Linked In – 5 fundamental things every small business owner should know

By Published 16 January 2012

Without stating the obvious, LinkedIn as many of us are aware, has become the largest professional networking website in the world, and is currently ranked 4th after FB, Twitter and Google.

Interestingly, having done some extensive research on LinkedIn, I now find myself knowing more than I thought I knew, which is a good thing I guess. I meet many business owners and individuals who struggle to see the benefit of Linked In including some sceptics on my recent workshop.  For some reason they just didn’t “get it”.  So I thought it would be a great idea to share some of the fundamental tips that even the basic business owner should know on Linked In.  Here goes:

  1. Complete your profile.  Now this really should be straight forward, but people are still seeing this as an online CV.  If you learn nothing more – trust me it is not an online CV.  You need to focus your profile by highlighting all your previous experience that is RELEVANT to your current role, therefore supporting your current position in becoming an authority in what you do.
  2. Connect to as many people as you can to increase your network.  Connecting is a good thing, and especially connect to your customers and associates. There are 3 layers of connections, and the more you connect, the larger your network, the larger your reach and the more opportunities are available to you.
  3. As un-British as it sounds, the next important tip is to get at least 3 recommendations to help complete your profile – so ask your fellow customers for a recommendation (click on Profile – Recommendations – Request Recommendations). .  If you have a good relationship with them, and if you know you have provided them with a good service, then I’m sure they will be happy to oblige in issuing you with a recommendation.
  4. Spend time searching for at least 3 relevant groups within your industry that share information. The groups are often about sharing and helping one another, so to connect to like minded groups to see how other people cope and deal with day to day issues can be of huge benefit to you. You can see how other people maybe deal with the simplest things, that you may have been scratching your head about, but remember this works both ways, so share your knowledge and support other people in your group.
  5. Answer questions where you can. And remember, the more connections you have the more potential there is out there to answer more questions. The questions that you see are only relevant to your 3rd level connections.  By answering questions relevant to your industry or business you are showing and proving your authority in your industry, and therefore this will build trust and faith with your followers. People will only want to do business with people that they trust and believe know what they are doing.

And just remember that Linked In is for the long term.  Or to put it another way, it’s the long game, but it works and it keeps you and your brand visible the more you interact with it.

I regularly run LinkedIn training sessions to help business get the most out of this powerhouse. If you would like any further help on LinkedIn then please contact me and I’ll be more than happy to help.

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Author: Alison Boyle

Alison co-founded LA Marketing and is specialist in strategic online marketing for small businesses, and is passionate about teaching SME’s to grow their business through understanding social media, and empowering them to market themselves online. You can follow Alison on Twitter or Google+

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