LinkedIn marketing for small business owners holds many opportunities.
There are so many different marketing small business ideas, but these 21 entrepreneurs shared great tips on why LinkedIn should be in the mix.
Below are 21 different ideas that even a local small business owner can implement to help drive more business. I personally love using LinkedIn and found some of these tips extremely innovative. Here are some key take-aways:
- You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression so fill out your profile well. Use language prospects will understand versus industry jargon and make sure to strategically use keywords throughout your profile.
- LinkedIn is a “social network” so be social and let people get to know you. When you connect with a new contact personalize your message for that individual. Many people don’t accept the generic LinkedIn invite.
- Build endorsements, recommendations, awards and all the other area’s out well. Be appreciative for endorsements and look at it as an opportunity to reach out and say thank you. Endorse or recommend someone daily.
- Join industry and non-industry groups. These are gold mines still untapped for local businesses.
- Don’t spam people with junk. Reach out and help people. People grow by helping other people.
Read through these 21 different ideas and see what resonates with you for your small business. All small businesses need to be using social media as part of their marketing efforts. If LinkedIn isn’t for you, consider maybe what these 15 entrepreneurs had to say about Twitter for business. If Twitter and LinkedIn aren’t in your mix, then consider one of the many other social networks. The key though is to find a medium and work it.
21 Hacks for Marketing your Small Business on LinkedIn
Bob Bentz | President | Advanced Telecom Services
LinkedIn has a cool new feature that allows you to include notes about your contacts. It will be very impressive when you are able
to mention those details a year or two later when you finally start talking about business. When I get a call from a previous contact, I bring up their profile on LinkedIn and there I have the details of our previous meetings. When I mention anecdotes like “your son must be a senior at Syracuse now, right” they are duly impressed that I’ve taken that level of interest in remembering them.
At Perfect Search Media, one way we use LinkedIn is to generate lead lists using Google Search Operators.
For example, if we identify a lead trigger as newly hired Marketing managers, we could do a simple google search to get a list of all of the recently hired marketing managers on linkedin.
The search query in Google would look like this: site: linkedin.com “marketing manager” “Present (2 months)”
Google generates a list of linkedin profiles that include the lead’s name, company, location, picture and contact information. This is a great lead generation technique for B2B business development. Think how you can use it for your business.
Kenneth Lang | Founder | Steps to Success
One of my favorite suggestions is making sure small business owners customize their invitation when they ask people to join their network. In that invitation they should include how they know the person, how their product or service can benefit them by being a part of their network and even how you hope to work with them in the future. Leaving the default message says “You’re not important enough for me to customize this to you” or worse “You sent this to 200 people and are probably going to spam my network.”
And, assuming they connect, which they usually do, I suggest a follow-up ‘thanks for connecting’ message with some call to action (meet for a cup of coffee or speaking by phone or setting up a Skype session).
Teana McDonald | President | 3E Connections
It’s not what’s in it for you.. It’s what’s in it for you both.
I don’t think enough people actively use LinkedIn for business. I make sure to endorse connections daily and reach out to at least 2-3 people a month. The connections that you make aren’t any good if you don’t capitalize on them.
My goal when making a connection is to introduce myself and discuss how we could set up a time to chat over the phone or in person. The idea is to network and see how we can help or partner with one another.
Crystal L Kendrick | President | The Voice of Your Customer
LinkedIn can be a tremendous tool for small business owners to recruit talented team members, contractors and suppliers.
To begin, small business owners can establish a company profile on LinkedIn to connect all current and former employees and share information about the organization. Small businesses can also post job opportunities on the company profile for interested persons to view and submit a resume.
Most importantly, LinkedIn now offers a feature that will send weekly updates to members that also includes employment opportunities that may be of interest to members based on keyword matches, even if the member is not currently seeking employment. These systems will expand your recruiting reach within your target audience based on keywords, location and relevant experiences.
A second option for using LinkedIn to recruit talented workers is the search functionality. By simply searching LinkedIn for specific names, titles and/or job functions and/or geographic location, small business owners can easily identify qualified candidates and common connections who may be able to provide additional information about the candidate. Small business owners can then contact the qualified candidates to advise of the open position and request that they share the information with their networks and colleagues who may be interested in applying.
A third option would be for the small business owner to post positions on the pages of LinkedIn Groups targeted to the professions or skills needed for the open position. For example, if a small business owner is seeking an IT professional, they can post the position on the pages of the LinkedIn Groups targeted to local IT groups, local groups that follow a particular computer hardware or software manufacturer, local IT alumni groups and local niche IT groups (Ethnic, Age, previous work experience).
These steps are very direct and often eliminate the need to pay for expensive job posting websites and/or search firms. Using LinkedIn can also reduce the number of calls and resumes from persons who may be over or under qualified for the position. Most importantly, these steps can also help to shorten the recruiting timeline and on-boarding process.
There are a few advanced techniques which businesses can use to grow their business by leveraging LinkedIn.
