Small Business Owners, Get LinkedIn for Social Media Success!

Tue, Sep 13, 2011

Action Plans, Social Media

Hay There, Friends…Emily A. Hay here!  Since we at Hay There Social Media LOVE putting social media to work for small business owners, we take on many projects regarding LinkedIn…the world’s largest professional social network.  We speak with executive leadership teams about how to use LinkedIn for individual use and we implement a strong company presence on LinkedIn as just part of many of our client’s social media strategies.

I hear a lot of business owners today ask, “What is LinkedIn?” or they tell me, “I get requests to join it all the time, but I don’t use it.”  Leveraging social media effectively can be a key way to differentiate yourself and your small business in this connected world! If you’ve read a blog post of mine before, you might be aware that I refer to an effective social media strategy as being like a perfect martini…made of quality ingredients mixed in the right quantity.  In today’s post, I am going to share a few suggestions of how one key ingredient—LinkedIn—can be leveraged for social media success!

As a professional (and particularly as a small business owner), a LinkedIn profile is an approachable way to begin using social networking sites.  Unlike Facebook, LinkedIn can only be used to connect with people you already know.  In this type of situation, you may be more likely to keep the “professional” and “personal” sides of your life separate (an important need many of my clients express).  On LinkedIn, the people you are linked with are “connections” of varying degrees, which allows for an effortless and dependable professional networking tool.

Within your LinkedIn profile, you will want to populate information about your professional experience and background (yes, similar to your resume, but with a slightly different tone…see an example HERE).  It is a wise measure to put specialty keywords in your current role instead of just your job title to help people find you.  In other words, instead of simply putting “Dentist” or “Owner” of your practice as your job title, include keywords such as “Cosmetic Dentist” or “Cosmetic & General Dentist.”

Not sure how to begin using LinkedIn once your profile is set up? Join a few industry groups as this is a great way to see what topics people are talking about in your industry and you may even learn that some of your associates (or competitors!) are very active in discussion forums.  Simply enter your keywords in the search box in the top right corner and select “Groups” from the drop-down.  Many groups are “open,” in other words, you simply click “Join Group” and you are a member instantly, while others you simply await access to be granted by the group administrator.  Receive daily or weekly email summaries about the latest discussion threads.

Remember when it used to be a huge burden to write a letter of recommendation for someone?  Now, LinkedIn makes it quick and easy for users to request and write recommendations for fellow LinkedIn users.  Remember, social media is a conversation about your business. As a small business owner, I am sure you have many happy positive client or patient testimonials…ask them to submit a few quick sentences for your LinkedIn profile to be sure your brand tells a consistent positive story across your online properties.

LinkedIn offers many additional tools such as professional company pages, job postings, headline news in the business world, and much more.  A company page can feature your products and services to millions of LinkedIn users and can be an effective way to get leads when managed properly.

With the internet making information so easily accessible, people are finding it more convenient to search for information through social media to make their first impressions about a business. You can see how maintaining a current profile for yourself and for your small business is very important in this case.

Interested in using LinkedIn but have enough on your plate? Helping you and your team members with LinkedIn profiles and company pages are one of the many ways Hay There Social Media can help your small business get social media results. Please contact us today, we’d love to help you take action!

Thanks for reading,

~Emily A. Hay

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