|Dave Pelland has extensive experience covering the business use of technology, networking and communications tools by companies of all sizes. Dave's editorial and corporate experience includes more than 10 years editing an electronic technology and communications industry newsletter for a global professional services firm.|
Promoting Your Small Business on LinkedIn
While the popularity of some social networks and messaging tools ebbs and flows over time, LinkedIn has remained a consistently important and helpful platform for small business owners to promote their companies, form relationships and expand their customer base.
Making and improving connections is at the heart of LinkedIn, and the platform offers a variety of tools and services to help small business owners build relationships with potential customers and industry colleagues, share expertise, network, and promote their companies.
As small business owners begin or expand their LinkedIn marketing efforts, it’s helpful to understand LinkedIn is not a strong platform for making sales directly. A prospective customer is unlikely to place a larger order based on your company’s profile page alone, but LinkedIn can be an effective way to build relationships that lead to conversations that, in turn, lead to sales.
The platform is also a great way to expand your network by seeking introductions from your existing customers and connections. If one of your connections is connected with someone you’d like to know or do business with, asking them to make an introduction can be a helpful first step in building a strong relationship.
Another helpful strategy is checking for first- or second-degree connections in a specific city before a business trip or industry conference. Reaching out to connections before a trip can lead to an informal in-person meeting that can create opportunities.
The heart of your LinkedIn efforts will likely revolve around your company’s profile page. In addition to basic details such as your company name, location, website, contact details, industry, products and services, and other information, you should develop a brief description of who you are, and what you do, for the page’s Profile section.
Try to keep this section brief and clear, and be sure to use relevant keywords people are likely to use to search for the kinds of products and services you offer.
You’ll also use this page to link to your company’s blog or other updates, and you can also upload images, videos, slide decks or other examples of the types of work your company does.
You can also share updates, such as links to industry news articles or blog posts you find interesting, to your LinkedIn connections and followers. Including relevant links with some comments helps you demonstrate your industry knowledge and involvement.
Another great place for small business owners to make or deepen their connections is the discussions taking place in LinkedIn’s groups. You’ll find a variety of groups for small business owners in general, your industry niche, your city or state, any professional or civic organizations you may belong to, or other potential affiliations.
LinkedIn groups provide an effective forum for asking and answering questions from colleagues or potential customers, discussing industry trends or establishing relationships. Much like an in-person networking event, groups let you get to know people, and share your expertise, without a lot of the name-calling or irrelevant content found in many online discussion forums.
Finding Team Members
Linkedin can also be an effective platform for recruiting qualified job applicants. By listing open positions on the site, you can attract applicants, and review their profiles and connections to learn more about them in ways a traditional resume is unlikely to offer.
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