The Effective Ways to Leverage LinkedIn for Running Small Business

Having tried out literally all the social media channels for my companies and Awesome DC since 2005, I have had the best luck with Google and LinkedIn than others. Twitter, Facebook, youtube, etc. do not even come close to LinkedIn.

Well, since Google is not quite a social media channel yet, I will focus on my LinkedIn experience.  I think other social media channels could be as effective as Linkedin depending on the nature of your business. So, I am not encouraging you to dump other channels. You just need to identify the appropriate channel(s) for your type of company first. That would be another blog post that I will do next.

In fact there is a reason LinkedIn  recently launched a number of new, facebook-esque share features. In addition to Q&As, groups and personal messages, you can now send images, article excerpts, blog posts and other content to your professional connections in much the same way that you would with your personal connections on other social networks. Check out their demo here.

Anyway, here are six easy steps for maximizing the benefits of LinkedIn for your business:

1. Create Groups

Groups offer an easy way to enable your community members to congregate, an easy way for you to invite people to participate and an easy way for you to communicate with those who are already participating through group emails. This is a great option if you have a specific topic or idea around which people can freely congregate. Not such a great idea if you just want them to be “fans” of your business.

By Joining a Small Business Group you will find many small businesses owners and other small business resources readily available to you. Some of these will be local to you and some won’t but having the wide and diverse group will serve you well.

2. Crowdsource Solutions and Get Feedback

LinkedIn groups and Q&A are popular and effective ways to get feedback. Asking questions or sharing ideas allows you to cross-post your query across multiple networks and add supporting data like your website. One of the best aspects of using LinkedIn for soliciting feedback is that the comments from your professional network will all be collected in a single thread in your LinkedIn profile.

Regardless of what your business does this will build your brand and promote it in the Linkedin community. One could argue that this is particularly relevant for B2B and national services, but certainly anyone can benefit. By posting questions, sharing ideas, and answering questions related to your product, brand or service you are placing your name in front of a large attentive audience and effectively soft selling your services to potential customers! You can also directly offer your services to “question askers” but be sure that your “answer” is actually helpful to the asker or you will be doing yourself a PR dis-service.

3. Promote Special Events You Host or Attend

It’s debatable whether the free LinkedIn Events are effective for promoting an event outside of an existing LinkedIn group. There is a paid option that allows you to promote your event to the top of the events list. But using them to promote an event within an existing group can be very successful.

This is another circumstance where it’s completely acceptable to ask others to reshare the content across their own networks, particularly if it’s a local event geared toward your own community.

4. Keep yourself and business up-to-date of the relevant topics

Posting once a day, and syndicating that post to your business’ Twitter and facebook accounts, can help you remain fresh in the minds of your connections and customers. As long as the content is relevant and valuable, it will be appreciated and reshared. Just remember to not overdo your sharing; users will be quickly turned off if their timelines on every network are flooded with updates from you. Space out your LinkedIn shares to maximize their value for your network.

5. Try to be the local leader in your space

If you’ve got an article in an online publication or a blog post you’re particularly proud of, LinkedIn sharing can be a great way to broadcast that content to your network — again, both on LinkedIn and elsewhere on the web. Be sure to include a personal comment on why you’re sharing the link, and tailor the excerpt section to include something descriptive and appealing, such as a quotation. Shares on LinkedIn are also a great way to spread news items that are relevant to your peers, vendors and customers.

If you’ve got other tips and tricks for your fellow small-business owners on how best to maximize the value of LinkedIn’s sharing features, please let us know about them in the comments!

6. Find New Talent

LinkedIn is one of the most effective site for finding the perfect candidate when or if you need to expand your team. Letting others know that you’re hiring is some of the most valuable information you can send out on the wire. Write a brand-appropriate blog post giving very specific details on the kind of person you’re looking for. Give your post a simple, sharable headline that contains the company name and position available… and try to avoid use of term. When you’re sharing this link, be absolutely sure to include a call to action for every connection to pass this information on to others.

The most persistent theme in the LinkedIn strategies that I’ve used and encountered, is that people are seeing success when using LinkedIn as a very targeted, high-touch marketing tool. Not as a spam blaster. When people spend the time to craft targeted messages to targeted groups of people, they see fantastic results.

If I miss anything, please share it with us here.

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About Elias Shams
I have been a serial entrepreneur in telecom and social media space for past 12 years or so. I hold a M.S. degree in Telecommunication Engineering from the George Washington University and a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Maryland. I’ve lived and worked in many countries and cities including London England, Tehran Iran, Bonn Germany, Paris France, Alicante Spain, Delhi India, and my favorite of all Washington, DC of great US of A. Two of the greatest Washington, DC based companies I worked for and very proud of are Yurie Systems which was sold to Lucent in 1998 for $1.23 B and that I founded in 1999. I am currently the founder and awesomizer @

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