LinkedIn: The Forgotten Ally of Small Businesses

Posted by on December 20, 2013 in Marketing, Sales 2.0, Social Media [ 0 Comments ]

how you company could benefit from linkedinAs business continues to make the transition into a more digital environment, organizations from all industries have seemingly made the collective decision to begin incorporating social media into their overall online marketing strategies.

According to research from BIA/Kelsey, 72 percent of small businesses are currently taking advantage of at least one social media channel for marketing purposes, but only 28 percent are on LinkedIn. A site designed for a more exclusive, professional audience – similar to when Facebook was first launched – LinkedIn offers small businesses a means to tap into a somewhat ignored audience.

Related: Learn more about LinkedIn tactics from marketing professionals

The platform has already proven a lucrative outlet, as Florida-based marketing firm PostcardMania has gathered dozens of fresh leads from LinkedIn, adding up to an estimated $72,000 in additional revenue, according to Social Media Examiner. Other small businesses hoping to capitalize on the underutilized network should consider the following tips before moving forward:

Be Recommended
There is a lot of overlap when it comes to social media platforms, but LinkedIn offers the very unique option for users to leave recommendations. Businesses can use the site as a portal to connect with clients they may not have otherwise had a means to contact. What’s more, companies can request that particularly satisfied customer leave recommendations, which can be featured on organizations’ official pages, attracting potential customers and adding more legitimacy to claims about product and service quality.

Join a group
LinkedIn is a versatile platform, wearing an assortment of hats from search engine for jobs to online forum for professionals. As of December 2013, LinkedIn is home to more than 1.8 million groups spanning a variety of industries, like the Real Estate Open Networkers’ group, which has more than 33,000 members. Organizations can join these groups or create new ones to identify and interact with potential customers who’ve already expressed an interest in the products or services these businesses offer.

Related: Social Media: Powerful Word-of-Mouth Marketing

Don’t be shy
Like most social networks, LinkedIn is ultimately an opportunity for companies to showcase themselves. The platform allows for all varieties of self-promotion. A business can feature links to blogs or a company website on its front page; it can even display unique content, like white papers. However, if an organization commits to shining the spotlight on content, updating regularly is vital. Customers have a notoriously short attention span and new material can help tether their interest, hopefully leading to more leads and, ultimately, sales.

Watch the competition
With a business membership of over 3 million, LinkedIn is likely to be home to multiple companies within the same industry. This offers organizations the very unique prospect of being able to closely watch the trends and actions of competitors. Official company pages offer insights into a number of interesting areas, such as new hires.

Find talent
LinkedIn is not only a haven for business, but it also hosts mass numbers of professionals and hopeful job seekers. In the U.S. alone, LinkedIn membership is upwards of 84 million. Companies can use this to their advantage when looking to fill new vacancies. With LinkedIn, businesses can expand the reach of their search – internationally, if they’d like – to find the right person for the right job.

Related: Google Plus: The Neglected Stepchild of Social Networking

LinkedIn is not typically described as flashy and it’s not likely you’ll see volumes of photos from some stranger’s far off vacation, but for businesses, there’s no social media platform more designed to meet their online needs. It’s an essential one-stop-shop for companies, letting them search not just for prospective customers but also talent. LinkedIn affords businesses the opportunity to vigorously promote themselves through content sharing and satisfied client testimonials. Companies would be remiss if they didn’t take advantage of the mostly free online service as soon as possible.

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