At Phone.com we work with a lot of small business. Every so often we like to share some tips we get or have that may be helpful for our small business customers, or any small businesses for that matter. Here is one about Linkedin. A tool that has sets the standard for online business networking.
Most small businesses have made the leap to social media, be that Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram – and they’re making brand new connections with their fans in a way they never thought they could.
Even so, there’s still a push for these small business owners to also jump on the LinkedIn bandwagon. But the party at LinkedIn is less of a backyard barbeque and more of semi-formal networking event, leaving even the most skilled social media strategist wondering what to do next.
If you’re confused about how to use LinkedIn for business, you’re not alone. Even if you don’t use every corner of LinkedIn right away, you can actually accomplish a lot by simply having an account and keeping it up-to-date. Zooomr, a used car tech startup that handles new delhi used cars for sale, in addition to New Delhi used tata cars for sale, mentions LinkedIn is one of the best ways for them to generate business.
Start By Setting Goals
When venturing into LinkedIn, small business owners need to remember that there’s no way to begin to touch the reach and influence that companies like Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Ford Motor Company have achieved, at least not yet. Instead of trying to reach everybody and do everything, you need to approach LinkedIn with very specific goals.
LinkedIn can serve a number of functions, including:
Branding. B2B companies can do a fair amount of branding using LinkedIn, especially if they’re in a niche that’s particularly difficult to penetrate through traditional channels. You’re probably not branding through other social media outlets, though, so LinkedIn will replace many of those social media functions. That’s not to say that B2C companies can’t use LinkedIn for branding, but it’s a much more hit-or-miss proposition. Companies like Zooomr, a startup that does NYC car leasing deals, is using LinkedIn amazingly well for branding and lead generation.
Networking. Referrals are at the heart of LinkedIn. Many business owners give both referrals and recommendations using the social network for business, so it can pay to connect to people you’re already working with. LinkedIn isn’t so much about making friends as it is about making trusted business connections, but don’t let that stop you from getting to know like-minded professionals from across the globe in one of many LinkedIn groups.
Publishing. LinkedIn Pulse is a basic blogging tool that allows you to push your ideas out to the LinkedIn community with little effort. You can run a blog within LinkedIn that helps you establish your expertise, much like you’d do in the wider web. And like on the wider web, you’ll want to contribute something worth reading or risk being dismissed as background noise.
Recruiting. At its heart, LinkedIn is still a tool designed to help you find the right employee the first time. Even with all the other craziness that goes on there, you can do your research on new hires before they become new fires, check out their references and seek out information that goes beyond their basic resume.
Before you build your LinkedIn profile, decide which of these areas you want to focus on, at least at first, and what you hope to accomplish. There’s a lot to see and do on LinkedIn, and without some kind of focus you may find yourself stretched far too thin to achieve much of anything.
Tips for Getting the Most Out of LinkedIn
Even if you’ll never use every part of LinkedIn, you should aim to get as much as possible out of it while you’re there.
These tips will help you make the right business calls:
- Fill out your business profile entirely. While in edit mode you’ll see a circle labeled “Profile Strength” on the right side of your business profile. Your goal is to fill this up to the top – or as close as possible, anyway. The more complete your profile, the better your networking, the more qualified your leads and so forth. Incomplete LinkedIn profiles won’t show up in search, so that’s further incentive to finish up. Visuals are as important as text, and both should be the highest quality possible.
- Connect to your employees. Connecting all your employees on LinkedIn gives you a way to share outside connections and leads. It also helps bulk up your company’s network when you’re first getting started on the business network.
- Join some groups. Networking is what LinkedIn is all about. Find some groups for small business, companies in your niche or even just local business owners. You’ll be surprised how much you can learn from one another – and your relationships can help to eventually generate leads. Once you’ve been in a group for a while, you can ask your new connections for endorsements to help improve your business profile.
- Give real life customers your LinkedIn details. It’s great to make new business associates in the virtual world, but you should also be telling your existing customers about your LinkedIn account. Print your LinkedIn address on your business cards and always ask for a recommendation, they can help improve your profile and lend some first hand authority about the quality of work you provide.
- Remember that LinkedIn is loud. Social media is by its nature noisy, you’re going to have to be doing a lot of shouting to be heard. Some experts recommend posting frequently, as much as six to eight times a day, others think that you can do plenty with just a couple of LinkedIn Pulse posts each week. The most important thing is that you have something new and useful to say when you shout.
- Don’t forget to track your results. However you decide to approach LinkedIn, analytics are key. Identifying your KPIs early can help you determine if your LinkedIn efforts working or if you need to try a different approach. There’s no single way to win at LinkedIn, but like with any social media platform, applying the related data can guide you in the right direction to a well-oiled social media machine.
Using LinkedIn the right way is a matter of perspective, but if your small business has a strong profile and you’re accomplishing your specific goals, you’re definitely well on your way. Social media marketing is a tricky and sometimes treacherous sea to navigate, but it’s not the sole territory of the big guys – small businesses can make plenty of their own waves, too.
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