Just like there are several newspapers on sale at your local convenience store, there are several social media platforms available to you every time you get online.
Just the other day as I was in the line to checkout at the grocery store, one tabloid had a headline declaring that there was trouble in Sandra Bullock’s love life while the next one had a headline that said Bullock had finally found true love.
In the same way, you just can’t believe everything you read or see on a lot of the social media platforms (shocking!). However, LinkedIn seems to be the exception and that’s one of the primary reasons you should be using it to benefit your small business in three ways.
1. Leverage LinkedIn SEO
Google does a great job crawling LinkedIn. For most individuals and small businesses, what you have posted on LinkedIn will be displayed near the top of your search results page. This makes it very easy to be sure people get exactly the message you want them to receive when they find you in search results.
What you enter as your “Professional Headline” in your personal LinkedIn profile is what Google will display for your LinkedIn entry. This makes it incredibly easy to get your message across via search results.
The mistake most people make is to view LinkedIn as some kind of online resume service. Think of it as an online advertisement. Write snappy headlines that use your most important keywords. Optimize it for your professional benefit and the benefit of your company.
2. Find Venture Capital
In the eternal battle between “what you know” and “who you know,” the “who you know” team will always win…although you still have to have a good balance on the “what you know side.” If you ever find yourself in pursuit of venture capital, knowing a handful of the right people is important.
The connections you have to VCs won’t guarantee you any money, but they will usually get you through the door and received politely. The LinkedIn trick here is to upgrade to a professional membership and grow your network as widely as possible. With paid LinkedIn memberships you can message people who are not among your contacts.
With these steps done, do some research to discover which VCs might be interested in your project and then find who within your contacts knows them. Ask for these people to introduce you to the VCs. Alternately, with the permission of your contacts, send a message to the prospect VC dropping your contact’s name. “Our mutual friend, J. Smith, said you might be interested in hearing about this startup I’m working on…”
3. Find you next star employee
Okay, in this sense LinkedIn is kind of like an online resume service, but with a special added benefit. Remember the advantage LinkedIn has over other social media platforms? Yeah, that’s right: people tend to believe it.
This is especially true for the career events and positions that appear on resumes. When you post your background on LinkedIn, it’s there for everyone to read. This makes it more perilous to post lies and make yourself sound like you’ve accomplished more than you really have. Further, people list previous employers and it’s easy to contact them via LinkedIn, so if a person left a company in a bad way or is exaggerating about accomplishments, that will be fairly easy to discover:
“I see that you employed Mr. Smith for two years. I’m looking at what he said about his time with your company on his public LinkedIn profile. Does what he has posted here agree with your recollection of his accomplishments?”
There’s also a good chance that you’ll find mutual connections between yourself and many who apply to your company for work. That gives you other avenues to get a good feel for how well a candidate would fit into your company’s culture.
I’ve outlined some basics here. Everything I’ve mentioned is extremely easy to do. However, there’s much more you can do to optimize your profile on LinkedIn, including the addition of video. I highly recommend that you dig a little deeper so you can take full advantage of this resource.
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Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources and business news. Megan has several years of experience on the topics of small business marketing, copywriting, SEO, online conversions and social media. Megan spends much of her time establishing new relationships for ChamberofCommerce.com, publishing weekly newsletters educating small business on the importance of web presence, and contributing to a number of publications on the web. Megan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Website: www.chamberofcommerce.com.