How LinkedIn Can Help Your Local Business
If you’ve been hesitant to jump into the various online social media networks with your small business, here’s a place to start — LinkedIn.com. It is a network of about 45 million experienced professionals. You can use this to:
- Build an online reputation
- Meet key contacts in your field
- Get business and sell products
- Find quality job candidates
- Promote professional identity
- Find online communities that align with your professional interests
A strategically created and managed LinkedIn account can boost your local company’s credibility and visibility, and thus result in increased website traffic, leads, and sales.
How to Develop a LinkedIn Profile
Your profile. Start by building a detailed profile. Use a current photo so people can see who you are. Select your geographic location so your profile is connected to people in the city where you do business. Make sure you select the appropriate category for your local business (Example: Marketing, Photography, etc.) and have a clear job title. List past jobs, show your educational background and highlight your work. Provide detailed descriptions of your products or services. Remember, you know what you do, but your prospective customers and desired connections may not, so be clear.
Recommendations. If you have people who can recommend your work, that can help your credibility. Recommendations in LinkedIn serve as testimonials — communicating the value of what you do from another voice. But recommendations need to sound authentic. If they read any other way, then people viewing your profile may not trust them — or you. Ask people to endorse you who matter. They could be past customers, colleagues, former employers — anyone who can honestly vouch for the work you are trying to attract. It helps to ask the person recommending your local business to be specific about the type of work you want addressed.
Links. Your LinkedIn profile can include up to three website links, so be sure to link to your website, blog, or specific pages on your site that you want to showcase.
Blog feeds. LinkedIn also allows bloggers to feed their blog posts into LinkedIn automatically, so if you blog, be sure to visit the Applications tab in LinkedIn and set that up. It is free and easy.
People can review your profile and make a decision about you without having direct interaction, so make your online presence count.
LinkedIn Increases Your Local Business Credibility
Showcasing your local company’s products, services, accomplishments, affiliations, and credentials on LinkedIn is great for promoting local business’ online credibility, building contacts, and boosting brand reputation. Local businesses tap the power of LinkedIn to successfully build relationships by being open, honest, and communicating constructively.
LinkedIn Increases Your Search Visibility
In addition to being a great networking and credibility building portal, LinkedIn is a powerful tool for search engine marketing. Since LinkedIn is considered an established authority by Google, your new profile page can immediately reap the benefits. Set your LinkedIn profile to be public so search engines will index it and returned information within search results.
Three links. Your profile can link to three sites, so customize each link with carefully selected keywords in each link. For example, under the profile under Websites, you can choose from the dropdown menu selections, such as My Website, My Blog, etc. However, ff you click “Other,” you will be able to customize your links with descriptive phrases. So instead of My Website, you could select a descriptive phrase with local place names and keywords, such as Daytona Limo Service.
Employee profiles. You can also create separate employee profiles within your company, which are then indexed to return further search results for your locally based business.
LinkedIn URL. Even your public LinkedIn URL can be optimized for search engines. The name of your public profile link can have your name, your company name or what you specify. Example: www.LinkedIn.com/in/lorriethomas or www.LinkedIn.com/in/centralfloridaautorepair. See the Your Public Profile URL section in LinkedIn to use key phrases in your URL.
A powerful LinkedIn member profile is a great way to enrich your total marketing plan at no cost. Take advantage of it.