LinkedIn has often been thought of as a social network tailored to the needs of larger firms – especially for hiring and human resources. Conversely, Yelp has been heralded as the must-win battleground for small businesses in the war for user-generated feedback. Small business LinkedIn profiles have a specific set of strengths that set them apart from their larger scale peers.
However, LinkedIn provides opportunities for small business users as well. In a recent survey, 80% of small business owners (in this case, those with 200 or fewer employees) use social networks to find new customers and grow their revenue. The study also indicates that 41% of small businesses feel that LinkedIn provides them the most potential to generate business.
How can your small business’ LinkedIn profile make the biggest impact?
Build Vendor Relationships
How many times have you sought out the perfect vendor, designer, web professional or other contributor to your small business? LinkedIn provides the opportunity to connect with thousands of such vendors, and to mutually endorse each others’ businesses.
Show Off Your Best Work
LinkedIn offers a media-rich viewing platform that easily allows your business to embed photos, videos and other examples of the work you do best to be in full view of customers and fellow networkers alike. Also, the Products tab of a company LinkedIn page allows you to add a list of products or services your business offers, as well as events or apps that are in development. You can even show off projects that individual employees have developed.
Create Community Discussions
LinkedIn is notable for its Groups feature, which helps connect like-minded businesses and encourages the exchange of ideas and the promotion of thought leadership among small business users. We recently blogged about solidarity among small businesses: LinkedIn can be a fruitful platform on which to build these kinds of relationships.
Expand Your Sales
With LinkedIn’s search capabilities, small business sales teams can know exactly which companies they need to connect with, look into existing relationships that might provide an introduction, and find the right person to reach out to. It’s not only about who you know; it’s about who they know.