5 Free Things Any Business Owner Should Do on LinkedIn

April 25, 2016

With over 400 million members worldwide, LinkedIn is a great place for any business owner to build relationships and learn from people across the globe. And, its also a great place to build your employer brand and awareness of your company.

The problem is, most business owners have thousands of other concerns. You likely don’t feel like you have the time or you simply aren’t sure where to start.

That's why we put togehter this list of five things any business owner can easily do on LinkedIn, for free. None of the steps take a tremendous amount of time and all can pay huge help build both your own personal brand and your business’s brand.

1. Make your own personal profile stand out

The first step to mastering LinkedIn is ensuring your own personal profile stands out from the crowd. After all, your LinkedIn profile is often one of the first things that pops up when people search your name online. So, you want your profile to make a good first impression.

Building a great LinkedIn profile begins with picking the right profile picture, then writing a clear mission statement in your headline, and an engaging summary and a work history – with examples – that prove your expertise. For a full rundown on how to build a great LinkedIn profile, you can download this free ebook.

Big picture – you want a profile that accurately reflects who you are and what you are about. Don’t be generic – write it in a way that gives people a true sense of who you are.

2. Set up a Company Page that accurately reflects your brand

Once your own profile is set, it’s time to create a standout Company Page for your business. And you want a strong one for the same reasons you want a strong personal page – LinkedIn is a highly visited, SEO-friendly site, so you want a page that’s going to leave a good impression.

This site will guide you through exactly how to build a great Company Page on LinkedIn. But the fundamentals of building one are very similar to the fundamentals of building a great personal profile – you want a strong banner photo and an engaging company description that describes what your company does and your mission.

3. Post status updates and your own blog posts to start building a following

Once you have both your personal profile and Company Page ready to go, it’s time to start drawing people to both and building a following. The reason is followers are 2X more likely to respond to your InMail than non-followers, so essentially your followers are a stockpile of warm leads. And the best way to build a following is to post status updates or to blog on LinkedIn.

Here are some good tips to follow and some good examples to keep in mind when writing your status updates for your Company Page. Three good rules to adhere to when writing status updates are:

  • Keep it professional. Yes, you should show the lighter side of your company by posting photos of employees having fun or office parties – that makes for great content. But avoid the things you would avoid at work, mainly personal photos and certainly topics like religion or politics.
  • Post about what you know. If you are a real estate agent, post status updates about real estate advice. And the more specific to your target audience the better – if you are a real estate agent in Boise, Idaho, post about the real estate market in Boise, Idaho. That’s something people can’t get elsewhere.
  • Aggregating content is okay. In other words, you don’t have to write an article yourself to share it. Instead, share links of article from other sites that your target audience would be interested in, perhaps adding a line or two of commentary.

Another way to build a following is to start blogging on your own personal page, with some great advice on what to write about from LinkedIn’s own executive editor. There’s a lot of competition writing on LinkedIn, but it does represent a rare opportunity to reach hundreds of thousands – even millions – of people with your words and get them interested in you and your company.

4. Join relevant LinkedIn Groups for both connections and expertise

One of the best ways to use LinkedIn to build relationships and gain expertise in your industry is to join relevant LinkedIn Groups. No matter what industry you are in, it’s almost guaranteed that there are a number of active LinkedIn Groups built around it.

Join these groups. Mostly, people in your industry use them to ask advice from others in the same industry. You can learn a lot reading through them, as often the problems relate to you as well. And, you have the opportunity to share your own expertise.

Additionally, these groups are a great way to network with people in your industry, or people in related industries. Bottom line, these groups have all the same benefits as an after-work meet-up group, without you worrying about what to wear.

5. Use InMails to start building relationships

One of the best ways to reach out to new people is via an InMail. A LinkedIn InMail is guaranteed to reach the person and is a professional way to start a new business relationship, as opposed to simply cold calling someone or getting their email somehow.

We write a lot about InMailing best practices, but here’s the real key – make it personalized to the person. The worst thing you can do is just cut-and-paste a host of InMails, as that will kill your brand.

Instead, only InMail when you are truly interested in starting a relationship with a specific person, and make the InMail reflect that. If it sounds inviting, people will be happy to respond, and it might mark the beginning of a long-lasting partnership.

Tying it all together

The five things listed above are the basics to using the LinkedIn platform. There are countless other ways to use the professional network to your advantage as a business owner, both free and paid.

To learn more about those options, tune into our free webinar, Top Free vs. Paid Tools on LinkedIn, on Tuesday, April 26th. Sign up here

*Image from Death to the Stock Photo

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