Claiming a community of 30 million, Linkedin.com is a social network for professionals offering small business owners vast potential for increasing their bottom line whether they have national, regional or local customers. Here are some straightforward and some “more clever” ways you can tap into that 30 million users to get real results for free.
- Make a More Personal Connection: Don’t just offer your Linkedin connection to colleagues and peers. Offering a connection to everyone from customers to clients and venders is a great idea! Doing so shows customers you are online, and more importantly, it’s a meaningful gesture sure to give you an edge on the competition who is probably not engaging customers in the same way. Remember, and this relates to your business too, at a restaurant everyone wants to know the owner!
- Make a Great Impression and Improve Your Image: Once you have a Linkedin profile, encourage customers, clients and venders to give you a “Linkedin” recommendation. Here’s why: If I’m looking for a home builder and I Google “custom + homes + your area” your Linkedin.com profile will help you appear toward the top of that search. If I Google your name, there is an even better chance you will be at the top of that search where I can be very impressed by: your many flattering customer recommendations, your well defined business description, expert answers you’ve provided to Linkedin questions (see next tip) and direct links I am now presented with to your website.
- Answer Linkedin questions: Regardless of what your business does this will build your brand and promote it in the Linkedin community. One could argue that this is particularly relevant for B2B and national services, but certainly anyone can benefit. By answering questions related to your product, brand or service you are placing your name in front of a large attentive audience and effectively soft selling your services to potential customers! You can also directly offer your services to “question askers” but be sure that your “answer” is actually helpful to the asker or you will be doing yourself a PR dis-service.
- Keep Track of important and “not so important” contacts: By connecting to practically everyone you meet via Linkedin you will build yourself a “one stop shop” for keeping track of customers, clients or whomever. You don’t have to keep up with them because as they update their own information it will be available to you. When that time comes for you to make some quick cold calls, reach out for a favor, check in on a customer who hasn’t been by in a while, or quickly push excess product, their information will be sitting there waiting for you!
- Test Your Ideas: Join a Marketing group and utilize the “start a discussion” feature to act as a focus group for your marketing materials to test new ideas you have for expanding your business before you take the leap. You will be putting your ideas in front of a large well spoken community of professionals, many of whom are upper level executives and creative types in large agencies who you may otherwise never be able to connect!
- Connect with other Small Biz Owners: By Joining a Small Business Group you will find many small businesses owners and other small business resources readily available to you. Some of these will be local to you and some won’t but having the wide and diverse group will serve you well.
You may also be interested in:
Chris Brogan’s Elements of a Good LinkedIn Recommendation
LinkedIN’s blog http://blog.linkedin.com/.
Guy Kawasaki’s 10 ways to use LinkedIN
To view my Linkedin profile visit: www.Linkedin.com/in/richardbouchez If you found this, or any of our articles useful, Linkedin recommendations are greatly appreciated! For help marketing your business or to learn more about me click here.