Matt Mc DerMott | Internet Marketing Strategist | | More Than SEO
First optimize the company pages products/services settings, including the embedding of YouTube videos and other multimedia. This is necessary because a company page can be found by those using the “companies” search feature within LinkedIn.
A second tip is point quality links and traffic to the URL’s of your LinkedIn company page and product/service-specific pages. Since LinkedIn is deemed to be an authority site, a company can grow its business by having its LinkedIn company page(s) rank in the search engines instead of (or along with) its main website. LinkedIn company pages can rank faster than your website and thus you can show higher in search.
Richard O’Malley | President | The O’Malley Project
I joined everything, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Foursquare and LinkedIn. Initially LinkedIn seemed to be the least effective. However, as they made improvements to the site, I added all sorts of things to my profile, reviews of my work, articles and photos from magazines, websites and blogs that published my work and interviews. These things helped me expand my network of professionals, as connections of my connections visited my page to read the articles after LinkedIn listed me in “People You May Know”.
This was the impetus for me to start a Special Events Networking Group so we can all share our articles, blogs and expertise. We now have nearly 2,000 members, who are thoroughly screened and monitored, to avoid spamming and members from other professions just looking for a sales call list. This is a forum to share ideas and expertise and make connections for vendors and planners all over the globe. It has also raised the profile of my own page because many new members want to see who is the group admin and connect with me individually.
LinkedIn has been great for me!
David Neuman | Social Media Manager | Prime Visibility
LinkedIn’s new sponsored update feature is a great way to get your message in front of the right audience.
These advertisements have been delivering a higher CTR for a bunch of our clients and allows you to tap into the same targeting parameters as standard ad units (company size, industry, title, etc.).
Plus, as LinkedIn continues to grow as more of a communication channel, businesses can simultaneously increase followers while driving awareness to their business and products.
Melih Oztalay | CEO | SmartFinds Internet Marketing
We have been using LinkedIn since 2005 for our business and find it very helpful to network not only with partners but also supporting our
relationship with our existing customers.
As far as new businesses are concerned, the idea is to maintain a presence on LinkedIn so that when prospective clients are looking for
your services they will find you. Since we work with larger companies, we find they are too busy with their jobs to spend a lot of time on LinkedIn.
Our use of LinkedIn includes:
- Personal Profiles for everyone in the company
- Our Company Page that is managed and updated daily
- Client Industry Groups in which we engage in dialogue and conversation, not just post our own information.
- Our own Industry Groups to engage, collaborate and discover what others are doing
- Client and Prospect targeting for connections
- Exporting our connections for email marketing with our newsletter
Nellie Akalp | CEO | CorpNet
I found that on LinkedIn, people connect more with myself as CEO of my company rather than my business page.
I keep both my personal and business pages active on a daily basis, but I tend to pay a bit of extra attention to my personal page since that is where I get most engagement.
I participate in groups and share tips as myself, but the information all relates back to what services my company provides. It has really worked out and in Q3 of this year, Linkedin was in the top 20 traffic sources back to my company website!
Brittany Walters-Bearden | CEO | At Large PR
I always use LinkedIn to follow up after business mixers, networking events, and any other time that I get a stack of cards.
It is not necessary to log them in my address book, because you can export email addresses, if you want to.
Mel White | VP of Marketing & Business Development | Classic Exhibits
We’re in the trade show business, specifically exhibit design and manufacturing. We work exclusively through a distributor network and don’t advertise directly to end-users. As a result (and for lack of a better term), we work at becoming thought leaders within our industry. We use our LinkedIn site to inform and engage our distributor network.
It can be as mundane as specials, new products, or more often, challenges within our industry or our company. Recently, I saw a great discussion in the Chief Marketing Officers group (CMO) about “tradeshow tips.” There was very little chance that tradeshow folks would see this discussion so I copy and pasted some of the best tips into a blog post, then posted the blog in various trade show LinkedIn groups. This lead to traffic to our blog, our LinkedIn group, and to the original LinkedIn group.
In addition, my partner and I comment judiciously on discussions in trade show groups, avoiding contentious ones whenever possible. It doesn’t lead directly to sales, but it does assist with visibility. Last summer, I attended an industry event, where I probably knew 10% of those who attended. But, everyday I would meet someone who would say, “Mel White? Yes, I know you. I see your discussions and comments in LinkedIn. Great stuff.
Tiffany McDonald | SEO Rock Star | Tiffany McDonald Inc.
One of the most valuable things I did to my Linkedin profile was to optimize it for local search terms in my industry. By being thorough with my work experiences, I am able to come up fairly easily for a number of terms within my industry which creates inbound leads for me. These leads are often really warm because they sought me out.
Oh, and one other tip: I try to write in a conversational manner so people will actually read what I write. You don’t get the same level of engagement on Linkedin but I do find a lot of people still reference the information I am putting out on there when I speak to them in person.
They also get a chance to know me and my work before picking up the phone.
Josh Squires | Sr. Copywriter | CompareNow
By writing carefully crafted introduction letters that linked to my portfolio I was able to establish myself as an expert in my field.
