Using LinkedIn for Your Small Business

LinkedIn is filled with a wealth of information and contacts. Every small business should have a presence on LinkedIn as well as contacts.  LinkedIn has over 175 million users from more than 200 countries. A half of LinkedIn’s users are from the United States.

LinkedIn can be used for many things including:

  • Finding employees. You can search via keywords, names or companies. Many have their resumes on LinkedIn.
  • Finding a job. You sign up for alerts from companies that you follow.
  • Finding a business partner.
  • Finding business related information.
  • Finding out about another company.
  • A place to upload and review resumes.
  • Joining Groups – There are over a million different groups on LinkedIn. You can find several in your niche by searching through the groups. These are a great way to learn about new things in your industry or niche.
  • Network – once you start making connections and contacts on LinkedIn you can start to network professionally.
  • Answers / Questions – A place to practice your expertise by answering questions or you can ask questions when needed.
  • Recommendations – A place to give and receive recommendations from colleagues.
  • Polls – You can take a poll of colleagues or other connections on LinkedIn.

How do you start? First you start with a profile. Be sure to fill out your profile with keywords of your expertise and business. If you are looking to change jobs or businesses fill out the keywords for what you want to be or where you want to be with the experience in that field.  That is how you can be found in the top of search (similar to a Google browser). Be sure to include a professional picture. If you can’t afford to have one done be sure it’s not a picture of you at the beach – use common sense on this professional network. People want to connect with those whose picture they can see (remember, the egg heads on Twitter? Not good).

Start making connections. Start to connect with people you have worked with and have done business with. If you get a request from someone you are not sure of – read their information and then decide if you want to accept their invitation. The more people you connect with the bigger your connections can become. If you want to communicate with someone at another company and are not connected you can ask to be introduced from a connection you DO have. That’s why it’s important to connect with as many people as you know.  You never know when one day you’ll need to make contact with someone at another business. You may want to purchase from them or partner with them. LinkedIn is a very powerful tool for making connections.

LinkedIn has a new feature now where you can create a page for your business just like on Facebook.  You can set up a products and/or services tab. You can showcase your offerings including a full list of your products with images, descriptions and key features.  You can then have customers recommend them and have other employers endorse them.

Just like Facebook you can (as an administrator of the page) set analytics behind the page. This is a very nice tool to use on LinkedIn to see results. You can see how many click on which products, etc.

You can also set up the pages for certain demographics or by geographic areas or other categories. You can also post updates about your company like on Facebook. (No cute cats here, please!)

There is a tab where you can also add your products and/or services. You may even include videos for your products and the URL for them to purchase on your website.

If your small business is not yet on LinkedIn it is time to sign up, log in and start making your profile and connections. Commit to 30 minutes per day and within a week you’ll be on your way to see the power of LinkedIn for your business.

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