As of August 2011, LinkedIn has more than 120 million members in over 200 countries and territories. In this blog I have looked at 10 areas to focus on when using LinkedIn for small business. Most of the tips are related to your personal profile as a small business owner, however I have included a few tips to enhance the often overlooked small business company profile.
1. Add websites to your profile
Apart from the obvious reason, which is to provide your connections with access to your company website and blog, this will also help boost your search engine rankings. LinkedIn does provide options such as “company website” and “blog”, but select “other” so can you provide your own description.
2. Integration with Twitter and Facebook
Depending on the type of business, your social media marketing strategy will use a combination of LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. LinkedIn allows you to add your twitter accounts to your profile. By connecting Twitter, your tweets will be posted to LinkedIn as well. You should also connect Twitter and Facebook so the information you share on twitter will also show up on Facebook.
3. Update and promote your public profile
LinkedIn allows you to create a “public profile” which appears when people search for you on Google, Yahoo!, Bing, etc. The public profile is visible via a public URL (even if you are not logged into LinkedIn). You should customize this URL instead of the default of www.linkedin.com/pub/firstname-lastname/40/a55/360. Your customized URL will take the form www.linkedin.com/in/yourname which is easier to remember, can easily be added to email signatures and your website in order to promote your public profile.
4. Add applications
Add relevant applications in order to share content and activity on your profile. Blog Link, Reading List by Amazon and Portfolio Display are some of the apps that I have found useful.
Get recommendations for your profiles as well as for products/services on your company profile. LinkedIn provides a “request recommendations” option where you can request recommendations from your network. You should also give recommendations to colleagues and business partners and more often than not they will return the favor.
6. Demonstrate your expertise
Join LinkedIn groups related to your line of work, participate and initiate discussions, answer and ask questions, and promote your blog. The more relevant and useful content you share, the more you will be recognized as an expert in your field.
7. Paid advertising on LinkedIn
Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising also available in LinkedIn. If you have advertised on Google and Facebook, the concept and process is very similar. What sets LinkedIn apart is the ability to do some very specific targeting based on industry, job function, company size etc.
8. Create a company profile
This is very easy to do and provides your connections with basic information about your company directly from your profile. From here potential customers, employees and business partners can drill down and look at company details, products and services, job openings and navigate to your company website. In order to create a company profile click on the “Companies” section and select “add a company”. From here you will be allowed to add the information mentioned above. Certain requirements need to be met in order to add a company profile which can be found here – https://help.linkedin.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/1594.
9. Get your employees on LinkedIn
Visitors to you company profile will be able to see who works for you and their expertise, which in turn will highlight your companies experience and capabilities.
10. Add products and services
Add products and services to your company profile to show potential customers what you offer. Request recommendations from current and past customers on your products/services. This is a great way to enhance credibility and attract new customers. Don’t forget to include a link to the relevant product/service page on your company website. This will give customers more information (as you can’t put everything on LinkedIn) and the SEO benefits mentioned in point #1 applies here too.
Hope the above tips on using LinkedIn for small business owners were helpful. Please share your thoughts, comments, questions and any other tips that have worked for you.