Many corporate professionals have an account on LinkedIn, but did you know that LinkedIn can help you build your small business?
- Before You Start: This is the starting point to learn about LinkedIn.
- Learning level: 1 | Social Media Basics
- Article last updated: Saturday, August 11, 2012
When it first appeared, LinkedIn was seen as the job search area of the social media realm. Common wisdom said that if you were corporate and looking for a job, you should post your resume on LinkedIn. That’s still true today, but what’s changed in the range of people who can benefit from being on LinkedIn. Now, small businesses and freelancers also benefit from being on LinkedIn.
If you need a crash course on LinkedIn and how it works, check out this introductory video from the fabulous people at Common Craft.
Like other social media applications, LinkedIn allows you to build a community and provides a wide range of communication tools within your community.
LinkedIn’s greatest benefits for your small business include:
- Emphasize your personal business accomplishments. Your LinkedIn profile focuses on you and your personal work history. This gives you the opportunity to focus on your accomplishments within your business and to emphasize your business strengths.
- Collect recommendations from people who know your work. Each time someone reviews your resume, they can review the recommendations you have received. Your recommendations can include customer testimonials, but also can include feedback from your peers, former business associates, and even people you know through any volunteer or pro bono work you perform.
- Define a professional network of people. Part of building your business is establishing a network of your peers, your collaborators, and people in related industries. LinkedIn allows you to create professional relationships and gives you access to contact information for your network.
- Research your network to find people. Using the power of your network, you can find someone within your network who can help you answer many types of questions. This is a valuable resource when you need to find a collaborator, a contractor, or an employee.
- Keep your contacts updated. You can export the LinkedIn contact information from your network and import it into your address book or contact management software.
- Share your social media passport. You can link your blog, slideshows, and other social media accounts to your LinkedIn profile. This allows you to drive traffic to your social media outposts including your business website and blog.
- Get introduced to new people through existing network connections. The best way to meet someone who can help your career (or hire you) is through a personal recommendation. LinkedIn shows you who in your network provides the connection for getting introduced.
- Expand your network through groups. LinkedIn allows people to create groups based on common industries, community affiliations, and previous work experience. You can join groups to meet people who can become part of your professional network.
- Establish your expertise. People ask questions on LinkedIn, and you can provide answers. Not only can you help the people asking questions, but your answers become part of your LinkedIn profile.
- Stay connected while mobile. LinkedIn is available through the mobile internet, and many phones have LinkedIn applications in their online stores.
Recruiting Through LinkedIn
You can use your LinkedIn network to help with your recruiting efforts, including finding temporary staffing and project contractors.
- Get recommendations. Ask the people you know and trust to recommend people they know and trust.
- Post jobs. Post jobs and other opportunities to your network and let them help you find great candidates for your positions.
- Search for candidates. Use the search feature to explore people in your extended LinkedIn network with specific skills and experience and then get introduced to them.
Even recruiters are turning to LinkedIn to fill positions today because of the high costs of using large job boards like Monster.com and CareerBuilder.com.
Your turn: Have you used LinkedIn to help build your business? Have you used it to fill staff positions? Share your experience here.