If your company is a B-to-B company and you are not fully leveraging LinkedIn, your company is not growing as quickly as it could. You may also be losing business.
Let me explain why I think this is the case.
While there are several reasons why many small businesses are not doing as much as they should on LinkedIn, none is effective against the simple fact that LinkedIn, when used properly, is probably the best marketing tool available for many small businesses.
First, there are now over 300 million members on LinkedIn, over one-third in the United States. There are more than 2 million groups where you can find prospects that have identified themselves by joining a group germane to what you do.
LinkedIn is ideal for small businesses for many reasons. LinkedIn gives you the opportunity and the platform to:
- Attract prospects
- Showcase your area of expertise
- Reach out to current clients and prospects
- Share information that makes you stand out
- Develop and defend a “subject matter expert” status
- Develop and maintain contact with your network
- Identify and connect with key contacts in client companies and prospects companies
- Set up meetings with clients and prospects
- Find communities (groups) of people with shared interests
- Research your competition
- And grow your business faster
All in one place! And you can do most of that for free.
I have been coaching individuals and companies on how to do marketing on LinkedIn and use it effectively, since 2008. In almost every instance the company has won more business, sometimes with remarkable speed. Here are two examples.
I had coffee with the president of a small company that provides water damage repair and clean-up services for industrial clients and warehouses. Two days after the coffee he called to tell me that one profile tip I had given him led to his company getting a contract for “on-call” services for the Eastern region of the United States for a major big-box chain. It was a deal potentially worth hundreds of thousands a year, or more.
I advised a one-person security firm in the government market about setting up a LinkedIn group for a specific aspect of government security. The group now has several hundred members, all of whom are prospects for the services provided by the person who started the group.
In the first example, it was a matter of adjusting a personal profile to highlight the area of expertise by using industry jargon. In other words, the profile was changed to use the words and phrases others will search on to find experts.
In the second example, it was a matter of showcasing the expertise by starting and managing a group focused on that area of expertise. After a few months, qualified prospects were joining every week.
In each case we are dealing with very small companies, each of which has much larger competitors. Leveraging LinkedIn allowed each of these companies to not only level the playing field, but in effect to give each “home field” advantage by claiming to be good at what they did, and then given the opportunity to prove it.
By claiming an area of expertise, supporting the claim throughout the individual and company profiles, and reaching out, both companies were able to grow their respective businesses.
So why is now the time for you and your company? While most companies and business professionals are “on” LinkedIn, only a small percentage are active in ways that will attract prospects and clients like the two examples above.
My unscientific study on LinkedIn over ten years concludes that while most professionals and business are now present on LinkedIn, they are doing little or nothing to leverage it in ways that pay significant dividends.
The simple act of being on LinkedIn is marketing: you are presenting some information about yourself and probably your company. The question is: are you engaging in good marketing on LinkedIn — or bad marketing?
Building a good-to-great LinkedIn profile for yourself and your business is step one. Being active in ways that make you visible without being intrusive is step two. You need to be ahead of the curve in using LinkedIn in ways that expand your network of prospects, develop better and deeper relationships with current clients, and overall becoming recognized as an expert in whatever you do.
It is time for you to excel and take your business to the next level.
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