The BADASS LinkedIn Guide for Small Business Owners

Are you ready to plunge into LinkedIn to market your small business?

No?

Have you tried to market on LinkedIn and gotten your ass kicked?

Yes?

Don’t worry, we’re here to help you get started.

Owning a small business is all-encompassing. Everything feels like a priority. That leaves things like social media marketing to fall by the wayside while you take care of the Big Picture items that keep your business afloat. The good news is that it's easy to get started, and you don't have to do everything at once. Just dipping your toes into the fray right now can help you get an edge over your competitors who are still dark on social media.

But Why LinkedIn?

LinkedIn is quickly becoming one of the most effective ways to market your small business on social media. At last count, there were 560 million users, and 44% log in at least once a month. If you've never explored the platform, you're probably in for a pleasant surprise, as it's come a long way since its inception way back in 2003. In short, in 16 years, this jobs & resumes site has evolved to become the world's premier networking center for businesses, individuals, recruiters, and more.

As a small business owner, you might wonder how that's going to help you. You're not looking for a job, and you’re not looking to hire new talent at the moment. No problem. LinkedIn’s advantages for small businesses are different.

As we just said, LinkedIn has become the world's most effective job marketplace for businesses, recruiters, job-seekers…and more.

You are part of the group that makes up the "more" category: advertisers.

LinkedIn is also for Growing Your Business

If you think that LinkedIn is just a resume builder and a job marketplace, you've been misinformed somewhere along the way. With the introduction of advertising on the platform, LinkedIn was able to start helping companies of all sizes leverage this unique form of social media to grow their business.

LinkedIn for business is more significant than you think, too. At last count, a whopping 79% of marketers consider LinkedIn to be a great place to get leads. And no wonder: 43% of them have managed to get real customers by leveraging LinkedIn.

So, What's it Take to Get Started?

You might already know that social media is excellent for connecting with customers, finding prospects, and nurturing leads along the buyer's journey. Social media does have a lot going for it in terms of all those things – plus, it can be fantastically cheap, too.

However, there's a tradeoff to all those excellent benefits and outcomes, and it's a tradeoff that most small business owners aren't able to accept: Being on social media takes an incredible amount of time out of your day. That's especially true if you're going to do it right and get a return on your investment of time and effort! This is why more companies are choosing to outsource their social media marketing these days.

However, if you're a do-it-yourself kind of person, we get it. That's why we're offering this handy guide to getting started on LinkedIn. Oh – and more good news: as of 2019, there are some exciting changes to LinkedIn that will give you even more of a leg up when it comes to beating out your competitors, finding leads, and converting them into customers. We’ll tell you all about these at the end of this guide, but if you want to skip ahead to learn about these recent changes on LinkedIn, scroll down to the last few pages, where we cover the most important new features that pertain to small businesses owners like you.

So, let's get started already!

Action Plan for Getting Your Small Business Started on LinkedIn

LinkedIn knows that small business owners have limited time and limited resources. With an eye toward helping them out, they have created an Action Plan for Small Businesses. The plan takes you from the initial setup of your page to posting the right kind of content. We've boiled it down to the basics so that you can easily digest their plan even if you've never even been on LinkedIn.

These are just the basics. If you feel that you're ready to dive in head first, you can skip ahead to the In-Depth Guide that follows this section.

Step One: Set Up Your Business Page (Completely)

Simply having a page is a good start, but if you can complete your page, you'll get 30% more views each week, according to LinkedIn. Here's what that entails:

  1. Fill Out the "About" Section. The main reason for this is that the more you say about your company, the more people will trust your business. It's called 'transparency,' and although we feel it’s always been an integral part of business, more and more people are requiring it from the companies they choose to support. More than two-thirds of professionals trust the content they find on LinkedIn, and well-written "About" pages are one reason why. If writing isn’t one of your business talents, it's not a bad idea to hire an expert. Having a copywriter who can turn your vision into good copy is essential.

  2. Upload Your Company Logo and Create a Great Cover Image. Logos are essential for helping consumers identify and recognize your brand across multiple touchpoints, and the cover image is crucial because it's the storefront for your online business. You want to make both of them look as good as possible. For profile images that use color photography, we suggest using JPEG files. JPEG files provide a nice balance between quality and size. If, however, your logo uses solid colors, a PNG file is probably your best option to prevent the appearance of noise.

  3. Be Sure that all of your Contact Information is Visible. Another sign of trust that others are looking for on social media is complete information about your company. Include your website, your physical address, the size of your company, and what type of business you are running. It's like a spec sheet for your business.

Step Two: Grow Your Followers

Now that you have a complete profile and LinkedIn presence, you'll need a way to start attracting attention to your business. According to LinkedIn, once your business page gets enough followers (150), growth becomes exponential. Here's what you should do to achieve that outcome for your business:

  1. Help Website Visitors Find Your Linkedin Page. You might already have some good traffic to your website. Even if visitors aren't converting, you can still hope they'll hop on over to LinkedIn to check you out. Get them to do this by adding a "Follow" button to your homepage and, if you have them, on your blog pages.

