For those that don’t know about LinkedIn, or understand its application, it is a network for professionals. It is different from Facebook, which is mostly used to keep connected with family and friends. Using LinkedIn for business connects you with all your colleagues, which can be helpful in networking to expand your business.
If you are trying to sell your business, LinkedIn allows you a way to legitimize your work history and showcase your professional reputation. Potential employers often look at LinkedIn to verify the details of a resume. In the same way potential buyers may look you up to ensure you are a trustworthy person with whom to do business and that you have a good reputation. As a South Florida business broker, using LinkedIn for business has helped me build great connections and maintain my network. Here is a simple and easy guide to getting started.
- LinkedIn is free, go to www.linkedin.com
- This is a project you want to spend about an hour on, a twice a week. Don’t try and do it all in a day
- Since LinkedIn is about people, you want your profile to be about YOU, as a person; not your company (though there are company profiles you can set up as well)
- Be sure to upload a picture so people can see who you are. This should be a picture appropriate for a professional audience
- To get started, spend some time developing your professional profile. Give this some thought, and look at how others have set theirs up. Be brief and to the point, bullet points are better than a paragraph format. The points you list should be what makes you different from your competitors
- Consider carefully the “title” under your name
- This is what will appear with your name on most postings
- Think about a few words to say who you are, and what you do; not a title
- I used Lower Mid-Market Business Broker-Connecting Business Owners with Buyers When it is Time to Sell
- This is not about the TITLE, it is to tell your story; who you are and what you; do in a few words
- Now find “groups” which your customers and potential customers may join
- In the groups area, type in
- Linked in is a common start, such as Linked in Fort Lauderdale
- Try many variations, by metro area, such as Palm Beach Business Connection
- Another is Sarasota Professionals
- Palm Beach Business Connection
- Any others that you can think of
- Join them all
- Now go into the members list of each group, and:
- Click on each member
- Click on the “connect” button
- Click on the “groups” button
- Click on the group name
- Send – most will reply and join your group
- To go back to the membership list, press the back button on the browser bar twice
- You may be aware that you are only supposed to send invitations to people you know, or you get cut off. Using this groups method, it is not an issue
- When they join your network, consider replying to them with a short note such as: Hello Bob, Just a note to say thank you for the connection, and moreover, thank you for your friendship. Best wishes, Bob
- When you reply, look to see if they have a twitter account. If they do, click “follow”
- When they start following you, reply with “thank you for following”
- Once you have joined all the groups, and have gone through the membership lists, look for items to post in the discussions. The online articles don’t have to be related to your business or the group specially, but rather any item of interest that could be useful to the audience. I find these items of interest in other groups, and then post them as new discussions.
- This can be articles you found online, almost all online publications allow you to click the LinkedIn button and post to groups
- Look for discussions in the groups that you can contribute to, and get your name and what you do in front of the audience
- The objective is to get attention using your picture as the “brand” remembering it is people not the company, in this space. Additionally, the objective is to get quietly noticed, and establish yourself by being a participant
- Most groups will allow you to post your website and twitter account once. If no offer is made, start a new discussion anyway. Accomplish this by adding a new discussion, something like this:
Hello, my name is Holly, I am new to the group, and would like to introduce myself. I am a silk screen printer and embroider apparel and caps/hats. We are a great source for packets, t-shirts, hoodies for company events, sporting events, etc. Check-out our website www.paradisecustomapparel.com
Having a LinkedIn for business profile will help people find you when they Google your name, and provide you with a higher ranking with Google. Most of all, in today’s connected world, if you don’t have a presence is this space, you are considered NOT RELEVANT.
Once you have built your network, go back to your connections and get email addresses from those directly linked to you. Add them to your Constant Contact blast list. You can ask your connection for endorsement , endorse others, and recommend them for their expertise on certain topics or services. This is a great way to build authentic connections and get testimonials which should build your online reputation as a good business owner.
With your LinkedIn profile now set up, you will be able to connect with new potential customers that would otherwise be unreachable, and establish a professional connection with them. Your profile will also help create an audience, allow you to post articles, contribute to discussions, as well as boost your South Florida business credibility.