The online world is filled with social media options for small business owners. With so many options, business owners can feel confused as to which one, if any, is best for their business needs.
LinkedIn is for all forms of business with its 2 main purposes being to build business relationships and a resume service for work opportunities. Often referred to as the professional’s social media platform, is it just another time wasting tool or a beneficial platform for your business?
Learn more about LinkedIn.
- The Importance of Your LinkedIn Profile
- How to Work LinkedIn to Your Advantage
- Building Business Relationships
- Second Degree Connections
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The Importance of Your LinkedIn Profile
Ensuring your LinkedIn account is set up to be an effective business tool starts with having a correct profile.
- What does your profile say?
- Is it an older format or sales ad?
- Is it incomplete?
Ensure your profile has an appropriate photo of you. A front on head shot with you looking at the camera with a plain background is advised. With most of us being visuals, people prefer to do business with people they know, like and trust. Eye contact is the ideal way to build this trust.
Secondly, ensure your cover image is clear, concise plus relatable to your profession. While scenery makes a lovely backdrop, unless you’re a landscape photographer, it’s not relevant to your business.
Your heading is the first 2 lines of text in your profile. This text is searchable and the first words your customers and/or business prospects will read. It is important to include key information in your heading including keywords and your industry category. You must know how you want people to find you and consider the words people will search for.
For example, a cafe owner may include words such as whole foods specialist, organic, raw, cafe town, brunch, lunch or catering.
The next step is to share your story through your description. Choose wording that will express your point of difference in your industry, how you can solve your client’s needs and the advantages of them working with you. Be mindful to not overdo it or you risk losing the point you are trying to highlight. With limited formatting available, ensure you use paragraphs and a heading in all capital letters.
How to Work LinkedIn to Your Advantage
Once your profile is set up correctly, it’s time to use LinkedIn to your businesses advantage and start connecting.
A great starting point is to reconnect with current contacts by sending a personalised private message tailored to your specific relationship.
Not sure what to write?
Think of what you would say to them face to face. When messaging, avoid using language with the intent to purely sell. Personalise your message, show interest by engaging in small talk, asking about their family, reminding them when you last met and sharing conversation on similar interests.
For example below of appropriate message wording
It’s been a long time since we last saw each other at X event. How did you get on with Y (something of relevance)? Be great to catch up again at some stage.
Building Business Relationships
The purpose of LinkedIn is to connect and build business relationships, not just have connections for connections sake. Some connections with will reply, some won’t.
After receiving a yes to connecting, have a few standard messages you can tailor and send to initiate and continue conversation. Once this conversation is freely flowing, only then is the time to help, add value and in return sell your product or service by adding your free PDF/download etc.
LinkedIn prefers you to remain on their platform so use the message function in LinkedIn to send your PDF and have your businesses website and contact details as clickable links within this PDF.
Second Degree Connections
Second degree connections are people connected to your contacts. If you know these people, it is appropriate to message them the same wording you did to reconnect with your contacts. If you don’t know the person you have two choices – ask your mutual connection to introduce you or message the second degree connection.
To begin a conversation, the wording should be personalised to your situation. Be genuine with the intent to make a real connection and look to help or add value.
An example below of appropriate message wording
“Hi Sue, I see we both know X person and work in the same industry, it would be great to reconnect”
Don’t dismiss the fact people will see straight through you if your intent is to purely connect for your own advantage. An accepted connection that then sends spam or inappropriate messages will quickly be deleted.
Remember, if you wouldn’t say it face to face in a social setting, it’s inappropriate for social media.
Article written by Cathy Smith
CATCO Enterprises – your local specialists for your social media needs
One size doesn’t fit all with social media and if you feel you are missing part of the social media puzzle, call Cathy Smith from CATCO Enterprises. With over 18 years of experience in digital marketing with proven results, call Cathy today on 0409 489 464 for a free, no obligation chat about your businesses social media needs.