LinkedIn 101 for Small Business Owners

LinkedIn 101 for Small Business Owners

LinkedIn is the best social media platform to develop connections with other business people. It is designed for building business networks so it attracts business-related connections and conversations.

Once you have a professional photo and your profile up on LinkedIn, then you will want to build your connections. This can be done in two ways:

  1. By responding to others who invite you to connect with them – in which case, all you have to do is respond to their invitations.
  2. By inviting others to connect with you – in which case you will need an introduction in order to approach them. An introduction can be as simple as you already know them and are in touch with them outside of LinkedIn. And if you don’t know them personally, you can request an introduction from a mutual connection on LinkedIn.

In either case, a process will help you to be consistent and get better results from the time you invest in LinkedIn. Plan to visit the site at least weekly to stay current and edit your LinkedIn settings to accommodate your needs.

Here is a simple process to increase your results on LinkedIn.

  1. Use standard messages that you can copy and paste to accept or invite connections on LinkedIn.
  2. Include in your message some value-added information – a free eBook or Report, video or audio training segment, which can be retrieved by signing up for your email list.
  3. Ask a specific question in your message that will, if they respond, open the door to develop the business relationship further. For example, if you are an internet marketing specialist, you might ask “What is your biggest challenge in creating a profitable online presence?” Or if you are a corporate wellness consultant, you might ask “How do you prevent or reduce absenteeism caused by illness or injury?”
  4. Personalize your message with at least their first name and any other information that makes the message more individualized. Then send it off after accepting their invitation or after they accept your invitation to connect.
  5. Each time you visit LinkedIn, check for messages from your connections. Those who respond to you have the potential as prospects for your business and this process opens up a two-way communication to explore the relationship further.

LinkedIn is a good place to build relationships, and even the standard, free version gives you options for messaging each other. It also keeps the stream of communications intact, unless you choose to delete them, so you have a record of your communications there too.

Make LinkedIn a powerful, purposeful business tool and you’ll soon see results.

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