Finding the right approach for your small business!

LinkedIn has become an inevitable of people’s professional lives and it has a growing impact on businesses as well – big or small. However, most LinkedIn strategies and tips out there are often geared towards helping bigger more national companies like recruitment agencies, and many small businesses commit the mistake of following these, meaning they simply may not work.

So how can you use LinkedIn for your small business whether it be a local plumber, financial planner, accountant or real estate agent?

4 ways small businesses can gain the most from linkedIn

1. Avoid using it for marketing

You have to be strategic on how you use LinkedIn for your small business. Other platforms like Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest are more effective and efficient for your marketing efforts than LinkedIn. People spend more time on these sites than a professional platform like LinkedIn.

LinkedIn as a tool is ideal to source out expertise and connect with other local businesses – and not so much a way to build brand awareness or market your services.

It’s also a valuable platform to post interesting articles occasionally on to showcase your expertise.

2. Capitalise on your network

The kind of network you build through LinkedIn can take you places – literally!. You can see where people are going to and if there are events and local network groups that you can tap into.

Joining relevant “Groups” will help you get connected with others in your field and industry. With thousands of groups to choose from ranging from property, trade, financial services, industry specific as well as referral network groups you are sure to find a good handful relevant to you.

Understanding who your first and second degree connections is also valuable-after all it’s a small world and you know what they say about “6- degrees of separation…”

You can see who know who, and some of your contacts may be able to help you with key introductions to their networks.

LinkedIn is also extremely powerful as a tool to connecting with key business partners and very quickly. For example if you are a local electrician trying to get in the door with more real estate agents in your area, LinkedIn is highly appropriate to find out who the local agents are and connect with them. Imagine how many highly targeted contacts you can build by only spending a few minutes on it every week.

Initiate a warm introduction (without selling your services) with such relevant contacts as it could open the door to more business opportunities.

3. Know who your competitors are

You can benefit a lot from making connections but you have to be careful on whom you connect with. As the saying goes, be a little more cutthroat in your choices. Avoid connecting to people working or affiliated with your competitor’s business.

Exposure is inevitable but it is not good up to this point. Build networks with those you can tap to develop your business better.

4. Use other platforms for lead generation

Salespeople use LinkedIn to identify prospects. You can also do the same but do not rely on the platform to generate you leads unless you can spare as much money on inbound generation like big companies.

Instead, polish and update your LinkedIn profile to reinforce your credentials, experience and professionalism and take the time to get involved in relevant discussions within groups.

People will eventually connect to you in ways that would benefit your business in the long run.

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