7 Ways to Use LinkedIn to Grow Your Small Business

written by Kristin Drake, LinkedIn Careers Team.
Grow your small business with LinkedIn by using these seven proven tactics.

There are nearly 30 million small businesses in the United States, but only half of them will make it past five years. To ensure your small business is in the successful half, we encourage you to capitalize on the various ways LinkedIn can evolve your business.

With LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network, you can generate leads, produce sales, and hire top professionals to fuel your growth. Here are seven ways to grow your business using LinkedIn:

Create a LinkedIn Company Page

We’ve found that LinkedIn members are 50% more likely to buy once they’ve engaged with your business on LinkedIn. But they can’t connect with you if you don’t have a LinkedIn Company Page. According to Forbes, only 57% of companies have pages. The remaining 43% are missing out on a free opportunity to generate leads, talent, and, ultimately, revenue.

If you don’t already have one, create a LinkedIn Company Page. Personal profiles don’t have the same marketing, advertising, and recruiting features as Company Pages, making them less effective at promoting your business. As you create your page, think about the kind of impression you want to create among potential customers and employees. This will help you select the right photos and messages to use on your page.

For a step-by-step guide on how to create an above and beyond Company Page, view our LinkedIn Company Page Best Practices. 

Promote Your Company Page

Once you have a Company Page, announce it to your clients, employees, and personal network. This will help you gain your first followers, who in turn will help to promote your Company Page on the content you post to it.

Promoting your page on other platforms or via email is also a great way to grow your audience. Here are some simple ways to get the word out:

  • Announce the launch of the Company Page on your personal LinkedIn profile
  • Encourage employees to follow the Company Page by making it a part of your onboarding process—Social Media Today reports that content shared by employees receives eight times the engagement as brand shared content
  • Link to your Company Page in the footer of your marketing emails or newsletters
  • Embed a Company Follow button onto your website so visitors can easily follow your LinkedIn Company Page

Share Content Regularly

The more you post, the more people you can potentially reach and convert. Best-in-class LinkedIn Company Pages are consistently updated to ensure that visitors have plenty of new content to consume and share.

To get started, try posting at least once per week. It’s not uncommon for companies to post three or more times per day. Post whenever you have something worth saying. Posting consistently shows Company Page visitors that your company is active on LinkedIn. Use LinkedIn’s Company Page analytics to see your top performing updates, your best times to post, and which members of your audience are the most engaged. With this information, it’s easy to make data-driven decisions to optimize your Company Page content.

In addition to posting often, here are a few more stats to help you boost engagement:

  • Posts with links receive up to 45% more engagement
  • Images see an incredible 98% increase in engagement
  • Posts that have relevant “best-of” lists get almost 40% more amplification

When a post gets good engagement, consider promoting it to a wider audience with LinkedIn Sponsored Content. Take the Sponsored Content Tour and discover how Sponsored Content amplifies your best content.

Showcase Thought Leadership

Seventy nine percent of buyers say thought leadership is critical for determining which companies they want to learn more about. To get started with thought leadership content, try to provide a unique perspective on your industry, product, or organization. Sharing your opinion on the future of your industry or creating a definitive guide on your product are just two ways to demonstrate your expertise and position your company as a credible partner.

For more ideas and advice on expanding your brand’s authority, download our Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to Thought Leadership to learn more.

Target Sales Prospects

LinkedIn has over 500 million users to date. That may seem like a lot to sort through, but LinkedIn also provides you with tools to identify and target your ideal audience.

LinkedIn members are more likely than other social media users to keep their profiles up-to-date, making it easier for you to find the right people. Use LinkedIn profile data to search for LinkedIn members based on geographic location, education, experience, and even connections. Once you’ve found prospects using the search feature, visit their profiles. Their endorsements or recent profile views might surface additional qualified prospects, too.

For more ways to reach your ideal audience, learn how to advertise on LinkedIn.

Build an All-Star Team

LinkedIn has helped 75% of job switchers make informed career decisions, making LinkedIn a top recruiting network. What are candidates looking for when making those decisions? Our research shows that 66% of candidates want to see company culture over everything else. To take advantage of this preference, consider enhancing your Company Page with a LinkedIn Career Page.

Career Pages allow you to target audiences with a personalized look into your company, culture, and jobs. They give you dedicated Life and Jobs Tabs on your Company Page that attract and engage relevant professionals.

