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LinkedIn for SME Owners – Part One

As a small to medium business owner, you’re probably aware of the power of social media when advertising your business in order to increase turnover and grow your business.  Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. – they are all platforms on which you can create a business page or profile in order to connect with customers and potential customers to drive more traffic to your business website.  However, did you know that LinkedIn also has plenty of potential power for the small business owner to increase lead generation? 

Many people think of LinkedIn as the social network for finding employment opportunities or, if you’re a business owner, for finding and hiring new staff.  Business owners often believe that LinkedIn is not the place to be – after all, they’re not looking for a job or seeking promotion, they are already directors of their own business.  However, creating a company profile on LinkedIn can bring surprising benefits for business owners nowadays.

There are two main differences between business owners and other LinkedIn users:

1.     Business owners are looking for customers, not jobs

2.     Business owners often have more diverse professional experience than the average employee.

Having a LinkedIn profile for yourself will help to bring you to the attention of potential customers or clients, employees and industry partners – they will be able to contact you easily via LinkedIn messages.  The more details that you include on your profile, the easier it will be found by search engines so make sure that your profile summary is complete and include a professional quality photo of yourself to foster trust and credibility.

Share content via LinkedIn status updates in order to start conversations with others in your network and showcase your unique knowledge.  This will promote you as an expert and though leader in your field and, eventually, reflect positively on your company profile.  When listing your skills and expertise, concentrate on those things that your company gets paid for as too many skills can be distracting – as a general rule, there should be 10 or fewer skills listed on your profile.

When it comes to the past experience section of your LinkedIn profile, tailor the experience to your current business.  Don’t list businesses or jobs that have little or nothing to do with your current company.  Stick with the accomplishments and metrics that are important to your present business or you could risk confusing prospective clients.

Join LinkedIn groups that are relevant to your business and start answering questions and responding to comments and posts – this is sure to get you noticed.  Remember, that despite being a   professional site, LinkedIn is a social site too but very different than Facebook or Twitter.  You need to establish yourself as the human face of your business and participating in group conversations is an effective way of doing this.  For many small business owners, becoming recognised as an expert in our field can have a positive impact not just on your sales, but on the quality of your clients as well.

 

Next week, we’ll have some advice on how to make a great company profile on LinkedIn so that you can leverage the power of both your personal and company profile to benefit your business.