This is part 9 of a 16 part series, “Mastering LinkedIn For Business“
While large, global brands certainly use LinkedIn to drive business, many small businesses are also using the platform to generate leads, make business connections and build follower communities around their products and services. To get the most from LinkedIn, small businesses should get started by focusing on a few core strategies and tools.
How Can Small Businesses Get the Most from LinkedIn?
Spend a little time on LinkedIn, and no doubt you’ll see plenty of large, global brands using the social network to drive aspects of their business. You’ll find recommendation ads from car companies like Volkswagen and user communities built around technology giants like IBM, Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard. But small business owners need to know and understand that LinkedIn is not exclusively for big brands.
Many small businesses are already using LinkedIn to generate leads, make business connections, and build follower communities around their products and services, according to Lana Khavinson, Group Product Marketing Manager at LinkedIn. These small businesses are discovering that the platform can help them create experiences that go way beyond the profile page and connect with the right audience in thoughtful ways.With so many options for engaging potential clients and customers, small business owners need to focus on the core strategies and tools to get the most from LinkedIn.
On the strategic side, small businesses need to set clear goals, target the right audiences, and develop and share content that expands their reach and builds relationships. As you develop these goals and strategies, make sure you take a moment to think about what kinds of people are using LinkedIn, and what brings them to the network.
What sets LinkedIn apart from many other online social networks is its professional focus: People go to the site looking for ways to educate themselves and opportunities to further their careers and advance their professional lives.
While other social media platforms tend to focus on personal life and activities, LinkedIn’s users are generally more open to making useful connections and learning about business opportunities. As a small business owner, you can use LinkedIn as a place to promote yourself, your company and what you have to offer.
In terms of practices, Khavinson recommends that small business owners start by focusing on learning (and eventually mastering) these two tools.
- Company pages: For any business, creating a company page is a great starting point for building a presence on LinkedIn. This page is free to create, and it acts as an information hub where LinkedIn users can visit and learn more about your company. A well-planned and executed company page is also a great way to build a community of followers around your brand, making it easy to engage with that community regularly so that these users are always keeping your business in mind.
- Sponsored updates: Once you create a company page for your business, it’s easy to use LinkedIn’s sponsored updates to extend your reach, build brand awareness and generate leads for prospective clients and customers. For example, if the key demographic your business needs to reach is financial services executives, you can sponsor a company update targeted to this exact demographic. This tool ensures that your company is providing relevant content to the right audience, when they are in the right mindset for doing business.
While large companies and global brands often use LinkedIn to drive business, small business owners also have much to gain from using the platform, which makes it easy to engage with more than 200 million users, making connections and identifying business opportunities. By focusing on core strategies and tools, such as setting up company pages and using sponsored updates, small businesses can get the most from LinkedIn.