Here at Acorn Enterprise, we’re looking to create blogs on topics which will really empower you as a small business owner and help you on your entrepreneurial journey. So, the next stop in our blog series is LinkedIn.
Now week 8 on our 2nd Free 20 Week Business Accelerator Programme, the topic that keeps coming up amongst our “Acorns” and the small business owners we meet is LinkedIn – the social networking platform predominantly used by members of the business community.
How do I use it? Why should I be on it? How can I make my profile stand out from my business peers?
This blog will serve as a platform to answer these questions and will go one step further by providing #standouttips on how to make your profile as a small business owner stand out from the rest.
LinkedIn is an interesting topic as it’s a social media channel with so much potential for small business owners yet it is so underused. Why is that? Let’s have a look at some examples of barriers and suggested solutions to overcome them:
What Stops New Business Owners From Using LinkedIn?
- Not knowing how to set up a LinkedIn account.
- Head over to google or YouTube and type in ‘How to create a LinkedIn Account’ and you’ll find endless articles which will put you on the right track. I found this great step-by-step video guide video created by ‘SplashMedia’.
- Not knowing what content to post on LinkedIn.
- Before setting up LinkedIn and posting your first ‘update’, it is in your best interest as a business owner to create a social media strategy which incorporates LinkedIn, as well as your other social media activities.
- Social media strategy? What is that? How do I go about this? Check out this fantastic article written by Melissa Coombs, from the Content Marketing Academy.
- Seeing LinkedIn as intimidating because there is heavy emphasis on it being a ‘professional’ social networking site.
- When it comes to LinkedIn, one comment which really sticks in my mind is “it’s definitely not Facebook”.
- In some respects this is very true. LinkedIn is not the place to be posting what you ate for dinner last night, however, it is still a place for SOCIAL networking and talking about your business can be social.
- It’s where you can ask questions which can help your business, publicise networking events etc.
- In short, don’t feel intimidated as the people on LinkedIn are people like you, focused on building up their professional profile. The only way we can break down the ‘intimidation’ barrier is by being ballsy and giving it a go – watch what others do too.
As A New Business Owner, Why Should I Be On LinkedIn?
Here at Acorn Enterprise, we believe LinkedIn is a really useful tool for small businesses. As a small business ourself, we can say with confidence that it’s given us great returns. We’ve used it to raise our profile and build connections with key people in the Fife start-up business community and beyond. Our connections have turned into great supporters of the programme and have in turn, delivered seminars for our Acorns, invited us to some awesome events and continue to work with us in order to grow the next generation of Fife entrepreneurs.
So, with that said, let’s focus on you. How can LinkedIn help you as a small business owner?
- To raise your business’s profile in your sector. You can do this through your LinkedIn profile by having your company information on display accompanied by regular updates on your business activities
- To increase your business connections. However, go beyond the ‘numbers game’ and take the time to develop and maintain relationships with other people.
- To ensure you’re kept up-to-date with the latest opportunities relevant to your business; whether this a networking event, support for businesses in your sector or for articles to inspire you to write your next blog!
- Ultimately, the more you update, the more you’ll get out of it!
How Do I Make My LinkedIn Profile Really Stand Out?
- Update it regularly. It may sound like a simple point to make, but it’s amazing how long small business owners can go without updating their ‘status’ or to ‘share’ articles or initiate discussion. Make sure it’s relevant and interesting – don’t SPAM people!
- Use it as a “cheerleading” tool through the ‘Recommendations’ function. Really engage your customers past and present to rave about the great service they’ve received from you.
- Join discussion groups which cover relevant topics to your business and share your knowledge. Don’t just join and post things robotically; ask questions and try to get the group engaged in what you’re talking about!
- Follow up on contacts you meet at networking events. Use the ‘connection request’ tool to introduce yourself – e.g. “Hi Kallum, we met at the ‘Meet the Acorns’ networking lunch and I’d like to connect with you so we can arrange the coffee as promised”.
- Take the time to fill out your accreditations, awards, and projects you’re working on as this shows that you’re a well rounded person.
- Download the phone and tablet LinkedIn apps. As a small business owner who won’t always be in the office this enables you to keep up-to-date with your connections’ happenings on the go.
On A Final Note…
LinkedIn is a social media platform with many benefits but is it not being used to its full potential by small business owners. It needs a real shake up and this is a golden opportunity for you. Make it more interactive and exciting. Small but mighty businesses can change the LinkedIn game! I look forward to seeing you on LinkedIn soon.