If someone asks if you’re on LinkedIn, don’t worry. It’s not the latest dating website. It’s a popular social networking site for professionals who want to develop their career (and their business). LinkedIn can do many great things for small business owners.
Launched in 2003 in the living room of its co-founder, it currently has over 75 million members in the United States and over 200 million members worldwide. There’s no charge to join the network. Just go to LinkedIn and create a profile.
So, why should small business owners think about joining? Consider this, LinkedIn can help you:
- Build Visibility – Having a company profile can help improve your search results. That means people can find your business more easily when they are searching the web
- Connect with Peers – Locate and connect with other small businesses in your industry and your geographic area. This network of other professionals can be a great source for you to bounce ideas off of or seek advice. They can also introduce you to their network contacts, providing valuable referrals
- Monitor your Competition – Keep track of what’s happening in your industry and with other companies. That gives you a better understanding of your external environment so you can make better decisions
- Identify Opportunities – Search for members who might need your services. For example, a landscape designer could search for residential contractors in their area. The designer will get a profile of companies/individuals meeting that search criteria. It will even tell if someone in his/her network could provide an introduction. Imagine having all that information before you meet with a potential client
Sound like something that might interest you? Take a look at this series of videos, showing how small business can make the most of LinkedIn.