How to leverage LinkedIn for small business professionals

LinkedIn released today new data about its popularity among small business professionals. They looked at how many small business professionals are already LinkedIn members. For the purposes of this study, LinkedIn defined small business professionals as LinkedIn members who currently work at a company that has between 11 to 500 employees. LinkedIn’s data revealed that globally, there are 15,222,964 LinkedIn members who are currently small business professionals. These small business professionals are based in locations like Australia and Zimbabwe, and everywhere in between.

Globally, the top five countries with the most small business professionals on LinkedIn are:

  • United States (There are 6,874,850 LinkedIn members in the U.S. who are small business professionals. Their occupations range from an accessories designer all the way to a yacht broker.)
  • United Kingdom (There are 1,059,303 LinkedIn members in the U.K. who are small business professionals.)
  • India (There are 1,012,058 LinkedIn members in India who are small business professionals.)
  • The Netherlands (There are 597,010 LinkedIn members in the Netherlands who are small business professionals.)
  • Canada (There are 579,253 LinkedIn members in Canada who are small business professionals.)

“Small business professionals leverage LinkedIn in a myriad of creative ways,” said LinkedIn’s connection director, Nicole Williams. “Not only do they leverage the site to make critical hires, but they also use LinkedIn Groups like “mini conferences” where they can learn more about various subjects like advertising and public relations. We’ve also heard of small business professionals relying on their networks to find trusted vendors, partners and even funding for their companies.”

Here are a few of the ways that small business professionals can use the world’s largest professional network to their advantage:

Your work can’t always speak for itself. Remind your employees to spread the word about your business. Growing a small business from scratch is daunting, so surround yourself with loyal employees who will help you expand. Encourage your employees to thoroughly complete their LinkedIn Profiles, so prospective clients know you’ve hired high caliber experts. Make sure they include LinkedIn Skills and specialties in their profiles and also encourage them to participate in LinkedIn Answers. Giving your company more exposure, by demonstrating your employees’ strengths and expertise, will lead to more business leads later on down the line.

Make sure your company is listed – and we’re not talking about in the phone book or on the New York Stock Exchange. Over two million companies have a LinkedIn Company Page – does yours? LinkedIn Company Pages not only provide key statistics about your business and who’s interested in it, for free, but they also help you keep track of the competition. When you follow a competitor’s LinkedIn Company Page, you can find out what talent is joining, and leaving, those companies.

Maintaining a happy customer base offline? Make sure they sing your praises online as well. A happy customer can be an influential advocate for your brand. In the digital world, it’s all about receiving positive online feedback. If you’re already giving your customers great service, then you’re halfway there. Have you received a glowing email about your exemplary service or revolutionary product? Add a free Products & Services tab to your LinkedIn Company Page and ask your customers to write your business a recommendation. Building out this page on LinkedIn will help prospective customers find you and also enable them to understand why your current customers are happy.

About Jacco Valkenburg

Jacco Valkenburg is an international recruitment expert, trainer and author of two books about LinkedIn. He has more than 16 years experience in global recruitment strategies and execution spanning numerous countries for leading companies. As founder of Recruit2 and Recruiter University he provides companies with recruitment and talent management solutions and expertise. His mission is helping companies ‘from good to great staffing’.

2 Comments

  1. Nice Article, certainly it allows small and medium business to gain an even wider exposure to the Global Business community.

    Jacco, do you use Quora at all and what do you think of that service? Its essentially a pumped up version of Linkedin`s Q&A Feature, quite nice.

    Good day.

    -Howard

  2. @Howard I have an account on Quora, http://www.quora.com/Jacco-Valkenburg, but I don’t use it active