Social media is quickly changing the way people do business. Ads on Facebook, contests on Twitter, and countless blogs have become the new way to advertise. LinkedIn, a social networking website for professionals, is another platform where small businesses can find growth. Using this tool can help start-ups form strategic partnerships, find new business, gain advice, and advertise their services. Here are 5 simple tips for how you can use LinkedIn to grow your business.#1 - Word of Mouth: Better than an Ad In this day and age, a few bad reviews can topple an empire. On the flip side, good reviews from satisfied customers will attract new ones very quickly. Word of mouth advertising can be just as effective – while less costly – than a commercial or newspaper ad. If you can ask customers to leave recommendations for you and your business, this will be published on your LinkedIn profile and broadcasted through their networks. The average person has more than 500 people on his or her LinkedIn network. Imagine having good reviews about your brand being read by all those people. #2 - Touching Base with Your Company’s Supporters LinkedIn’s strength lies in its social media aspect. Using its tools and features can keep you in touch with people who care the most about your business. You can keep your customer base abreast on all your company’s announcements, events, and promotions. As LinkedIn isn’t as cluttered as Facebook or Twitter, you can stay ahead of the SPAM and ads. However, to make the most out of the social media side of LinkedIn, be sure to fill up your profile completely and update it regularly.
#3 - Network Like Mad: Forming Strategic Partnerships LinkedIn can also help you form relationships with partners, especially those who are experts in their own fields. You will be able to find the right web developer, photographer, content writer, SEO expert, and several others using your network of peers. Not only that, you also have the chance to trade services and create a mutual referral program of sorts. You can also find people who you can partner up with to grow both businesses together. For example, a real estate agent could network with mortgage brokers to exchange referrals and generate repeat business. Peer networks can help you expand your business, and you can help them expand theirs. It’s a win-win situation for the small business community. You can also use LinkedIn to grow your industry network, both on and offline. There are a multitude of groups on the site that connect like-minded businesses. LinkedIn can also notify you of ongoing events and gatherings in your field. Many small businesses can grow weary of attending gatherings without any leads in sight. Don’t worry about this, as LinkedIn can show which of your potential clients are attending these events. #4 - Keep Your Competition in Sight The saying “Keep your friends close, but your enemies even closer” is popular for a reason. At LinkedIn, you will be able to find profiles of over 150,000 companies and businesses. You’re sure to be able to scope out the competition, see what they are offering, and strategize different ways to win over their clientele. You can also use this information to find out what works for them and see if a similar (or different) plan would work for you. #5 - Give and Receive Business Advice Confused by tax deductions and payroll issues? You can use LinkedIn to find answers to your business problems. Being a small business owner can sometimes mean figuring out solutions as you go along. You can tap into the collective intelligence of your network to find answers to questions you might have about running your business. There are over 2000 groups on small business-related topics on LinkedIn, so you’re sure to find what you need. There is also merit to offering up some advice yourself. If you find a topic you are an expert in or have experience dealing with, then go ahead and put your two cents in. Good karma is always good business. This is also a great way to find potential customers. People looking to find the answers to certain questions on LinkedIn can find your answers via the Advanced Answers search. There, they will be able to see how much you know about your field and how wide your expertise is. Doing this allows you to soft pitch your skills and knowledge to a wide range of people. After that, it’s up to you to follow through.
A Final Thought For entrepreneurs in Michigan, using LinkedIn for small business growth is a great and inexpensive way to help make your business a cut above the competition. Don’t let the opportunity pass you by. If you would like to learn more stop by our website, Facebook fan page, or Twitter feed. You can also find us active in many LinkedIn groups.