According to Statista’s 2019 report, there were 25.1 million small- and medium-size businesses in the European Union in 2018. Unfortunately, like many SMEs, only half will survive after five years.

Scared? Don’t be. To ensure that your small company continues to thrive, try taking advantage of the various ways that LinkedIn can help develop your business. As one of the world’s largest professional networks, your business can leverage LinkedIn to find more leads, generate sales, and employ top professionals in your industry. Collectively this will fuel your company’s growth.

Here are seven of my best tips for using LinkedIn to help you get started on a successful path of business growth and development:

1. Design a fully optimised LinkedIn company page.

Did you know that LinkedIn members have a 50 percent likelihood of purchasing if they’ve engaged with your company via LinkedIn? However, users cannot connect with your business if you don’t have a LinkedIn Company Page. If you fall into this category, you’ll be passing up on free opportunities to produce leads, attract talent and generate revenue.

Designing and fully complete LinkedIn Company Page is perhaps the most important LinkedIn tip that you can implement. Having a personal profile is not the same because it doesn’t have recruiting, advertising and marketing features like that of a Company Page. Therefore, a personal Profile Page is less effective for promoting a business.

When you start creating your Company page, consider the impression you’d like potential employees and customers to develop about your business. This will aid in selecting the right content and photos to implement on the page.

Pro-tip: Rename any image files with a name related to your service so that your page will rank higher in searches eg. Financialservices.jpeg.

2. Endorse your company page.

Once your Company Page is ready to launch, start by announcing it to your personal network, employees and existing clients. This helps in garnering the initial group of followers. These initial followers will help by promoting your Company Page and any content you post. You may also consider promoting your Company Page on other social media platforms and sending out emails notifying people of your newly active page is another smart way of expanding your audience.

Here are some invaluable tips for promoting your Company Page:

3. Share content regularly.

The more meaningful content you post, the more people will be motivated to reach out and convert. Some of the best LinkedIn Company Pages regularly updated so that visitors are constantly getting new and exciting content to peruse and share. An important practice is posting relevant content on at least a weekly basis. Content posting consistency will demonstrate to visitors that your Company Page is alive and active on LinkedIn. You may utilise LinkedIn’s analytics to see parameters like which updates are performing the best, which members are engaged and what the best times to publish a post. This will help you make data-driven decisions for your company.

Pro tip: According to LinkedIn, posts with related “best of” lists are amplified by up to 40 percent.

4. Display thought leadership.

To begin developing thought leadership content and building your credibility, provide an exclusive perspective about your products, services, company or industry. Share your views on the expected future trends in your industry and create guides on your products / services.

Your LinkedIn statuses can be up to 700 characters long on company page posts, and 1,300 characters for statuses on individual accounts.

On the other hand, articles have no real character limit. Tell a story, such as the following:

“Why are you on LinkedIn? I’ve been thinking about why I’m here, and here’s what I’ve come up with…[insert your thoughts here].

So that’s my story but I’d love to know why you’re here and how I can help. What’s your reason for using LinkedIn right now?”

I often start my LinkedIn posts with a question to get people in the right place to engage.

Run a series of posts along a theme so that people follow you and become accustomed to seeing your skills in action. For example, I run weekly LinkedIn posts called LinkedIn FAQs where I choose three common LinkedIn conundrums to solve on a weekly basis.

5. Focus on sales prospects.

Clever focused targeting is crucial to your LinkedIn success. LinkedIn also offers several tools such as an upgraded Sales Navigator account to help identify and target your audience. On LinkedIn profile data, search for LinkedIn members using experience, geographic location, education and mutual connections and groups as your search parameters.

Once you’ve found the prospects, look at their profiles. Pay attention to their recent profile views, endorsements, etc and use these as hooks to engage with more qualified prospects.

Pro-tip: Use the alumni search. This is a little known trick whereby you just have to go to search your college or university and then go to the alumni section on their page. This will then let you break down various connections by “what they do,” “where they work,” and “where they live.” You can also find additional categories, such as “what they are skilled at,” “where they studied,” and “how you are connected.” and for those of you in, for example, wealth management, where age is a key factor in a targeted search, you can work backwards.

6. Build a good team.

LinkedIn is also an excellent recruiting network. Candidates are 1.8x more likely to apply for a job if they’re familiar with the company. What are prospective candidates looking for when changing companies? Many consider company culture as the most important deciding factor.

To ensure you’re attracting the best employees, take the following steps:

7. Use LinkedIn to hire freelancers.

If your SME is a startup or you simply cannot afford to pay a full-time salary, then you might consider hiring freelancers from the US. Most people are unaware of the free LinkedIn ProFinder tool (in the work tab at the top of your home page) whereby you can receive free offers, post projects, hire reliable professionals and much more. You can also be paired with professionals in your area to get the best freelance experience. There are currently 172 professional services on ProFinder and LinkedIn scrutinises every professional to ensure they’re qualified, you will always be able to find good quality freelancers.

By implementing these LinkedIn tips, in the words of Destiny’s Child, you’re not only gonna work harder, you’re gonna be a survivor and you’re gonna make it!

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