Tuesday, April 17, 2012

7 LinkedIn Tips for Small Businesses

Walter, Ekaterina, Intel Corp, Social Media Strategist

There are plenty of success stories of how social media is revolutionizing lead generation and sales. But if your company doesn’t have a dedicated social media team, how can you make the most out of limited resources?
LinkedIn is often overlooked as a network for marketing purposes. But with over 135 million members, the majority of whom are professionals, in 200 countries or territories, LinkedIn is far more than a resume-upload site. For businesses looking to connect with particular industries or specific business demographics, its powerful search facilities and networking opportunities make the most out of a limited marketing budget.
The following LinkedIn tips will help you focus on the network’s potential.
1. Listen to your market
LinkedIn Groups can essentially provide you with free market research if you spend time browsing in the right places. Once you have identified your target market, you can search for the groups in which people are discussing the sorts of problems or challenges they are facing, or learn more about how they would like to do business.
2. Maximize your profile
Make the most of your company profile by filling in all the sections, including the keywords, which will help others find you. Be sure to keep all links current and customize what you can. For instance, you can change the URL to be your company name rather than a string of numbers and letters. You can also upgrade your account to allow you to do more, such as using the InMail service to contact members, get introductions to companies and see more information on potential contacts.
3. Make the most of what you already have
You can use LinkedIn apps to link your blog, portfolio and other content directly into your LinkedIn feed. You can also upload YouTube videos, SlideShare presentations and other media. Or you can set your Twitter or Facebook updates to post automatically to LinkedIn. If you do this, however, beware of how you would like your business to be portrayed; frivolous Facebook or Twitter remarks may seem out of place on LinkedIn.

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