Small business owners understand the power of making the right connections. Even business owners in niche markets, without competition from Big Box or nationwide stores, understand just how much creating a thriving network can impact the success of their business. As a savvy small business owner, you’ve probably invested plenty of time and effort in creating an engaging social media presence and attending different in-person networking events both in your community and in your field. Take these efforts one step further by maximizing your LinkedIn presence.
Last year, 467 million people used LinkedIn. Optimizing your LinkedIn presence gains introductions to a wider pool of customers and boosts awareness of your brand. It can even become a secondary marketing tool for your company. Most importantly, LinkedIn can power up your sales efforts and increase your ability to pursue qualified leads.
Add Authenticity and Professional Authority to Your Brand
Your LinkedIn profile should center around your small business qualifications, the branding you choose, and the quantifiable benefits that your goods or services offer customers. You’ll highlight your professional story and describe the competitive advantage you offer. Pro Tip: If you struggle to create an active, engaging LinkedIn profile, hire a professional resume writer to make your profile pop. Include things that make your business unique or showcase your company culture. Make sure that you present a polished appearance — consider hiring a professional photographer to take a few photos of yourself, your shop, or your products in action.
Make the Right Connections
If you chose to pursue your small business after a productive career in another field, don’t let those professional connections you developed during that time wither. Use LinkedIn to connect — or reconnect — with those you’ve had a positive working experience with in the past, including trusted vendors.
These connections lend authority to your small business brand through their own success in different fields. They also open up possible leads for you, even if your business isn’t directly related to theirs. Remember, exposure is critical for a small business.
Solicit Qualified Endorsements
The connections that you make on LinkedIn can offer endorsements for the skills you’ve included in your profile or the services your small business offers. For example, if you’re a small accounting firm, one of your skills might be Tax Preparation. The “connections” that you’ve prepared taxes for — either personally or for their business — will check the box beside this skill as an endorsement, showing others that you’ve successfully performed this task.
As you build your connections, you can ask for LinkedIn endorsements. For instance, if you’ve had a positive experience with a vendor, seek them out on LinkedIn and endorse the service they performed. Typically, those you endorse will return the favor as they are able.
Don’t be afraid to ask satisfied clients for an endorsement on LinkedIn. As a small business owner, you probably already realize that you need to work harder to get your name out there — and being honest and upfront to your happy customers can go a long way.
Use LinkedIn for Prospecting
Once you’ve established your LinkedIn profile as a qualified, professional small business, you’re in a prime position to leverage this presence into a solid pipeline of sales prospects. In fact, increasing your social selling skills can result in 45% more sales opportunities and outperform 78% of your competition that isn’t using social selling.
When you close a sale, add your customer to your LinkedIn network. Generally, people are more likely to become repeat customers if they’ve publically endorsed you. These positive connections can also help you find others interested in what your small business offers, as well as give you the names of the decision makers at other businesses — a valuable tool that helps you get past a gatekeeper!
Consider Using LinkedIn’s Sales Tools
This is a premium feature, and may not be ideal for some small businesses. However, LinkedIn offers to streamline the prospecting process for many different types of sales. This tool helps penetrate the layers of a company, giving you the names of decision makers. Using advanced algorithms, the sales navigator tool also helps position you to take advantage of good opportunities to approach potential clients. It handles much of the legwork of prospecting, allowing you as the business owner and salesperson to better prepare a sales pitch for potential clients.
Using social media to grow your small business is smart. Properly using LinkedIn can help propel you to success and increase profitability.
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