Linkedin and the best way to use it for small businesses

Linkedin is a professional networking website. Almost all those looking for a professional network are up and active on the site, so you might wonder how will it help small businesses or personal brand? Then there are many who believe Linkedin is to make the next job move or know what’s happening in your industry. How can a bunch of job seekers help you build your brand? While all this is true to a large extent, Linkedin is a solid network that should not be ignored, if you really wish to create a brand for yourself.

I never advocate that a brand or a business should be present on all kinds of network. If you are a local business that deals in products that can be delivered only within a limited area, then this might not help you in direct brand building or business establishment, however it will offer you allied support.

Linkedin for personal branding

Linkedin is a great platform if you wish to build your brand in front of serious people from your business. Linkedin is not a marketplace, so if you plan to post buy x,y,z today at abc price every day, it will not work your way. If you think, you can copy paste some quote daily to find visibility that too will not be rewarded.

Linkedin has established itself in a unique niche where the keywords are business, visibility, networking and branding.

How to use Linkedin for small businesses

Build your brand

Just like Facebook, Linkedin too allows you to create company pages. These pages are different from your personal profile. Build your page, all you need is a verified email id and a Linkedin account. Fill in the details like About Us, logo, profile etc. Next step is to attract followers. First send out a post on your personal profile. Next add follow buttons on your website, email, newsletter etc. Once the page is ready, be sure to post regularly and keep the page updated.

As a business, you can even share your employee perspective or allow a few employees to post too. However be sure to have an agreement signed with the employees in relation to the scope of posts and permissions required to avoid any legal implications later.

Find the right people

Linkedin also helps you find the right people. As I said earlier Linkedin is not just a platform to sell your wares or quick contverting customers. This platform is known to have given results for businesses that are B2B, so if you are a B2B business you shouldn’t miss being on this platform. Apart from prospective clients, this is a great place to find peers or great talent. This can also pave way for collaborations that can be mutually beneficial.

Customers –  As a business, you can connect with prospective customers by sending an email through Linkedin. You can search based on your skills, or specializations. As there are options to see job listings, if you offer some special skills as a freelancer or consultant, you can connect with these companies to see if they are looking for freelancers or consultants. If you are a small business, you can check with your industry customers about their requirement.

Peers – Linkedin is a great place to see what your peers are doing. Understanding the current trends, voicing your opinions and even understanding their position. Apart from following influencers in your field, you can join communities to see the latest discussion around a certain topic. Please do not go about trying to sell your latest offering as more often than not such behavior is frowned upon.

Team – If you are a start-up, then Linkedin is a great place to find employees or freelancers. As this is primarily a professional network, all the members have their updated profile and resume. Finding consultants, members or even freelancers here is a great idea as a lot of noise is filtered away. You can directly see the individual profile based on your requirements.

Tips to maximize Linkedin benefits

Grow your knowledge

Linkedin is also a great place to grow your knowledge. All the fields today are dynamic and as a start-up or small business you might be wearing many hats. You might not have all the knowledge that is necessary and hence Linkedin is a great place to learn new skills and update your profile.

Learn with Linkedin

Linkedin bought Lynda.com in around 2015. It was a surprise move and not many were convinced how Linkedin would utilize it. In 2018 Linkedin has created a unique offering where you can learn and update your skills on Linkedin itself. This is a brilliant way to provide the complete eco-system of learning and implementing the knowledge in one place. Small businesses and personal brands should make use of this offering. Not everyone knows everything about running a business. Linkedin will help you upgrade your skills and understand how to use it.

Seek Mentors

Linkedin also is a great place to seek some advice and look for mentors. As a small business you might need industry relevant advice when it comes to finance or investment related matters. Also at times, there is a fear of biting more than you can chew or the whole unsure attitude of ‘Am I even correct in doing this’ attitude. Mentorship is necessary in such situations and can certainly help you come up with good decisions.

Use Linkedin Communities

Linkedin communities are similar to Facebook communities, but here people are looking for knowledge, experience or trends. Do not go around selling your latest book or product. If it will help solve a problem, certainly pitch the product or point in the right direction, but do go ahead and offer educational and important resources too as that will help build your brand as an authority figure.

Consider Linkedin Marketing

If you are a B2B business or even a personal brand, that can collaborate with bigger brands, allied industries or independent talent, then do consider Linkedin Marketing. Linkedin can help you target based on skills, industry and location so make the most of it. Identify your goal that you are trying to reach with Linkedin Marketing and define your target audience based on that.

Overall Linkedin is a great tool to reach the right audience, but it certainly isn’t lucrative for everyone. Understand your audience and your expectations from the network, align the same to get the most rewards!

Post Author: nehagpatwardhan

Neha Tambe is a freelance social media marketer, writer and influencer. Founder and Owner of nehatambe.com.

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