In addition to creating Career Pages, encourage employees to share job postings and “day in the life” content as well. This gives visitors a genuine idea of what it’s like to work for you and adds to your authenticity. If you have a few employees who lead the pack in sharing content, consider linking them to your Company Page’s Life Tab. Their shared articles and recent updates will automatically populate, providing visitors with up-to-date information. Watch our video below on how to use the Life Tab to attract the right talent for your company.

 

Hire Freelancers

You’ve probably had an employee who took on a task outside of their domain. You might have even done it yourself a few times. While the effort is commendable, learning on the fly can also be detrimental.

Fortunately, finding the right talent for the task at hand isn’t as tricky as it once was, even if you can’t afford the salary of a full time employee.

LinkedIn ProFinder enables you to post your projects, receive free proposals, and hire trustworthy professionals all in one place. ProFinder will even pair you with local professionals to ensure you have the best freelance experience possible. With 172 professional services available on ProFinder, it’s easy to find the perfect professional for any task.

LinkedIn vets all  the professionals on the platform to ensure they are qualified and leverages your network to find freelancers your connections have used, so you’re never in the dark about who you’re hiring.

By using freelancers, you’ll get access to outside perspectives & broad experience of professionals of all kinds, from creating websites and designing logos to managing your books or crafting your marketing strategy. Plus, with none of the management overhead of a full-time employee, you can focus solely on the job at hand.

 

FedEx Launches Fourth Annual Small Business Grant Contest: $100,000 in Prize Money up for Grabs in 2016 Contest

FedEx is conducting a small business grant contest.  The contest offers grants to 10 small businesses, with a collective prize pool of $100,000. One Grand Prize winner of $25,000, one $15,000 winner, and eight $7,500 prizes will be awarded. The 2016 FedEx Small Business Grant Contest is open to U.S.-based for-profit small businesses that have less than 50 employees and have been operating for six months or more. To enter, participants must visit www.fedex.com/grantcontest and enter their contact information, write a short profile about their business and upload four photos of their business or product, including their logo. While not required, participants also have the option of submitting a 60-second “elevator speech” video to supplement their entry.

The contest entry period is open from May 3 to May 30, 2016, with voting to take place from May 17 to June 13, 2016. Following a judging period, winners will be announced on July 11, 2016 at www.fedex.com/grantcontest.

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Boost Your Spirit!

Nonprofit organizations are all around you. Each nonprofit has a specific cause that they are working to better. Today, there is a nonprofit for almost any possible cause you can imagine. These nonprofits function on your donations. Without your donations of money or time, some of these causes will never be confronted. Although it is hard to part with our hard, earned money, there are a number of benefits of donating to a nonprofit organization. There is nothing wrong with rewarding yourself with that money you earned but it might feel more satisfying to reward someone else with it. It’s about that proud feeling you get knowing that you have done something that may help others and support a cause you care abouboostt it.

A recent study by Harvard Business School faculty and graduate students titled “Feeling Good about Giving: The Benefits (and Costs) of Self-Interested Charitable Behavior,” explores the ways in which charity donations can benefit your psychological, spiritual and emotional well-being. So do yourself a favor, boost your spirits, help a cause, give yourself a tax deduction, and donate.

Did you know that the Emerging Enterprise Center (EEC) is a nonprofit? We are looking for donors like you to help us support our local entrepreneurs. These entrepreneurs in New Castle County will help our local economy grow and bring more business and jobs to the area.
The EEC is designed to provide business support services to entrepreneurs and associated companies in New Castle County, Delaware. The incubator is not merely about a physical building offering lower rental rates, but rather is a profishbowlmoneygram intended to help new businesses succeed to the point of “graduating” from the program within a defined time period. The EEC provides mentoring, educational opportunities, networking events, shared office equipment, receptionist services, and other amenities that are vital to the success of a new business.

Participants have access to customized business and technical assistance geared toward the specialized needs of individual companies. The EEC provides an environment in which like-minded businesses accelerate their potential through interaction, partnerships, joint ventures, and other mutually beneficial collaborations.

Don’t you want to be a part of something that helps New Castle County and Delaware grow?
Donate to the EEC to keep the doors open, lights on, and programs going. Boost your spirit now by donating today.

