While there are so many social networks in existence today, few standout as well as LinkedIn for small businesses. Here at No to the Quo, we are often asked where a small business should begin in creating a social media strategy. While there is no universal answer, there are some key factors that set LinkedIn apart from other social networks.
1. Lead Generation
One of the greatest things LinkedIn offers is a niche audience for business professionals to network with each other. There’s no drunk pictures of you and the boss at your last Christmas party a client might find on your Facebook, no glitter GIFs of butterflies or thank-you’s found on Myspace, but purely business professionals who accurately let you know where they work, what they do, and often are gracious to accept opportunities to network.
This is also a great place for your sales team to begin their search and look for the decision maker they are hoping to locate. LinkedIn provides great insight to companies and their employees. One caveat though: do not exploit LinkedIn by spamming people! You will quickly lose those connections and respect in the industry you are trying to reach.
2. Customer Retention
A common rule of thumb is that 80% of your business comes from 20% of your clientele. Keeping up to date with them through LinkedIn is a great way to keep their business and their respect. LinkedIn allows you to sync your Twitter account, your WordPress blog, your Amazon reading list, and other social plugins to go beyond the sale and build rapport with the customer. Once you have the respect, don’t be afraid to ask for referrals or a recommendation on the work you’ve done. That recommendation not only shows on your profile, but is linked to the profile of the person who left it.
3. Thought Leadership
For your small business to build a reputation as a leader in your industry, use LinkedIn to answer questions and provide valuable insight to problems people are having. Join groups, contribute to the discussion, ask thought-provoking questions, do some free research, offer free consultations. The more you give, the more you receive. You will find that as you help others, they will help you by recommending your services when the need goes beyond a simple question.
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