Many small business owners are just starting to dabble in Social Networking. When they decide it is time to start with Social Networking, they will often create a Twitter or Facebook account, however; many ignore the huge potential of LinkedIn.
Some people view LinkedIn as a place to post your resume when you are looking for a job. Although many recruiters and Human Resource professionals use LinkedIn to find qualified candidates, LinkedIn is an amazing tool for B2B (business-to-business) networking.
As a small business owner, I am always looking to expand my networking capabilities. I have found LinkedIn to be an indispensable and stable tool. A portion of my client base has come directly from the relationships I have created through LinkedIn.
Here are a few tips for how you can increase your presence and find clients/customers on LinkedIn.
1. Create an engaging LinkedIn profile
Not only do you need to actually create a 100% complete profile, but you need to make sure it is engaging. Below are some quick tips for creating an engaging profile:
- Upload a professional, yet welcoming picture. You should be the only person in the photo and the photo should not be your company logo.
- Craft an engaging, descriptive headline that includes keywords. This is one of the most valuable areas of “real estate” on LinkedIn, so be sure to utilize it!
- Be sure to add links for your company website, your Twitter account, your Facebook page and your blog. (Even better – use one of the applications to embed your blog into your profile!) For your website links, use the “Other” category in the drop down list to name your websites.
- Write a short, yet compelling description of what you do. Be sure to include keywords in your bio.
- Ask for recommendations. Try to have recommendations for both your current and past positions.
All of the time you invest in creating your profile will pay off in the long run.
2. Invite Connections
Look through your e-mail address book and that stack of business cards sitting on your desk. Invite people to connect with you on LinkedIn. When sending an invitation to connect, do not use the “canned” invitation the LinkedIn provides. Write a personal note on the invitation, reminding the person of how they know you or where they met you. Be sure to connect with people in your target market too! Although it is great to connect with old colleagues, it is essential to remember that LinkedIn is a networking tool.
This is probably one of the most important things you need to do on LinkedIn! So many people create a profile and then just wait for someone to find them.
Engage in conversation whether it is through groups you join or by posting questions and answers. The Q & A section is one of the most powerful areas with this network! You can become the “go-to” person, the expert, based on your responses to questions. Be sure you are monitoring questions within your target audience or your target keywords. If you need help, then feel free to post a question yourself! You will be amazed at the quality of the responses you receive.
LinkedIn is a powerful networking tool for Small Business. In future posts, I will discuss additional ways to utilize LinkedIn for your business. In the meantime, start working on that profile! Feel free to contact me with any questions or connect with me on LinkedIn!
Here’s to your continued success!