There are a lot of LinkedIn tips out there.
You’ve probably read some of the articles.
You know about LinkedIn. You have a basic profile and maybe even a business page.
This post has more. This post is specifically for you, an entrepreneur.
This post has the tips that show you how to get the most out of LinkedIn. There are two ways you can use LinkedIn to grow your business.
Here they are…
LinkedIn Tips for Entrepreneurs: Quick Background
Very quickly we’ll cover the background of LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is a social networking site. The original website launched in 2003. As the social network grew it became a networking place for those in professional occupations.
As of 2013, LinkedIn has over 200 million users.
When you have that many people using a website it forces you, as an entrepreneur, to pay attention.
I’ll admit that I’m still new to LinkedIn. I have yet to build my personal and business profiles on the site.
But because so many of my clients have asked I knew it was time to do some research and provide a proper LinkedIn Guide specifically for entrepreneurs.
I’ve come up with a couple ways you can use LinkedIn to grow your business.
How to Get New Business with LinkedIn
The first method for taking advantage of the LinkedIn opportunity is to earn new business for your company.
With over 200 million users, LinkedIn offers a very large audience of potential clients.
LinkedIn will be a target mainly for those in the B2B world.
LinkedIn users are professionals working for businesses throughout the world. They are the decision makers for their companies. They are your targets for getting new business.
Here are the ways to get started.
Create a Profile Others Will Discover
The first step to LinkedIn is to create your profile.
It’s a basic setup and something you’ve probably done on other social networks.
You sign up using an email address. The email address should be your business address. This allows you to establish a connection to your company, which we’ll talk about later.
There is some basic information to fill out including your current work and business information.
To start, create your profile Summary. This should describe who you are and what you do. Since you own a business it’s good to have a sentence or two about your company. In total, the summary should be about two paragraphs.
Next on the list is your Experience. You can get detailed with this, but to start list your most recent experience, which is being the owner of your latest company.
Add your previous experience if you think it will lead to connections later on.
Education is another area where you can make connections. List your information and in the future you can reach out to others that went to the same university.
There are other areas you can fill out and LinkedIn does a great job leading you through, but to get started this will be enough.
The secret to creating a profile people will find is to be descriptive with yourself and your business. People are looking for leaders in industries and as an entrepreneur you are that person.
As you start building your connections your profile will be discovered by the connections of your connections.
Make sure new people understand who you are, what you do and what your business can provide.
Create a Business Page
As the owner of your business you can claim your company page on LinkedIn. The connection is made in the system with your company email address.
Anyone with that email domain will be associated with your company along with anyone that lists your company as their current employer.
Company profiles allow you to upload your logo. You can write a summary of your business. You include the industry you’re in and the number of employees you have.
Your page can list the services and products you sell.
Again, as you start making connections people will visit your company page out of curiosity. You want the page to be clear about the service you offer so new people become more curious and visit your company website to learn more.
The business page also allows you to list any openings you may have, which we’ll talk about in the second section of this post.
Your profile and your page will entice people to connect with you, which is always the best way to find new business.
Once you have your profile and business page ready you can start reaching out to make connections.
Connect With People You Know
In order to make connections on LinkedIn you have to start with the people you know.
The way it works is you search for your classmates, colleagues, partners and anyone else you have had a professional connection with in your life.
Ask these people to connect with you.
Go through the list of contacts in your phone. Once you have these connections started you can really begin tapping into the potential of LinkedIn.
Find New Connections
Perhaps the biggest value proposition of LinkedIn is that you can make new connections.
Now, you might be thinking that you can randomly approach people, but that’s not the case. LinkedIn is specifically designed to thwart most kinds of spam including random connections.
People can create profiles and share information publicly, but in most cases your prospects will have most of their information private and only visible to their connections.
The area of opportunity to make new connections is through your current connections.
LinkedIn makes suggestions for people to follow in different ways. When you visit pages of your connections you’ll see their connections on the right side.
Here’s an example. Let’s say you have a great client. Visit their LinkedIn profile and see whom they are similar to and whom their connections are.
Chances are good your clients associate with other people like them. They are managers, executives and other decision makers.
Those are your idea customers.
Reach out and connect with those people. Start building a relationship. Look into their background. Research the company that employs them.
If they fit your idea customer start making a deeper connection. Send them an email or give them a call. Go into your sales pitch.
Introduce yourself. You don’t have to give the hard sell during the first introduction. The reason you’re reaching out is that you have a common colleague. Simply introduce yourself and your company.
As the relationship grows you can work through your normal sales cycle and convert the new connection into a client.
Reconnect with Old Contacts
We all have a little black book of old contacts. Maybe there were old clients from years ago had to end their partnership with you for whatever reason.
What’s interesting is that people change jobs. Today, people change jobs regularly.
An old contact of yours that was a client at one company could be a client with a different company today. Their new company could be in a better position and they might be the perfect prospect.
Reach out and connect with your old contacts. Use the search function on LinkedIn.
A great feature is you can mention the connection you’ve had in the past when you ask for a connection. You can say you’ve done business together and specify the company.
It’s a great way to start the relationship again and earn new business.
Contribute to Discussions
Contributing to discussions is a way to show your expertise.
LinkedIn discussions take place in LinkedIn Groups. There is a group for just about any industry on LinkedIn. There are multiple groups depending on the connections people have.
To earn new business with LinkedIn discussions first go to the profiles of your best clients. At the bottom of their profile they will list any group of which they are a part.
Click through to these groups and see what discussions are taking place.
There is a good chance that these groups are asking questions you can answer. You are already proving to be valuable to your client. The people they are connected with might not know about you and your company and how you can help them.
Discussions are about helping people. You have to focus on providing value with your answers and questions. Don’t use direct sales to promote your services.
By showcasing your expertise and being helpful you will create a pull to yourself. People will see that you know your industry and they will want to learn more about you.
This is the discovery process in the sales cycle. As the relationship grows you can eventually turn the prospect into a client.
How to Find Perfect Employees with LinkedIn
The second opportunity for entrepreneurs on LinkedIn is the incredible talent pool.
You know that the biggest asset your company has is the people. When you have the best people working for you there is nothing you can’t accomplish.
With over 200 million professionals on LinkedIn there is a huge opportunity to find the right people to join your company.
The journey to find perfect employees starts with your profile and your company page.
Earlier we talked about how to make these profiles description and interesting. You want your business to appear successful and challenging to potential employees.
People that are interested in your company will research your company page on LinkedIn. Maybe they were looking at the profile of a connection and clicked through to your company page.
The research will start there and will continue as they look at the profiles of your current employees. They will look at your profile.
From there they will visit your company page and hopefully they’ll apply for open positions.
With over 200 million users, LinkedIn presents an incredible opportunity for entrepreneurs.
We’ve covered the two biggest opportunities and have given you the tips you need to start earning new business and finding the perfect employees.
We’re just getting started with LinkedIn, but the prospects are exciting!
Start today and use LinkedIn to grow your company even more in the coming years!