want to be moving around multiple sites so make it easy. Build a company page so they can read all about you while staying on LinkedIn. Utilise existing branding with a colorful banner and including the same information as in your other marketing materials.
Make Yourself Easy To Find
If you do not complete your LinkedIn profile you won’t turn up in searches. Ensure your personal page is 100% complete and treat both your personal and company pages as SEO marketing opportunities.
Don’t Be Shy
Many of us are too embarrassed to ask for recommendations but over 80% of people surveyed have said they are more likely to work with or purchase from a business that a trusted someone has recommended.
Don’t blindly ask everyone though. Pick out a few customers to approach and, if appropriate, offer reciprocal recommendations so you are supporting each other.
Seek Out Endorsements
Like recommendations, endorsements help potential customers to see what others think you are good at.
Make A Great Showcase
Use your pages’ posts to display the best your company has to offer. Use videos, slideshows and plenty of photos so potential customers can instantly see what you are all about.
Engage In Groups
Join groups of like minded people and businesses where you can share your experiences and learn from others. However, remember that engagement is the key word. Offer information and thank others for sharing. Good business relationships are a two-way street.
Blog about your business on LinkedIn. Don’ just use it as a promotional opportunity though. Blog to give others soemthing they need as well as to give something you want them to see.
If you write about a project that went well, tag your customer in your post. This instantly doubles the social share potential of your news.
It’s Good To Talk
Start conversations. Talk to the people in your network and make sure you reply to them. The good thing about LinkedIn is that it doesn’t have to be real time chat either, you can always catch up early morning or late at night.
Don’t go crazy with empty content. Keep regular posts going but don’t put readers off by being spammy.
Encourage your employees to blog too. Not only will it take some of the onus off of you but it will give your readers a new perspective.
The Most Sincere
Nobody likes to admit to copying others and you shouldn’t blindly cut and paste content. What you can do though is look at successful companies in your field and learn from what they do on LinkedIn.
Count On It
As with all things you need to measure to see your return on investment. Monitor the time spent on LinkedIn and the amount of engaement you recieve.