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What Can LinkedIn Do for Your Small Business?

By now you’ve probably already been beaten over the head with articles about social media and how important it is for small businesses (it is, by the way). But we’re taking it a step further and examining one of the many avenues of social media that can do wonders for business. Hopefully you’ve already set up an account on LinkedIn (please tell us you’ve heard of it). If you haven’t you are most certainly missing out on some incredible networking opportunities. Here’s why it’s so important and what it can do for your business.

Size Does Matter

That may be a tough pill for some to swallow, but considering the fact that LinkedIn is now listed as the second most popular social networking site on the web, it’s absolutely true. Take it a step further and narrow it down by niche and LinkedIn is the largest in terms of professional networks. There are currently more than 120 million members in over 200 countries and territories. That’s a lot of possible connections. And while Facebook and Twitter certainly have their place, if you want to be at the top of the competitive ladder, get over to LinkedIn. Now.

What Can it Do for YOU?

It’s common to hear small business owners say that they don’t see the point of engaging in social media and networking. Some consider themselves a “local” business that therefore doesn’t need the vast internet to reach people, others feel that they’re already doing well enough; still others just find it completely overwhelming. Whatever the reason, it’s not good enough. Being a part of a network like LinkedIn can benefit your business in a variety of ways. For instance, you can:

  • Make Connections – LinkedIn is like a huge cyber networking event. You can connect with others in your industry and begin building valuable business relationships without ever having to leave your office.
  • Stay Current in Your Industry – The more “in the know” you are, the more successful your business will be. With LinkedIn you can keep track of trends and industry news in one easy place and even engage in discussions with colleagues.
  • Keep in Touch – Running a small business is busy work. Keeping in touch with colleagues and clients can be challenging – heck, sometimes it’s even difficult to pencil in time with your own family. This is where the internet can be so valuable. It allows you to stay in contact with important business connections without having to blow up your already jam-packed schedule.
  • Become an “Expert” – Believe it or not, professionals from all over the world use LinkedIn as a resource when they have questions about a certain industry or business issue. By positioning yourself as an expert you can become a valuable, trusted member of the online community and boost your business at the same time. And who wouldn’t want to turn to an “expert”? (Hint: Check out the Q&A section and try your hand at answering a few questions relating to your industry.)
  • Get More Website Traffic – There can never be too many ways for someone to find you on the internet. Having a presence on LinkedIn is just another way for potential clients to locate you and ultimately drive more traffic to your website. (You do have a website, right???) More traffic = more potential business.

So now that you can see the benefits of LinkedIn for your business it’s time to set up an account. If you need help, take a look at the New User Starter Guide and the Small Business User Guide for some basic tips on how to get started. Take your time, test the water but don’t put it off. The world is using LinkedIn (including your competition). You should be too.

posted by Rebecca Daneault @ 8:16 AM