By Susan Tucker
For small business owners, Linkedin can be a powerful tool. Quality connections are being made every single day. I bet you thought LinkedIn was just a passive digital resume… well, it’s not anymore and if you’re a small business owner not utilizing the functions and features of this fantastic platform, you are missing out.
Here are some tips for using LinkedIn to grow your small business.
Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile
First and foremost, you should make sure your personal profile is fully optimized.
- Check your profile image. Is it recent? Blurry? Hard to see your face? Make sure it’s as appealing as possible.
- Your headline offers a place to get creative. Don’t just say CEO of ABC Co. Say, Head Alphabeter in the Alphabetting world (or something a little more descriptive – for example, mine says Your Digital Marketing Partner)
- Update your summary and include industry keywords
- Completely fill in your experience, use keywords here, too.
- Same goes for Publications, Certifications, Skills.
- Ask for Recommendations
- Make sure you have a customized vanity URL (here’s how)
Make Engagement a Priority on LinkedIn
It’s no secret they key to using social mediais by engaging. Using LinkedIn not only enhances your current customer relationships, it also cultivates prospects. But, you have to engage, participate and be active in conversation.
Here are a few ways to do that:
- Post content relevant to your current and potential customers
- Utilize InMail to introduce yourself to prospects
- Jump in on Group conversations
- Comment, like and share posts made by your Connections
- Congratulate. The “Congratulations” function is valuable because you can reach out to someone who has been promoted or achieved a work anniversary and offer a compliment.
Go Groups on LinkedIn
The Groups feature is one of the most robust features of the platform allowing you to not only connect with like-minded professionals, but also to connect with local organizations in your community.
There are more than two million Groups on the platform, with another 8,000 being added per week. If you can’t find a Group that suits you, create one (or more!) of your own. Consider creating an internal Group for your company, a Group for your local community or a Group relevant to your industry.
Find out where your current customers are, then join those groups. Chances are there will be more like-minded prospects there.
Targeted Ads on LinkedIn
Just like with Facebook, the LinkedIn ad platform can offer you a highly targeted way to get in front of prospects. Precision targeting makes it easy. Consider all forms of ad formats; text, video, and text with images.
- Job title and function
- Industry and company size
- Geographical location
Adjust Your Personal Settings on LinkedIn
Since you will be using LinkedIn as a way to prospect, make sure your settings are set in a way to allow folks to easily connect with you. You can find the Settings tab under your name, then scroll down and manage who can see your feed, your visibility, and your activity broadcasts.
Leverage LinkedIn Features
As mentioned earlier, LinkedIn is constantly rolling out features.
Here are a few favorites:
- LinkedIn Publisher
publish your content directly onto your LinkedIn profile page and position yourself as an industry expert
- “Who Viewed Your Profile” Section
Find out what keywords people are using to find out, where they are located and if they could be a good prospect. If so, send them an InMail.
- “How You’re Connected” Tool
This tool will allow you to strategically grow your connections by showing you how you’re connected. Take advantage of this information prior to reaching out to them.
- Showcase Pages
If you have multiple brand messages, you’ll love Showcase Pages. They will give you an opportunity to segment your content for the right audience.
- Company Page Analytics
Measure your efforts and figure out what works and what doesn’t. The Analytics page can also help you determine who your most active followers are, so you can target more people like them.
There are many ways you can use LinkedIn to grow your business network, and I recommend EVERY professional to at least update their personal page. If you can also utilize some of these other features, you’ll be on your way! Think about it like a business networking event… only it’s online!