Leverage LinkedIn to Grow Your Small Business
As a small business owner, you know that social media should be some part of your marketing strategy. When you think about the various social media channels, how often does LinkedIn come to mind? While LinkedIn definitely has a more professional feel to it, it is a powerful social media platform. Small business owners, even those who only work locally, should maintain a consistent presence on LinkedIn.
Once upon a time, LinkedIn was thought to be a place for job seekers. Today, business professionals use it to connect, network, and share personal or professional updates. LinkedIn can be an effective network and business builder if you approach it strategically.
How Does LinkedIn Work as a Social Media Platform?
All social media platforms have algorithms and formats to support visibility. They are all slightly unique, and it’s essential to understand how to use each platform to your advantage. There are two key elements that will help you get noticed on LinkedIn:
- LinkedIn is a search engine. People use the Search field on LinkedIn to look for jobs, trending topics, areas of interest, and like-minded connections. Keywords and hashtags are an important part of your LinkedIn strategy.
- Interaction drives visibility on LinkedIn. Sharing content with other people is one way to be active on LinkedIn, but the best method for growing your network is consistent interaction. When you comment on others’ posts, the original post gets an algorithm boost, and more people in their network will begin to notice you and comment on your posts as well.
A solid LinkedIn strategy involves using these two factors thoughtfully and intentionally to generate business growth. Of course, the most important element of your strategy is to post your own original content! Your content can include:
- Engaging posts relating to your industry, your business, or even your personal life (avoid polarizing topics, though)
- Brief case studies and requests for engagement on similar experiences
- Company announcements about new products, new hires, or new developments
- Funny stories that show the lighter side of your industry or business
- Introductions to blogs posted on your website
- Shared content from trustworthy industry sites
- Videos or LinkedIn Live videos about timely topics
What are Best Practices for Posting on LinkedIn?
The best social media strategy is the one you will consistently follow. If you declare that you will post on LinkedIn every day, but you do not plan those posts in advance or maintain a bank of ideas, you will quickly run out of steam and drop off the platform. All social media strategies involve planning. No one can maintain a consistent presence by simply posting whenever the mood or an idea strike.
Just like your newsletter, email blasts, and print marketing campaigns, your social media content should be planned and executed on a regular schedule. Don’t forget to also schedule your interaction time dedicated to commenting on content from your network.
As with most social media platforms, images get noticed. Pair your content with a relevant image as often as possible. If you’re posting a link to an article, the image will pre-populate from the URL. Additionally, there are many stock photo services that business owners use to legally obtain images that enhance their content.
Keep newsfeed posts short and sweet, but invite interaction as often as possible. If you present a thought, ask others for their feedback or opinions on that topic. Questions generate a natural urge to respond, which gets your post-feeding that algorithm!
How do I Know My LinkedIn Strategy is Effective?
Your LinkedIn visibility will not skyrocket overnight. This is slow and steady growth, earned by consistency. If you are not making strides out of the gate, don’t be discouraged. Keep posting and commenting, accept quality connections, reach out to new connections, and stay the course.
To track effectiveness, pay attention to your posts and interactions. Are posts that you publish on a certain day or time getting good or poor interaction? Did a non-professional question get tons of activity, while a request for “what would you do” advice got crickets? When you comment on a certain contact’s posts, do you get spammed with sales-y messages from new connection requests? If you have a post that got very little traffic, try re-posting it with a different image several weeks later to see how it does under different conditions. The great thing about social media is that almost no one will notice when you recycle content, so you might get great mileage out of a single idea!
If you have a small group of close associates who are all using LinkedIn, help each other be more effective by consistently interacting with each other’s posts. Make sure everyone in your group is posting quality content that makes it easy to submit thoughtful comments. Most importantly, be sure to give as well as you’re getting. Put an effort into supporting your contacts, and you will receive a great return on your investment.
Grow Quality Connections with LinkedIn
With a consistent LinkedIn strategy, you will begin to see new connection requests in your inbox. Evaluate these requests for quality, keeping in mind that you don’t have to accept all of them. When you do make connections, send a message to introduce yourself and exchange some information. If a new connection could be a great business or referral contact, schedule a Zoom (or coffee if local) meeting to get to know each other one-to-one. The ultimate goal is to grow a healthy long-term network that supports your business.
To get started on your LinkedIn plan, try to generate enough ideas to post twice a week for 6 weeks, and schedule 15-minute blocks 2 or 3 times a week for reading and commenting. If that sounds daunting, contact Motto Marketing for an initial consultation. We have years of experience building social media strategies and can help you get started!