With all of the social media options available today, it is hard to decipher which social media sites will benefit you the most. After all, if you are like most small business owners, you probably don’t have the free time or the marketing budget to spend hours a day wooing customers on various social media sites or to launch large scale marketing campaigns.

This is where LinkedIn can help your business by giving you tools to market easily and inexpensively. To find out if LinkedIn is right for you, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you employ 50 people or less?
  • Do you have valuable information to share?
  • Do you need business or marketing advice?
  • Are you looking to hire?
  • Are you interested in professional networking with other businesses and customers?
  • Do you want to build your professional reputation as a thought leader in your industry?
  • Do you want to increase your business’s visibility in search results (SERPs)?

If you answered “yes” to most of these questions (And who wouldn’t?), LinkedIn is a good social media site to utilize for your small business marketing strategy. Known primarily as a professional networking site, LinkedIn offers a wide range of services and possibilities to help you build up your business online and make valuable connections.

Setting Up Your LinkedIn Profile and Company Page

Setting up your LinkedIn profile and company page is relatively simple. Follow the instructions below to get started:

  1. Go to www.linkedin.com and sign up for a new account.
  2. Follow prompts to fill in other information for your profile until all relevant information has been entered.
  3. Be sure to confirm the email address on your LinkedIn account (you will be prompted) before setting up your company page.
  4. Add a Company page. To do this, in the main navigation click Interests, then Companies. You will see a call-to-action area like the one below:Setting up your LinkedIn company page
  5. Enter your business name and work email address.
  6. Click the Continue button and follow the prompts to enter additional information for your company.
  7. You cannot preview your company page. Once you publish it, it is live.
  8. If you experience problems setting up your company page, check out the LinkedIn Help Center to troubleshoot any issues.
  9. Optimize your pages by adding targeted keyword terms to content areas.

How to Use LinkedIn for Your Small Business

Here are some ideas to get you going.

Share Your Knowledge—Join groups and participate in answer boards relevant to your industry. By providing quality, helpful information, you can begin to build a reputation as an industry expert.  This is a golden opportunity to reach prospective customers and connect with other businesses.

Link to Your Other Social Media Sites—Do you have a Facebook business page or Twitter business account? There are many apps available that give you the ability to link your updates and posts to your other sites. This saves time while still allowing you to reach a broader audience.

Boost Your Search Engine Optimization (SEO)—Google and Bing currently index LinkedIn content.  This gives your business a valuable opportunity to rank higher in search engine results. Increase your advantage by using your targeted key terms in your text when possible.

Distribute Your Content—Use your LinkedIn account to post links to fresh, valuable content, including new blog posts, articles, website content, videos, webinars, and more.

Use Recommendations to Improve Your Business’s Reputation—Consider requesting recommendations from happy customers to publish to your LinkedIn profile. This can increase word of mouth referrals.

Find Answers—LinkedIn is not just for marketing. By becoming involved, you can post your own questions within groups or on answer boards to find answers from knowledgeable industry experts.

Network Easily—Your LinkedIn presence offers you an ability to network like no other social media site can. Knowing the right people is key to the success of a small business. Use LinkedIn to connect with individuals and businesses that you work with occasionally, attend events with, and come across on a daily basis to help cultivate and maintain connections.

Find Quality Employees—Unlike traditional job posting, LinkedIn has great search tools that allow you to take a proactive role to find the perfect fit for your business needs.

Use LinkedIn as a powerful marketing and networking tool for your small business as part of your overall social media strategy.

Are you ready to take your business marketing to a new level, but aren’t sure where to start? OpenVine’s online marketing experts in Boston can help you develop and maintain an online marketing strategy for measurable results. From social media and search engine optimization to logo design and email marketing , we have the expertise to handle all of your marketing and web design needs. Contact us today to get started.