3 Essential LinkedIn Strategies for Small Businesses

If you are like many small business owners, you likely wear many hats, tackling sales, content marketing, bookkeeping, and customer service, among others, trying to accomplish all these tasks can be challenging – but thankfully, with small, achievable goals, a step by step action plan, and the right tools, you can make your vision a reality. Here are 3 ways to do so.

#1: Build your Professional and Personal Brand

Establishing a professional brand is vital to relationship building on LinkedIn. Building relationships with your prospects and clients is crucial, because people are more likely to buy from those they know, like and trust. This is more difficult to achieve in today’s digital world, where we have to rely on our digital brands to get our prospects to the “know, like and trust” stage.

As a social media platform for business professionals, LinkedIn is most effectively used by small business owners who create both a LinkedIn personal profile and a company page. Both of these assets will showcase you and your business in a professional light when someone finds you or your business on LinkedIn – and often Google – search results.

To create a powerful professional brand, ensure your personal LinkedIn profile is professional and complete.

Your profile visitors should be able to learn quickly about who you aim to serve, what you offer and why they should listen to you. Your credibility can be further enhanced by the Recommendations and Skill Endorsements part of your profile – you should aim to have at least five LinkedIn recommendations from people who can speak to your expertise.

And while your persona profile will do most of the work on LinkedIn you also need to create a LinkedIn company page for your business. This is important, even if you are a solopreneur, consultant or freelancer. Again, your company page needs to be complete, representing you and your business the way you want your ideal clients to see you.

A completed LinkedIn company page with a  proper logo kills two birds with one stone:

  1. It provides additional opportunities for your business to be found in the search results for the services you offer, and
  2. It ensures that your company looks legitimate on both your own and your employees’ profiles.

#2: Establish your Authority on your Topic

This strategy is about fostering the sense of “know, like and trust” among your ideal clients and network toward your brand. To win trust, you need to demonstrate that you know what you are talking about – in other words, you need to establish your authority on your subject matter. You can do this by sharing content and resources that your ideal clients will find of value.

When you curate content, ensure the articles you share look professional, and solves a problem or challenge your ideal clients face. Further, provide your own opinion or perspective on the material. Your ideal clients can find this content elsewhere – what will make it unique is your perspective on it.

If you have the skills and resources, you should also create and share your own original content. You can post it as a status update or long form article via LinkedIn Publisher. The content you create should be 100% client focused and of interest to your ideal clients.

You do this by identifying their problems and challenges and then creating content offering solutions to those challenges. If you understand where they are coming from, and what their motivations are, and you speak their language, you’ll be able to connect with them in a meaningful way and build trust.

You may be reluctant to give your ideal clients a complete step by step guide to solve their challenges for free, but if you want to establish yourself as an authority, and build trust, you must be willing to share your knowledge. Keep in mind that you are solving only micro problems in your content – your target audience will still have problems they will be willing to pay you to solve. Sharing your very best tips and strategies will position you as an expert, and create more demand for what you offer.

Some people will always be glad to pay for the services of an expert because they lack either the time or the desire to do it themselves. By giving away your best information, your position yourself as a trusted authority. When they decide they need a service or product like yours, they’ll think of you.

#3: Build your Network of Partners and Vendors

One of the LinkedIn strategies most people miss is the opportunity to build relationships with other businesses with similar audiences, and complementary products or services. What better place to build a network of strategic partners than on a platform full of professionals?

Start by reaching out to people who know and trust you within your existing network, then continue to expand your reach by asking your trusted network to make further introductions for you. You can widen your search for a potential; partner by using LinkedIn’s Advanced Search – when  you find a good match, send them a concise, personalised connection request, and initiate a conversation by showing interest in their business.

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