LinkedIn is like the designated driver of social media. As small business owners, we’re glad to have it, but… boring.
The thing to remember about LinkedIn is that it was originally created for job-seekers, not entrepreneurs. So if you’ve experienced frustration promoting your small business on LinkedIn, try to be a bit forgiving.
- Your prospects are on LinkedIn, to some degree or another. Like it or not, LinkedIn is firmly planted as one of social media’s Big 3.
- Your prospects use LinkedIn to background check you. Yes, they do.
- LinkedIn is an SEO beast: that means if someone Googles you, your LinkedIn profile is probably high up in their search results.
So, how can you as an entrepreneur use LinkedIn to leverage your small business?
Rock Your Summary
Your summary paragraph is the first thing people see, which means this is where they decide if you’re worth their attention. Think of the Summary paragraph as your elevator pitch. You have less than 30 seconds to make a real impression. Focus on what it is you do, who you can help, and what makes you stand out.
LinkedIn allows you to upload videos and images to your profile. And yet, very seldom is this awesome feature used! Humans are visual creatures: videos and images are highly engaging and convincing. And since most people are too lazy to use this feature on LinkedIn, think about how much you’ll stand out if you do!
As a business-owner, you want to strategically position yourself as an expert. LinkedIn has made it possible for you to upload original written content that can then be shared and commented on. It’s like having a blog on LinkedIn. Get people’s attention with a well-tended selection of informative articles. Don’t forget to decorate your articles with interesting visuals.
Notice I said, “Testimonials” and not “Endorsements.” LinkedIn Endorsements are too easy to dispense and they come without significant context. They remind me of the “poke” feature in Facebook. While they can’t hurt you, they don’t help much either. On the other hand, a thoughtful, meaningful testimonial on LinkedIn is gold. It’s more than gold, it’s like super-gold. Build a reservoir of stellar LinkedIn testimonials and watch your credibility skyrocket.
Get a Real Headshot
Again, you are not a job-seeker. You are a business. You are a brand. Your headshot speaks volumes of you. It is not acceptable to use a photo from your cousin’s island wedding, with the glass of wine cropped out.
See, if you were a job-seeker, you could just get your profile online and then just pretty much leave it there, save for the occasional update. But you’re not looking for a job. You’re an entrepreneur. You are a business owner. You are a mover. A shaker. So get out there and hustle! Update your status often, actively seek out new connections, post new articles, leave comments, share, pitch your brand and offer expert advice.