How to make the most of LinkedIn for your small business

Did you set up your LinkedIn page in a hurry, accept invitations to connect, and then abandon the site? Big mistake. In a survey of 835 business owners by Vistage International and The Wall Street Journal, 41 percent of respondents singled out LinkedIn as “potentially beneficial to their company” and not just to job seekers. 

Nicole Williams, one of LinkedIn’s experts and a small-business owner, highlights several ideas to help you use LinkedIn more effectively.

Create a complete personal and company page profile

“To get the full benefit of LinkedIn, you really have to put yourself out there,” Williams says. Many people underestimate the importance of filling out an entire profile, either as an individual professional or a business owner. Be sure to list all past experience that may reflect your ability to execute and problem-solve, even if you think it’s irrelevant.

Your professional page can be solely about your skills and experience. On your company page, be sure to include a description of your products and services. Use both types of pages to increase the chance that you or your company will be found in a search. You want to make it as easy as possible for people—whether they’re recruiters, vendors, potential clients, or current customers—to find you, Williams says.

Select keywords that reflect your experience and include some of the recommended LinkedIn skills that automatically populate when you indicate your professional category. LinkedIn actually changes these particular words based on what’s trending in the industry.

Finally, ask for recommendations from clients, employers, and vendors. “This can help qualify you in [a field where people] don’t know you,” Williams says.

Share ideas, follow companies, and join groups

Small companies are usually strapped for resources, forcing professionals to often wear several hats at once. To tap into new ideas, identify and implement best industry practices, or just ask a question—there’s no reason why small-business owners and their employees can’t use the wisdom of the masses. By sharing ideas, following companies, and joining groups on LinkedIn, small businesses can level the playing field and get the kind of information they need to compete.

Learn more from LinkedIn

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Source: Works by Nicole Williams

About Toddi Gutner

Gutner is an award-winning journalist, writer, and editor and current contributing writer covering personal finance for Reuters.

Article ID: 2928615 - Last Review: 28 Mar 2014 - Revision: 1