How Can I Make LinkedIn Work for Small Business Development?
You have heard that LinkedIn can grow your company, but how do you go about using it? You see all these influencers with a massive following and getting a crazy amount of likes on their content. Is this possible for a small business? Firstly, here are two reasons why people struggle to use the platform:
1) A lot of LinkedIn courses are not really giving people practical advice about how to use LinkedIn for business development.
2) Lots of people want to develop their business, but they don’t have the time or monetisation structure to help them.
So will a LinkedIn strategy help develop a small business? Here are 3 ways to make LinkedIn work for business development.
Don’t Overthink It
One of the reasons why so many people cannot use LinkedIn is because they overthink it. They assume they need to demonstrate their expertise by sharing all your industry insights 24/7 and they spend hours trying to perfect their experience bio or profile picture. It’s a lot simpler than that. Yes, you are a small business, but just knowing how to simply build a good profile will help your business development.
Let’s think about the basic structure of a good profile first. Can people see your face? Business is done when people can see your face, preferably smiley, and when you aren’t over the top about your company. Keep the promotion to your marketing strategy and your website. This is your professional profile. So, make sure you complete your profile but don’t go over the top. You don’t need a photo shoot or a 1200-word explanation of what you do as some examples. People do business with people they feel they know, trust and can do a good job for them. You can gain clients from showing people who you are and not telling them. Reliability, credibility and trust are your allies to your business development.
Have Your End Goal in Mind
If you are building LinkedIn to make sales, your priority is to make sure people know what you do and how you can help them. However, there is a stark difference between demonstrating your services/products and being a pushy salesperson.
The biggest issue on LinkedIn, then, is when people have no strategy and no understanding of how they intend to achieve their aim. What happens is that they send random messages, post inconsistently and have an ‘all over the show’ approach. This comes off badly and people are put off. Then it all goes awry and you quickly come to the conclusion that “LinkedIn doesn’t work”.
So, think about these three key questions for your business:
Do you have a plan or do you just jump on LinkedIn when you feel the urge?
Do you know who you want to win business from?
Do you have key actions, processes and steps to make it all happen?
This doesn’t have to be a complicated plan, but you do need at least a one-page of how you are going to use LinkedIn for growth.
Be Consistent and Persistent
Here’s the biggest excuse for small businesses who are not using LinkedIn:
“I don’t have time”
If you don’t have time to grow your business, then you need to find the time. If you don’t have time to build relationships with people who could become customers, then you have a major business bottleneck which could impinge on the future of your company. This excuse for LinkedIn is common because these people have assessed the reward to effort ratio based on their previous efforts. They have made the judgment call that the time spent to the rewards is just not worth it. They are right that it is not worth it if they haven’t got a plan. If they have over thought it, and they have no consistency or strategy in place it is just money down the drain.
If you want a steady stream of weekly appointments, you can’t expect that to come from erratic and inconsistent activity. As an example, we helped a small business by creating a methodological approach to LinkedIn. Getting personal support as a small business is a huge investment. After doing the work, they are now getting their own appointments on a weekly basis to meet new prospects. We helped them build a system.