Since Linkedin isn’t quite as spammy as other community-type social media sites, these people weren’t put off by a message from a stranger. I also made a point to contact members of LinkedIn groups to which I belonged. Most of the groups I belonged to were copywriting-adjacent, meaning that writing wasn’t primarily what they did, but they could have a need for the service.
A tight pitch, a bit of proof and I was mostly in. What I found that often sealed the deal was a link in the signature of each message I sent to an article I wrote on my own website that laid out the importance of what I did, underlining the value my services provide to my clients. The article functioned as a landing page and utilized a strong call to action and clear concise language.
Using Google Analytics, I was able to track these visits and resulting conversions which led me to the discovery that this approach was my highest converting form of marketing. Much better than PPC and slightly better than organic search.
Megan Petersen | Owner | Beaded Designs
The most effective use I’ve found for LinkedIn is sending traffic over to my blog posts by posting links to helpful posts in my status update feed and into relevant group discussions (where posting blog links is allowed.)
LinkedIn gives each post that I share a significant spike in traffic, which ultimately leads to e-mail conversions and sales.
Lucas Czarnecki | Owner | Lucasismy.name
I’m a young entrepreneur, so, having been a member of the first internet generation, I think I use LinkedIn in pretty abnormal ways.
Rather than using it for standard marketing – connecting to other businesses and influential people – I engage with LinkedIn for the sole purpose of increasing my Klout score.
Klout scores can can go a long way when acquiring new clients in my field (branding).
I also use LinkedIn to post ‘Projects’ more than anything else – the ability to create a quick, social-enabled portfolio of my latest work is pretty valuable for when I direct potential clients to my LinkedIn profile.
Tracy Higginbotham | President | Women TIES
I decided about 3 years ago to allow women entrepreneurs to promote, pitch and market their services as often as they want through my social media marketing pages. Although I use these mediums to promote my own events and services, I truly enjoy allowing others to promote their companies on my sites to encourage new economic ties between women who wouldn’t meet each
other any other way.
On LinkedIn, I created a special “Women TIES Group” where I encourage women all year long to share their blog posts, share business specials, invite other women to events, post holiday specials and ask for professional guidance. I believe in “giving” this extra marketing opportunity so I receive more back in return than just using LinkedIn selfishly for my own professional advantage. I think more entrepreneurs should think how they connect their clients or members together through LinkedIn to make it more beneficial for all parties.
Steven Swimmer | CEO | SwimmerMedia
My Linkedin tip is really content marketing and SEO applied to Linkedin. Just like other forms of content marketing, it consists of creating quality content that is rich in keywords. This is done by completing key content areas and effectively using relevant keywords throughout the profile. This helps with SEO within Linkedin and via external search engines.
I’ve completed not only work and education sections, but also sections for organizations and publications. I’ve carefully filled-out skill and
expertise keywords and joined a maximum number of relevant groups. On top of this I post daily updates, partly in the form of interesting content updates. This boost views from my network, keeping me top of mind. I have an upgraded account, in which I can see who’s viewed my profile. I get multiple views per day and many high-quality queries per week. I’ve also received inbound leads from people in my network who I have not talked with in years. This has resulted in an increase in business.
Also I wanted to add that my Linkedin activity feeds into 6% of my Klout score, which is pretty good considering that Google+ and Foursquare only account for 1% each.
Elene Cafasso | Executive Coaching | Enerpace
I’ve had success using LinkedIn to get the names and contact info of executives I need to reach in target firms. Between the company website and LinkedIn, I am well prepared to find commonalities and entry points to reach them.
LinkedIn takes you beyond the typical company bio to tell you about their clubs, associations and professional memberships. Generally I can find a link to them through one of these sources and my other contacts.
I’ve also helped clients use LinkedIn for similar purposes. A partner in a consulting firm with a very specific technical niche was trying to find what felt like a needle in a haystack – specific people and titles in this narrow niche in the Chicago area. Her firm had contacts elsewhere, but she needed Chicago.
LinkedIn provided more than she ever dreamed of and she was able to quadruple her marketing, sales and networking efforts and results.
David Mullings | Managing Partner | Keystone Augusta
I have used LinkedIn in two ways to benefit our business. First I use LinkedIn Answers to get introduced to potential investors by specifically asking for advice on raising capital for a certain kind of company.
I have used LinkedIn to share my ebook, “Social Media for Entrepreneurs” which has lead to speaking engagements, which lead to strong contacts we can leverage for the business.
Austin Netzley | Founder | YoPro Wealth
LinkedIn holds so many opportunities for business owners. Create a group yourself or just join other groups.
Ask every person you connect with a question about their business to get a conversation started. Don’t just connect, but really connect with every contact.
Lastly give endorsements as often and sincerely as possible. Typically others will return the favor.
There you have it, 21 entrepreneurs share their hacks on how they recommend using LinkedIn to grow a small business.
Share any tips below you have and we wish you entrepreneurial successes!