Today’s business professionals are all on LinkedIn. In fact, the “jobs, business news, and social networking” site has 675 million monthly users. There are also 30 million companies using the professional social networking site. So why does it feel like LinkedIn doesn’t matter to small businesses?
The truth is that small business may never put any effort into LinkedIn, and those companies would be missing out on a variety of tools that connect both B2C and B2B audiences. You also don’t have to pay to become a savvy LinkedIn business user.
In this guide, we’ll show you some of the ways to optimize your LinkedIn page and start using the tools that have helped many small businesses grow their customer base and hire highly-talented and qualified employees.
How to Use LinkedIn for Small Business
Our step-by-step guide goes over all the important tools you should be using with LinkedIn as well as how to optimize your profile, InMail messages, and more.
1. Optimize Your LinkedIn Company Page
Every business entity has a company page on LinkedIn. It’s the perfect citation for SEO. You can include all of your company information, news, events, and updated posts in one place. If people search for your brand, it’s likely that your LinkedIn company profile will show up on the first page of results.
First, create your LinkedIn company page and fully complete all fields, adding your logo, description, locations, address, phone number, company size, and anything else that’s relevant.
- Tip: Use relevant keywords in your company description to capture search queries
Once you’re finished completing your page, you should share it with pride and let everyone know that you’ve built out a profile so they can follow and like it. If you have any connections on your personal LinkedIn page, invite them to like the page as well.
- Tip: You should also update and enhance your personal profile by streamlining all your information, adding a profile description, and joining groups related to your niche.
Lastly, make sure that your company page has new posts and updated content. This could be news about your company or its products, as well as industry news or events coming up. However, make sure that your content will be innovative and interesting to industry influencers.
2. Check Your Connections to Find B2B Leads
Small business owners should have a couple of profiles dedicated to finding new leads. This could be your own professional profile or those of your sales team. You can use connections to find new leads and identify common interests.
Once you find a connection, you can message a prospect and mention your shared contact, as well as interests. LinkedIn calls this social selling, and it’s working for small business owners. One study found that social selling results in 45% more sales opportunities.
- Tip: Import your email address book or company contacts into LinkedIn under the “My Network” tab. This should give you a great starting point for sharing your company page and connecting with those who already know about your company’s greatness.
3. Build a LinkedIn Marketing Strategy
Nothing really gets done unless you have a strategy and goals. With a newly optimized company page and plenty of new connections, it’s time to start achieving those goals through LinkedIn.
Here are some of the ways that LinkedIn is useful for small businesses:
- Hiring talented, highly-qualified employees
- Social selling (especially for B2B products)
- Connecting with executives, influencers, and other industry leaders
- Advertising to LinkedIn’s professional base (includes employee, title, and company targeting)
To market your business professionally on LinkedIn, you’ll want to study audience demographics on LinkedIn and create a content calendar to begin posting. With every post, make sure you include rich media, such as an image or video (captures more attention and leads to more views).
- Tip: Avoid stock images and bland imagery. It won’t increase your engagement, and they’ve probably seen it before. You can use Canva or Photoshop to enhance images and personalize purchased stock images to increase your engagement.
4. Understand LinkedIn’s Algorithm
As you start posting more, you’ll see that content doesn’t flow on your timeline based on when it was posted. The algorithm chooses to rank posts based on the following:
- Personal connections
- Interest relevance
- Engagement probability
LinkedIn basically tries to only show content to people who will be interested and likely engage with the post. You can also notify your connections and employees when you post something to increase engagement.
5. Send InMail Messages the Right Way
If you want to use LinkedIn for “cold selling,” then you’ll need to make a lot of connections and personalize your messages for each contact. While you may want to create a general “message template,” you should always include the name and a personal anecdote at the beginning of these messages to draw in the attention of your contact.
Here are some more tips to send messages on LinkedIn to potential prospects:
- Know how often to post on social media. Send messages at the right time. Weekday mornings are best, avoid Mondays, Fridays, and weekends if possible.
- Look for contacts who already follow your company or have connections to someone at your company.
- Don’t write long InMail messages, keep it short, personable, and honest.
- Make use of the subject line and mention something about the person’s profile, such as their title, niche, or name.
- Use CTAs like “chat, call, Zoom, or talk” to make it real and lively.
- Remember that people like to buy what matters to them and their bottom line, and they don’t like to be sold to.
If you point out the commonalities and show the recipient that you’ve done your homework, they’ll likely be more interested in doing business with you.
Learning How to Use LinkedIn for Small Business
The process of updating your company page and profile takes the least amount of time. You'll spend the rest of the time winning over prospects in messages and setting up content to post that will intrigue your LinkedIn followers.
Need help with your B2B marketing strategy on LinkedIn? If so, be sure the e marketing company you select can help you with lead generation and content writing to assure your LinkedIn strategy delivers a good ROI for your marketing dollars.