7 Ways that Small Business CEOs Can Use LinkedIn to Grow Their Business
September 8, 2010
Is LinkedIn a waste of your time? Not if you care about lead generation, building relationships with decision makers, and saving time and money. LinkedIn does all of these things and in this quick short-cut series, I’m going to show you how.
First, I want to give credit to Scott Allen and his book The Virtual Handshake. I’m lucky enough to be participating in OneCoach’s newest webinar series for small business owners called Social Media for Small Business in this article, I’m going to skip through all the lecture and just give you the LinkedIn strategy short cuts for CEOs that will help you make the most of this social networking tool.
7 BIG Reasons WHY CEOs and Small Business Owners Should Use LinkedeIn
- It’s a self-updating contact management system. If you’re currently using ACT or Salesforce.com in your business to manage your contacts, then you know how much time and effort it takes to maintain a clean and updated list. I don’t use any of those – I use LinkedIn to manage my referrals, my clients and my provider contacts. Granted you’re not going to get a sales pipeline report, but you will have all your contacts MOST CURRENT information anytime, anywhere.
- LinkedIn lets you extend your network. Imagine that you have an opportunity at Coca Cola, but you need to get some additional information to really make that presentation a slam dunk. You can spend hours or days calling your network and hoping to get the right person, when all along, your brother-in-law had the connection to the person you were looking for. LinkedIn allows you to get to that person in a few keystrokes. LinkedIn allows you to literally see who your connections are connected to. You can search on keywords, companies and industries.
- Find experts, suppliers, employees and resources. Think about how much time you’d save in searching for experts in your industry, suppliers or other resources. With your network on LinkedIn, it’s easy to search on industries, specialties such as MRP/ERP software or customer satisfaction research.
- Stay in touch with your contacts. It’s easy to get wrapped up in your own world, but all CEOs know that a successful business is all about relationships. Checking into your LinkedIn connections a couple of times a week is an easy way to stay on top of what’s the professional updates of your connections.
- Do market research. Instead of running expensive surveys, ask your questions on LinkedIn Q&A. You’ll be astounded and amazed at the quality of responses that you’ll find. It’s not uncommon to uncover potential opportunities and collaborative relationships in asking questions and getting expert answers.
- See what the competition is up to. Keep an eye on what your industry and your competitors are up to by searching on a competitors name and seeing what is posted on their updates. Look for people who are new hires at a company, or check out the current employees of a company and see their background and if they have the expertise you want, just pull them in.
- Give and get testimonials and endorsements. Bet you didn’t know that whenever your name or your company come up in conversations, the first place people go to get the goods on you is LinkedIn. Take about 5 minutes every time you visit LinkedIn to leave an endorsement for someone you’ve worked with – especially if they are a customer. That person will appreciate it and they will respond with an endorsement of your work as well.
I can go on and on about how valuable LinkedIn has been in building my business and my brand. But I wish that you would discover it for yourself.
Don’t be Afraid of Sharing
I know that you’re probably hesitant to share the contacts you’ve worked so hard to build over the years. And the last thing you want is to have someone dig into your contacts and embarrass you or somehow. This is possible, but unlikely. Like every other business decision there is risk and there is reward. And once you get accustomed to using LinkedIn to save yourself time, money and effort, you will see that the rewards FAR outweighs the risk.
Name: Ivana S. Taylor
About: Ivana Taylor is the publisher of DIYMarketers.com – an online marketing publication that provides marketing strategies that help entrepreneurs and business owners get and keep profitable customers. She is the DIY Marketing expert and book editor for Small Business Trends and a contributing author to AMEX Open Forum. Her strategic consulting firm, Third Force specializes in helping companies find their best customers and be the one they choose – regardless of price. Ivana is the co-author of Excel for Marketing Managers. You can find her on Twitter as @DIYMarketers.