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Office Space Available for Start-ups and Early Stage Businesses at the Emerging Enterprise Center!!

The Emerging Enterprise Center has open office space for new start-ups and early stage businesses looking for a jump start on their way to a successful business!  The Emerging Enterprise Center, located at the New Castle County Chamber of Commerce is a business incubator that provides Support, Access to resources and Advice help develop and nurture entrepreneurs.

Qualified participants receive affordable office space and business services, access to to all of the training and networking resources of the New Castle County Chamber of Commerce, plus on-site professional advice, mentoring and a network of professional advisors. The EEC has a variety of office sizes in both individual offices ranging from 80 square feet to 342 square feet, and 2 to 5 room office suites that range from 224 square feet to 807 square feet. As part of the incubator program, leases are for 6 month increments for flexibility, and include secure access 24/7, receptionist, and the EEC Services Room which includes copier, postage meter, individual secure mailboxes, coffee service, microwave, and refrigerator. The program also includes free access to conference rooms, business educational and networking events along with mentoring from experienced business people.

Founded in 2008, the EEC provides a comprehensive program that is designed to nurture entrepreneurs as the focus on Growing their business, Developing business skills and Refining their business model so they can Graduate with a business model that is scalable and sustainable!

In recent years, small businesses were the largest job generator in the U.S., as they have been historically. They will become even more important as large business continues with automation and efficiency improvement efforts. Small business provides financial opportunity and a chance to develop wealth. Creative, motivated individuals can use their talents and expertise to the fullest providing satisfying careers, job opportunities, and the backbone of the market economy.

What Types of Businesses are candidates for the Emerging Enterprise Center?

There are several qualifications that the EEC Admission Committee looks at in determining who to admit to the program. Recognizing the role small businesses play in the economy, the highest consideration is given to businesses with the potential to produce jobs and significant revenues in four to six years, and have the intent to remain in New Castle County upon graduation! The other primary qualifications include:

  • Be a new or an early stage business (less than 3 years), with a business license
  • Have a written business plan
  • Be privately held
  • Have adequate working capital to enter into a six-month lease
  • Be a current member, or become a member to the New Castle County Chamber of Commerce.

How does the Emerging Enterprise Center actually help a new business?

The Emerging Enterprise Center at the New Castle County Chamber of Commerce offers assistance to early stage, start-up businesses in New Castle County and the greater Wilmington region. The goal of the EEC is to offer a comprehensive program of assistance so that early stage firms can develop the skills necessary to graduate and grow into thriving businesses. Our EEC companies are exposed to a Balanced Scorecard, designed to help them focus on activities in four key areas: Customers, Education/Personal Growth, Financials and Internal  Processes. The incubator program helps nurture the entrepreneurial spirit while promoting economic development in New Castle County by providing affordable office space and business support services, training, mentoring and a network of professional advisors.

For more information on the EEC, please contact us at 302-737-4343 or info@eecincubator.com.

Entrepreneurs! A Mentor can help you fast track your learning curve

Starting a business can be a daunting task! Ask any successful entrepreneur and they’ll tell you that they may have had a great idea, great enthusiasm and some great customers, but soon the reality hits…. There is more to running a business. It helps to have a support network, to help keep you focused on the things that will make your business successful.

The Emerging Enterprise Center at the New Castle County Chamber of Commerce offers assistance to early stage, start-up businesses in New Castle County and the greater Wilmington region. The incubator program helps nurture the entrepreneurial spirit while promoting economic development in New Castle County by providing affordable office space and business support services, as well as, training, mentoring and a network of professional advisors.

A key component of nurturing the entrepreneurial spirit is through the Mentor Program at the EEC. It is designed to provide participating companies in the EEC Small Business Incubator Program with job-specific guidance to fast track their learning curve.  The Mentors help the EEC Company Teams by keeping them focused on the important priorities, clearly articulating their business vision, challenging their benchmarks/milestones, developing and executing on action plans, and assisting them, where appropriate, with developing a network of contacts. Mentors are drawn from diverse business fields, and are experienced, well-qualified professionals, who can relate to the challenges facing early-stage companies. The Mentors have networks in the region and have volunteered to share their knowledge and expertise with Company Teams at the EEC.

Contact us today at 302-737-4343 or info@eecincubator.com to find out more about how we can help you and your business.