LinkedIn is a social network dedicated to business. It can be thought of as professional networking for the Internet age. It’s similar to other social networks, but instead of finding out what one’s friends are up to for the evening, business owners can search for professional products and services, connect with other businesses, join groups, give and receive professional advice, and give each other recommendations.
LinkedIn represents a big opportunity for small businesses. Having profiles on the other, more socially focused social media sites might be more popular, but LinkedIn should not be overlooked.
So, what is so great about LinkedIn? And how can small business users utilize it to maximum effect?
On LinkedIn, personal profiles and company pages can be created for free. Therefore, a small business owner can create a page focused on the business, which might include the company logo, description, and information about products and service and promotions. They can also create a personal page, which humanizes the company, and allows customers and peers to connect on a more personal level.
Both of these types of pages can be followed, so customers can get regular status updates on their favorite businesses. They also provide analytics about a page’s followers, allowing the business owner to gain valuable insight about their customers.
LinkedIn and SEO
Another great thing about getting involved in LinkedIn is the fact that the content on the site is indexed by the major search engines. If the time is taken to optimize the business’s LinkedIn profile to include popular search terms that are related to the business, these efforts can help boost a business’s authority in the search engines, leading to better search results.
Because business’s LinkedIn pages are given a high degree of authority by the search engines, they can also be valuable tools for online reputation management. A LinkedIn page is one more piece of the puzzle, for businesses striving to own the first page of search results. After all, who goes past the first page?
Work Smart, Not Hard
Small business owners should not worry about having yet another social media profile to set up and manage. Much of the content already in use on their business pages on other social networks can be re-purposed. However, the tone on LinkedIn skews toward professionalism, so business owners should focus on content that is engaging, but not too chatty.
Another way of maximizing one’s business presence on social networks is to utilize apps that allow one update to be posted to all social networks at the same time. Naturally, some things will be too long or complex for Twitter, or too personal for LinkedIn, but this is still an excellent way to maximize results in short order.
If a business owner hopes to get potential clients, job hunters, and suppliers to engage with their brand, there is no better way to do so than to return the favor. Following, interacting with, and joining groups with relevant companies and individuals is a great way to network, increase exposure, gain camaraderie with others in the same boat, and benefit from the experience and insight of others.