Small Business Saturday Blog

Demystifying LinkedIn for Small Businesses

Thursday, February 08 at 10:46

If you are not yet familiar with LinkedIn – or are one of the 1 in 2 LinkedIn users who have joined but not finished setting up their profiles – it’s the preferred social media network for business to business marketers and one of the leading job search sites in the world, designed with professions and businesses in mind and with 500 million (and rising) users who are all focused on creating a business network.
I first started using LinkedIn on my own behalf during the early days of setting up Pink Spaghetti, using it to network and build my business. Although a newcomer to LinkedIn, I quickly learnt how to perfect my profile, attending courses and keeping an eye on what successful users were doing.
As my business has grown, I have used my knowledge of LinkedIn to help other businesses build their networks. The search function is excellent and an easy way to find and connect with prospective clients; you can start a conversation with a potential customer online before suggesting a meeting in person to further the connection.
As well as creating your own personal profile and thus marketing yourself to the world, you can also use the platform to join groups, collect information, find out about local events, share articles, and add your own professional comments.
LinkedIn can also be used to find a completely new role, by changing your profile to reflect that you are looking for a new opportunity, connecting with recruiters, and asking previous employers for recommendations.
A good profile is a powerful tool and a definite must if you want to get ahead, helping you to grow your network strategically so that it works for you.
Michelle’s top tips on using LinkedIn for your business.
1. Start with the basics. Join LinkedIn as yourself, not your company – you   will be able to build out a company page later, but should always join on your own behalf.
2. Make sure that your basic information is completed and that your contact details are up to date, with your phone number and email displayed – if you are taking the time to network, it’s vital that you can be contacted.
3. A picture truly is worth a thousand words. Be sure to add a photo, and make sure that it’s professional looking, high resolution and recent.
4. Ensure that your profile is kept up to date and that your skills and experiences are displayed correctly. Got a new role or completed some training? Don’t forget to put it on your profile.
5. It’s particularly important to make sure that your headline explains exactly who you are and what you have to offer – people will make a decision on whether to connect within seconds, so first impressions are vital.
6. Once you have your profile set up, you can create a company page if appropriate, which allows you to post job openings, create content highlighting your products or services, engage with your followers and share key updates.
7. Understanding the etiquette of any social media platform can be intimidating at first. Spend some time familiarising yourself with the site and watch those using it successfully to pick up tips – then take a deep breath and dive in.
8. Build your network slowly. First connect with people you know, trust and value on a professional level. Always use a personalised invitation rather than LinkedIn’s automatic default, and take the time to explain why you want to join their network.
9. Try to go onto the platform every working day, even if you don’t have the confidence to post at first.  Join in a conversation - it’s a great way to make yourself visible to others. Join groups relevant to your industry, or start your own.
10. If you’re struggling then attending a course can help to build your confidence and learn to make the most of this exciting platform, there are 34 Pink Spaghetti franchises across the UK who can offer this training or can assist by creating or enhancing your profile or I can be contacted directly for online training. 
Michelle Collins is the owner of Pink Spaghetti Chester and North Wales, a virtual PA service which offers flexible, efficient support to small businesses (and homes), freeing up clients so that they can make the most of their time. Michelle also worked in HR in a public-sector organisation for 12 years before moving on to become a  Pink Spaghetti franchisee and, with two young children, also juggles a busy home life.  http://www.pink-spaghetti.co.uk
·         LinkedIn:         in/michellecollinspspag/
·         Twitter:            https://twitter.com/Michelle_PSpag
Facebook: @PinkSpaghettiChesterandNorthWales 
  Instagram:     michelle_pinkspaghetti/    
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