Smart small business owners know that to stay in the game, they need to have a social media presence. But where to start? Most, if not all, businesses should strongly consider LinkedIn. Here are five scenarios, to help you see why LinkedIn is the platform worth pursuing, and how you can benefit from being part of it.
1. You Employ 1-50 People. LinkedIn distinguishes companies by many factors, not the least of which is size. As a company presence on LinkedIn, your small business will likely fall into one of two categories: 1-10 employees or 11-50 employees. The former category hosts the largest number of small businesses, with 854,000 accounts.
Don’t get discouraged by the “competition,” though. Users will be able to discover your company using LinkedIn’s advanced search tool, which enables users to narrow results by keyword, location, industry and company size, among other metrics.
With that kind of specificity, your business can’t afford to not be on LinkedIn. After all, people are probably already searching for you, or at least for similar companies. It's an opportunity for visibility that otherwise goes to waste.
2. You Have Something to Say. As a business, your first instinct is to create the obligatory accounts on Twitter and Facebook. That’s important, but consider LinkedIn another of those necessary, rewarding social presences.
Share content on LinkedIn by creating updates and company announcements natively on the platform. You can include links to external Websites, images and YouTube videos. Once shared, your update will post to the activity feed on your company overview page and to the homepages of LinkedIn members who follow your company.
You can also opt to share blog posts within a widget that lives on your company page. These updates live separately from the aforementioned announcements because they refresh automatically as your blog updates, and will not post to your followers' homepages.
Like many other social platforms, LinkedIn users and the network itself discourage update spam. That means you shouldn't overload your followers with excessive, self-promotional content–you'll lose followers fast.
3. You’re Hiring. LinkedIn is a network for job seekers and professionals. Thus, it makes sense that you would use it to post your latest job openings, whether they're full-time positions, consultant opportunities or freelance projects.
It’s also a great excuse to open a LinkedIn account if you haven’t done so already. You’ll draw more interest to your page with updates, such as job openings, press announcements and general company news.
You may post an available job to LinkedIn for $295 for a 30-day period. Once posted, these jobs will not only appear in search results, but also in the “Careers” tab on your company page.
4. You Need Advice. This applies for both personal and company accounts on LinkedIn. The network is a valuable resource for people who seek tips and resources to support their professional endeavors.
Before signing up for a company account, browse the company pages of similar businesses to see how the moderators manage the content and direct the conversation. Learn what type of content shares well, whether it’s blog posts, company announcements or sexy images.
If you have a personal account, find groups that speak to your industry (e.g. Women in New Media or Developer & Technology Professionals) and ask for advice from fellow users on how to create a strategic company presence on LinkedIn.
5. You’re a Non-Profit. Your charity or service organization most definitely has a place within a professional network. In fact, non-profits may enjoy more benefits on LinkedIn than regular companies and, in fact, LinkedIn encourages it.
As a non-profit, you may choose to either create a LinkedIn company page, a group or both. Determine how invested you want to become in the platform, and then create your presence around your goals.
A company page, like charity: water's, is useful for general information, updates, events and job offerings surrounding an organization. But a LinkedIn group page can host richer discussion and engagement, though it requires moderation and management to guide the direction of the group. You may appoint more than one person for the job, but keep in mind that you’ll need to put in some work to make a group truly valuable for your non-profit’s supporters.
Whether for personal or business purposes, how do you use LinkedIn to build your professional network and skills? Share your experiences and tips in the comments.
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