With more than 300 million members and 187 million unique page views per month, LinkedIn is the number one social media platform for business. Granted most consider it a business-to-business network, but in fact it’s an excellent channel for small business marketing.
Interactions with current and potential customers can take place daily on LinkedIn, through Groups and Company Pages as well as Status updates.
Here are 3 tips to help you get the most out of LinkedIn for small businesses.
1. Optimize your LinkedIn presence for maximum SEO
Optimizing your LinkedIn profile and Company Page is a great search engine optimization (SEO) tool. Google and Bing index LinkedIn content.
Take a few minutes to write out key phrases that your customers would use to search for you, and then optimize your LinkedIn profile with these keywords. It will help your company rank higher in search results.
Do the same for your company’s LinkedIn Company Page. Which brings me to the next tip…
2. Build a LinkedIn Company Page for your business
While it sounds daunting, building a LinkedIn Company page is pretty straight forward. You can cut and paste relevant information from your website and add it to the company page. No need for special web development.
Use your LinkedIn Company Page as an online brochure. Take the time to create a Showcase Page for each of your products or services (a relatively new feature). Include relevant links back to your business’ website.
LinkedIn Company Pages can be followed and the new Showcase Pages can be liked and shared - another way to promote your business just like on Facebook.
Promote your LinkedIn Company page by adding the link to the bottom of company emails, on your website and even on your invoices to customers.
3. Join LinkedIn Groups and interact with your target audience.
Many small business owners who are using LinkedIn often join groups where they know other business owners. Change that orientation and join groups where you customers live! Think of a LinkedIn group like an online chamber of commerce meeting. Interact with members, comment on discussions, and that way you can promote your own business without marketing – a practice that is frowned upon by LinkedIn group managers.
The value proposition change here is that social media is about community – not selling. Find ways to help the community, interact with it and be a resource. Then the business will come!
Change the Value Proposition
Remember, LinkedIn is about interacting with others – customers, potential customers, vendors and colleagues. Keep the “marketing” to a minimum but position yourself and your business as a resource. By changing the value proposition and asking those you connect with on LinkedIn how you can be of service, you will realize more business opportunities in the long run.
About the author
Chuck Hester is a PR/marketing consultant and LinkedIn trainer with more than 14,000 direct connections on LinkedIn. The Host/Producer of the podcast LinkedConversations, he is also the author of the book Linking In to Pay it Forward: Changing the Value Proposition in Social Media and the new book Social Media for the Rest of Us: A Boomer's Perspective. A sought after LinkedIn speaker and trainer, Chuck helps small and medium-sized businesses use the power of social media for marketing. He welcomes invitations to connect directly on LinkedIn.
Chuck Hester is the Chief Communications Officer for Big Think Innovation, a business architect consultancy that helps companies plan, grow and build their futures. He is also a LinkedIn trainer and speaker, helping businesses get the most out of LinkedIn, while teaching them how to communicate effectively. Contact him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Need help with LinkedIn? Feel free to message Chuck and ask about one-on-one and group LinkedIn Executive Training.