  2. Start Posting Content Every Day. Content can be anything: an original article, an infographic, a photo of your shop, or even a question. Whatever it is, make sure you do it daily.

  3. Let Your Other Social Followers Know You're on LinkedIn. If you have a Facebook (FB) page, for example, promote your LinkedIn page to your FB followers. Again, the idea is to maximize the traffic and followers you already have.

  4. Even More. There's more than a handful of ways to grow your followers on LinkedIn, most of which involve content. However, this is probably enough for the basics, so if you want to know more, scroll down to the "In-Depth Action Plan for Small Businesses on LinkedIn."

Step Three: Post Quality Content

Here's the part where most small business owners get stuck. Knowing what content will inspire people on LinkedIn to engage with you is both an art and a science. One thing's for sure, though, you can't go wrong with these basics:

  1. Use Custom Images. That goes for videos, too. According to LinkedIn, video is far more likely to get people to react than images or text – five times more likely, which is a stat that's hard to ignore.

  2. Always Publish Well-Written Content. Inevitably, you'll need to post some articles on LinkedIn. Articles have substance, so they help followers get to know you and your products and services. Again, it's about trust and transparency.

The In-Depth Action Plan for Small Businesses on LinkedIn

So, you're a superstar on LinkedIn already, eh? Well, we promised some in-depth coverage of LinkedIn's Action Plan, as well as the newest changes on the platform that all business owners should know, so here you are.

Recent Changes to LinkedIn

  1. LinkedIn Company Page Content Suggestions. One of the recent changes to LinkedIn (and probably the most important for you right now) is that there's now an area on your dashboard for LinkedIn Company Page Content Suggestions. Filter the suggestions any way you like—by industry, location, topics, page follower,s and more—to find relevant content to put on your feed for your followers to see.

  2. Native Video Feature. Now you can post video quickly and get great analytics. This will allow you to get more reach with your video content and to make use of better ad targeting.

  3. Group Activity in LinkedIn Groups. There's a renewed focus on reviving LinkedIn Groups. When you're active in groups, the platform logs that activity and makes it available to you as a feed. They are encouraging business owners to include that feed on their company home page. To do this, it's a simple matter of turning the feature on. In fact, it's now the default, so check your home page after you're engaged in a few communities and see if your activity shows up there.

  4. Ads Tab on LinkedIn Pages. This tab will allow visitors to view all the Sponsored Content that advertisers have run on LinkedIn in the past six months. This should add an even greater level of transparency to LinkedIn Pages. Please note that although visitors can click on the ads, the advertiser won’t be charged and the clicks won’t affect analytics.

More on How to Grow Your Followers on LinkedIn for Small Businesses

We talked a little before about types of content, but here's the full scoop, as well as how to maximize engagement from the followers you'll be getting very soon.

  1. Promote Your LinkedIn Page in All Your Business Collateral. This means adding the URL of your page to your email signature, your business cards, brochures, company blog, and any other business collateral you use, whether it's in print or online. The more people who know about your LinkedIn presence the better.

  2. Learn to Use the Activity Tab. Once you get followers, it's possible that if your content is good enough, they'll mention you when they post on their own LinkedIn feeds. To find out if that's occurred yet, go to your Activity Tab and see if you've been mentioned. Reshare those mentions with your followers, and let newcomers know that others like your brand (or least your content!).

  3. Learn About Hashtags. Find out what hashtags are associated with your products and services and start exploring them on LinkedIn. Look for them in your Communities panel and find ways to join conversations with others who are reusing those hashtags. Be helpful, but don't overtly promote your products. Remember, LinkedIn isn’t Instagram, so use hashtags to categorize content like you would a blog post, not to spam followers.

  4. Go Over Your Page Analytics. This should be done at least once per month. Analytics tell you if your followers like the content you're publishing, among other things. Look for opportunities to improve your content so that you can please your followers more often. There's a Content Suggestion Tool that may help you discover the topics that are trending currently with your followers.

  5. Participate in LinkedIn Groups Specific to Your Industry. This is how you connect with others who do what you do and learn from them. We’ve spoken about Facebook groups before, but LinkedIn was the pioneer in groups.

  6. Create a Content Calendar for Each Month. To be effective with your content, review your LinkedIn analytics on the Analytics Tab. This should give you enough insight to begin writing better content that resonates with your followers and encourages engagement. Organize your strategy with a monthly content calendar.

  7. Schedule Your Posts. Once you get rolling with the content creation part of your social media marketing campaign, you'll probably find that it's helpful to have a dashboard to keep everything straight. There is a lot of daily, weekly, and monthly posting that needs to occur if you're going to leverage LinkedIn for your small business. There are tools out there that you can subscribe to that allow you to manage your content.

Conclusion

There you have it. From the Basics to What's New in LinkedIn to an In-Depth Plan for getting followers and leads on LinkedIn, we’ve covered everything you know to get started today. If you suddenly feel that it's all too much, remember that here at SocialXpresso, it's what we do. We cater to small business owners who want to grow their businesses on social media. Give us a call, and we can talk shop, set you up on a plan, or get to know one another. We look forward to it, and however you choose to get your business up on LinkedIn, we wish you all the success in the world.