You’ve probably seen lots of chatter online about LinkedIn and why businesses should be using it. However, most of that advice is only applicable to big brands with even bigger budgets. It’s not designed to help small, local businesses use LinkedIn to their advantage. As a result, many small businesses end up wasting a lot of time and money on LinkedIn because they’re following the wrong advice.
That’s why we’re writing this blog post. Considering that LinkedIn for small businesses is not a crucial tool, we don’t typically push our clients towards it. However, we’re happy to share some pointers for those of you who are interested in learning more. After all, it won’t hurt you and may, in fact, help. The more you put yourself out there, the more visible you become.
So if you’re eager to test the waters of LinkedIn for small businesses, here’s what you need to know.
1. Join a Local Community Group
Find and join a LinkedIn group that’s dedicated to local issues, interests, and events. Then, make it a point to participate constructively in group discussions every so often. By demonstrating your involvement in the community, you’ll make a good impression on other members. Hopefully, when one of these members needs your services in the future, they’ll remember your business from your previous activity within the group.
2. Join a Trade Group
Similarly, find and join a handful of groups that are specific to your trade or industry. People in these groups often discuss best practices, ask for help, and share handy tips. By interacting with your peers in these groups, you might just glean some insights that can help you with your own business.
3. Share Original Blog Posts
One of the major benefits of getting into a blog habit is that you’re able to demonstrate your knowledge and authority on a given subject. LinkedIn is a great platform for sharing these blog posts—not because prospective customers will see them, but because other business owners will. These business owners might enjoy what you wrote and share it themselves on Facebook. In turn, this could attract more visitors to your blog and website. You’ll see a nice SEO boost—and perhaps even an elevated reputation—as a result.
4. Don’t Waste Money on Ads
LinkedIn for small businesses is useful for building relationships and gathering information. However, it’s not useful for advertising. LinkedIn’s users are simply not as active as Facebook’s or even Twitter’s. Of LinkedIn’s 467 million members, only about 25% are considered active, monthly users. On top of that, most of those active users are using LinkedIn for professional networking in fields like IT, sales, marketing, and finance—meaning, they’re not necessarily paying attention to ads about local service providers. Therefore, you’re better off spending money on Facebook ads because your target customers are likely much more active and engaged on Facebook.
So, bottom line? Treat LinkedIn for small businesses the same way your kids treat extra-credit projects at school. It’s only worth doing if you’re going to do it right. Otherwise, you’ll get no extra points and you’ll have wasted your time. Use these tips so your LinkedIn efforts aren’t for naught!