LinkedIn can be a great way to promote your home business. Here are a few reasons why:
- LinkedIn is a network with 65 million business professionals around the world.
- The average LinkedIn member has an average annual household income of $109,000.
- One person creates a LinkedIn login every second.
- Nearly 50% of LinkedIn members have decision-making authority for their companies.
It's easy to see why LinkedIn is considered the world's largest audience of influential, affluent professionals in one place. Like other forms of Internet marketing, marketing a small or home business on LinkedIn is relatively inexpensive and provides a lot of bang for the buck. If that's the market you are trying to reach, you need to get in the game.
Getting Started with LinkedIn Marketing
In order to get started with marketing your business on LinkedIn, you'll need to:
- Understand how LinkedIn works.
- Create a LinkedIn login, if you're not already a member.
- Create a great LinkedIn profile to put your best forward when people come to check you out.
- Ideally, create a LinkedIn company page for your business. You'll have the opportunity to do that as you are completing the resume section of your LinkedIn profile, and your company page will be automatically linked to from the resume in your profile.
With these LinkedIn basics in place you can get started on marketing yourself and your business to LinkedIn members.
Passive and Aggressive LinkedIn Marketing Methods
There are two main ways to dive into LinkedIn business promotion - using a passive approach or taking a more aggressive stance. Let's explore both, but keep in mind that, like anything else, the more time and effort you put into your LinkedIn marketing efforts, the bigger the rewards.
Passive LinkedIn Marketing
Simply by creating a LinkedIn profile, building your connections and keeping your account updated, you can get the attention of potential clients and customers. The passive approach can pay off by:
- Giving you exposure to people hunting for products or services. LinkedIn's search features allow others to find you, and just like Google search, the use of LinkedIn search is an important, well-used feature of the network.
- Getting you you introductions. Your LinkedIn business connections can give you an in with people and businesses you might not otherwise be able to reach.
- Displaying your recommendations from others on LinkedIn. Recommendations are word-of-mouth testimonials to you and your business. They provide credibility that encourages people to do business with you.
Aggressive LinkedIn Marketing
LinkedIn does provide possibilities for more proactive marketing of your home business. To take full advantage of the possibilities the network has to offer consider:
- Posting regular status updates. Talk about what you're working on and who you're working for. Include updates that would be of interest to your target customers and clients.
- Active group participation. Join groups related to your business and your interests and participate in discussions there for increased exposure. Discussion participation can help establish you as an expert in your field. Don't spam the groups as you'll run the risk of getting tossed out. You'll also tarnish the reputation of your business.
- Send messages and invitations to those in your network and to other group members. Again, don't be a spammer or a pest.
- Answer questions. Log in to LinkedIn, click More and select Answers. You can also search for answers on your topic by using search and selecting Answers from the drop-down list of areas to search. Click the Open Answers tab and see if you can provide a good answer to someone else's question. This establishes your credibility as an expert. Always be honest and answer to the best of your ability. Others looking for answers to the same problem will notice you.
- Try LinkedIn advertising. Paid advertising on LinkedIn is still a relative bargain. In fact, from time to time LinkedIn sends out offers for a free month of paid advertising. You may as well take advantage of it, try it out and see if it works for you.
- Consider upgrading to a paid LinkedIn membership. This will give you additional contact options and other benefits that may be a good fit for what you're trying to accomplish. Just click the Basic Account Upgrade link from the top left of any LinkedIn page after you've logged in to get more information on the benefits available exclusively to paid members. There are three levels of membership available, the first two fairly reasonable, the third quite expensive.
Adding LinkedIn to Your Marketing Strategy
Adding LinkedIn to your marketing strategy can be a great idea. If you have the time, you can learn to do everything yourself. If not, you might consider hiring a specialist or virtual assistant to handle some of the tasks for you. Admittedly, LinkedIn doesn't work for every type of business, but it can work for most and should be given full consideration if you want your business to succeed and grow.
You may not see results at first, but as you build your network and become more active, you could find that marketing on LinkedIn is a very smart thing to do.
This article is part of The Ultimate Guide to LinkedIn.