We all know that social media can be an incredibly worthwhile tool for start-ups and small businesses, giving the opportunity to grow market share for a fraction of the cost of traditional marketing. With this in mind, it’s easy to understand why so many small business owners simply lump LinkedIn to their blanket ‘social media marketing’ activity.

 

But this is a mistake, and here’s why.

LinkedIn is a professional social network. People use it on company time, not their own.

So, what works for your business on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter, will not work on LinkedIn. Here your focus should be making worthwhile connections and establishing yourself as an expert in your space. Not on building brand awareness or growing a sizeable audience.

“Automate cross-posts from your blog, or other social channels sometimes. But stick to making worthwhile and relevant connections to feel the full benefit of LinkedIn,” Kate Southon, Head of Design at VMS.

 

Thinking of giving LinkedIn a go? Here are 5 great ideas to get you started…

 

1 // Leverage your top clients

As a small business you have to overcome the ‘so what?’ factor very quickly. The best way to do this is to leverage the well-known, respected brands amongst your customer base in your company profile. For example: “At ABC ltd we provide ongoing retail software support to Marks & Spencer, Debenhams and Top Shop”. You also need to make sure your company page tells your firm’s story, and not your own. It’s OK for your personal LinkedIn page to merge the two stories together, telling the story of your career before your business began etc., but keep this separate.

2 // Begin with the low hanging fruit

As a small company you can make your initial  LinkedIn journey easier by encouraging everyone connected with your business, to connect with your business page.  From existing employees & customers to long-standing partner firms, associates, training providers and suppliers. This will bring an instant network of relevant connections. Start to showcase your expertise with them, and build your network from there.

3 // Give your sales team ownership

LinkedIn is not ‘marketing’, it’s a little more like a trade show, or business networking event online. By giving your sales team training, and granting them direct access to the company page, they can make connections, cultivate leads, book meetings, share expertise and more. If they’re short on prospects they can be proactive, and use options like the geographic-search to discover first and second degree connections, then filter down even further by looking at job titles, company size and industry types that fit their sales targets. Then it’s simply a case of asking common connections for a helpful introduction.

4 // Adopt a less is more approach

This is about being realistic. As a small firm, with a LinkedIn advertising budget that is far smaller than your big brand competitors, you will find inbound lead generation difficult. With this in mind, don’t go overboard creating reams and reams of LinkedIn content. Make sure your company page is professional, and an up to date testament to your firm’s expertise and credentials. Then dedicate the lion’s share of resource to building worthwhile connections.

5 // Add ‘headhunting’ into your recruitment strategy

For your small business to expand, it’s vital that you have a ‘best in class’ team capable of meeting the challenges of the industry. LinkedIn can be incredibly useful in this process, enabling you to proactively search for qualified candidates. First think about your dream candidate. Then detail what roles or expertise they had before they moved to their current position. Now you can search for people who currently hold similar positions, confident that their next step could be to join your business. Assemble a candidate pool, and make contact. This is known as reverse-engineered recruitment.

 

Top Tip – Competitors like to snoop. So don’t accept a connection if you think you’ll make their life easier.

 

Viewpoint Marketing is a full service marketing agency based in Chelmsford, Essex. We create successful, strong brands, marketing and advertising as well as innovative websites and online solutions for growing businesses.

 

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