LinkedIn for Small Business

Best practices series: LinkedIn small business marketing

Part III of our series Social Media Best Practices focuses on LinkedIn. This series introduces best-practices for small business marketing using the top social media channels. If you missed last week’s focus on  Pinterest or our earlier post on Facebook, here are the links: Facebook, Pinterest. Keep these cheat sheets handy when developing your content.


LinkedIn for Small BusinessLast century (it’s fun to say that), I used to work for a copier sales company and we would create sales sheets for every business we approached.  The sales sheets included information about the business, our contact, and notes about our sales call. We would refer to the sales sheets before making follow-up calls.  This is an “old school” sales tactic that really works, so much so that LinkedIn polished the concept and built a business around it.  LinkedIn now boasts 225 million users and is one of the most effective marketing platforms for small business owners. By sharing this little tidbit about my past, it will come as no surprise to learn I use LinkedIn every day.  Below, I am offering some best practices I’ve learned along the way.

1.  Participate, don’t just post.  When looking at the daily news feed, engage with your contacts.  They were important enough for you to accept their invitation to connect (or to invite them to connect), so engage with them.  Respond to their updates, share their valuable content, and most important, if someone comments on your updates, acknowledge it with a comment or reply.

2. Relationship first, sales later. Building a client base is not a sprint, it’s a long stroll among friends. This has never been truer than with the birth of relationship-based marketing.  Businesses now focus on relationship-based marketing because their customers demand it.  An easy tactic to employ is to ask a version of the question, “How can I help you?” in your introductory message.  When I make a new contact, I review their profile and try to identify possible ways I can help them with their business.  There are many valuable, helpful ways you can help your contacts:  offer to introduce them to a relevant contact of yours, or share about their business in an update. TIP: Be careful when introducing contacts, seek approval from your contact, and ensure the introduction is beneficial for everyone.  (For more on this, read LinkedIn but Disconnected.)

3. Don’t just accept, connect. When you are invited to link with a new contact and accept the invitation, CONNECT WITH THEM.  Send them a note of thanks and reach out to them. Get to know them.

4. Invite with a personal note, not the blanket… “I’d like to add you to my LinkedIn network.”  If you don’t personally know a prospective contact, upgrade your invitation with a personal note sharing why you would like to connect.  By following this simple strategy, your acceptance ROI will skyrocket and you will build a much more meaningful network.

5. Build relationships with your viewers. LinkedIn allows us to see who has viewed our profile.  Chances are if someone views your profile, you’ve turned up in a search.  Reach out to your inquirers. For tips on the best ways to reach out, read Business Development Strategies to turn LinkedIn views into clients.

6. Polish your profile!!! This really should be number one.  A polished profile gives you relevant, valuable content to use with other social media channels. Your profile is a first impression and by not giving it the attention it deserves, you might actually be losing business right now.  What does your audience think when they view your profile?  I’ve worked very hard to create a professional, polished profile on LinkedIn and it has paid off more than I  ever imagined. (View my profile and connect!) LinkedIn offers valuable opportunities to showcase your talent and expertise and is easily integrated with other platforms. Take advantage of everything the LinkedIn channel has to offer. For more on why this is important, read Are you losing business from misused social media.

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  • Norma Padro jolynndeal You’ve got it down to a science! I love it!  I’ll send you a connection request on LinkedIn too.

  • jolynndeal Norma Padro I read some of them and those that have other topics I let go. I also delete other emails, but I usually search the sites to see what’s new. It’s fun. I don’t always miss an email. There are some sites that lets you get emails weekly or monthly. Sometimes I place the weekly ones and the others I get monthly. It’s so much easier to delete other emails from the inbox and have enough space for the others arriving the following month. This is how I’m able to manage my inbox.

  • Norma Padro It sounds like you are really involved with your LinkedIn efforts, Norma.  I love seeing this. I also like that you integrate LinkedIn with your other channels.  It is a fantastic tool. I sometimes get bogged down with the emails from my various groups too. I’m always afraid I’ve missed something!

  • Norma Padro

    What I’ve done is connect my linkedin account to other social medias so that I can always share comments from other places. People always look into profile and when they are interested they send me invites. I always accept and thank them for the invites. I also join many groups on linkedin and out of it. Joining groups can also help in sharing your work with others. Sometimes my inbox is full of information, but they are all very important. I join other networks besides linkedin. I think it’s very important to spread the word out there.

  • Synnovatia

    Amen, sister! Especially to #4. Sending out a blanket invitation would be like throwing your business card at someone at an offline networking event while you run to next person.

    • LauraRuth

      Synnovatia I so agree!!

    • Synnovatia Jackie, you always paint a clear picture. I love it!

  • LauraRuth

    Love this reminder! I tend to forget about my Linked In profile and only visit it on occasion. 🙂

    • LauraRuth I’ve been guilty of it too, Laura! Once I began to focus on it, though, I could see the benefit and value for my time.  I’m looking forward to your upcoming guest blog!!!

      • LauraRuth

        jolynndeal Yup, I definitely just need to stay consistent with commenting on other people’s fabulous shares! There is a benefit and your post reminded me of the wonders of sticking with it. THANKS! I’ll be sending you my guest blog tomorrow – so excited!! Thanks for the opportunity!! 🙂