LinkedIn has experienced strong and steady growth over the past several years and is now home to over 12 million business profiles. It is the ideal site for small business owners as you can network with both professionals and consumers. For specific ways it can improve your company, read through these ten LinkedIn benefits:
1. Use blog content to establish yourself as an expert in your industry
If you’re already making a name for yourself with great blog or Twitter content, make sure you provide a link to your postings on your LinkedIn profile. Unique content will show potential customers and peers that you are on the cutting edge and will quickly earn you recognition as an expert in your field.
2. Appeal to new customers by posting recommendations
Consumers trust companies with a history of satisfied clients and LinkedIn makes it easy to publicize such information. When you have an especially satisfied customer, ask them to write you a brief referral that you can post on LinkedIn. This will prove you as a professional and is a great way to acquire new sales.
3. Keep an eye on the competition
There are over 150,000 profiles on LinkedIn, which provides an invaluable resource for checking up on your competitors. Scour through public profile pages to see company statistics, new hire info, and overall trends within the industry. You may even uncover valuable future employees.
4. Find like-minded individuals
Sometimes it can feel as if your site postings get lost in the blogosphere, but with LinkedIn you know you are connecting with people who truly care about your business. You can use the site to join niche groups, stay in touch with talented professionals, and keep your finger on the pulse of what’s happening in your industry.
Perhaps, the most basic (yet worthwhile) advantage of LinkedIn is networking with other businesspeople. Look for colleagues who are willing to participate in a mutually beneficial relationship (referrals for referrals) to quickly boost your clientele.
6. Find subcontractors and outsource tasks
LinkedIn provides your small business with a wealth of industry-related connections. If there are certain aspects of your work such as web design or writing that you’d rather sub out to others, use your online connections to find trustworthy vendors; many are willing to trade services, which is a great way to save money.
7. Find advisors and investors
No matter your line of work, LinkedIn is full of successful business people who are already “masters” in your field. You can form relationships with these folks, ask for advice, and, if you are able to impress, possibly earn some investment money.
8. Join “groups” to stay current and find associations
On LinkedIn there are multiple groups for virtually every type of business. By joining a group you can receive newsfeeds, learn of important events (online and “real” world), network with colleagues, and stay current with the competition. Overall, these groups provide a ton of insider information that you just can’t find anywhere else.
9. Show off your knowledge
With the Answers tool, you can help others by answering business-related questions. Again, this will give the impression that you are an expert and earn respect and favors from your peers. Consumers who search through the Answers forum will also come across your postings and likely trust you with their purchases.
10. Find some answers for yourself
In addition to sharing your expertise, you can also use the Answers feature to help find solutions to your own business questions. Having the resource of other’s experience can often save you a great deal of wasted time and trial and error.
Maintaining an active profile on LinkedIn will help keep you at the top of your game and provide you with the platform to reach out to people well beyond your local community. Ultimately, these benefits will make you a better businessperson and improve your sales.