Grow your small business through LinkedIn

Although there are nearly 30 million small businesses in the United States, only half of them make it past the five-year mark.

One way to grow a small business is through LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network. Owners can generate leads, produce sales and hire the best employees to fuel the company’s growth.

The first step is to create a LinkedIn Company Page. The company pages offer more marketing, advertising and recruiting features, making them more effective than a personal profile.

LinkedIn members are 50 percent more likely to buy once they’ve engaged with a business on LinkedIn. However, only 57 percent of companies have pages, and the remaining 43 percent are missing out on valuable resources and ultimately revenue.

As you create the page, select the photos and write the welcoming message, think about the kind of impression you’d like to make among potential customers and employees.

Once you create a company page, it’s important to promote it. Announce it to your clients, employees and personal network. This will help lead to the company’s first followers, who are then able to promote the company page and its content.

Encourage employees to follow the company page. According to Social Media Today reports, content shared by employees receives eight times the engagement as brand shared content.

You can also link the LinkedIn company page in the footer of marketing emails or newsletters, giving it a wider audience. Share the page on your company website as well.

The next step is to share content regularly. The more you post, the more people you can reach and add to your network. The best company pages are updated constantly so visitors have new content to read and share.

Although you may want to start with one post per week, eventually you can pump it up to as many as three posts per day. Create content that’s worth sharing, not just for the sake of posting.

You can also use LinkedIn’s company page analytics to see the top performing posts, the best times to post and which members of your network are the most engaged. That will help lead to better and more opportune posts.

To boost engagement, be sure to add links and images. Posts with links see 45 percent more engagement, while images see a 98 percent increase in engagement.

If you’re wondering what to write about or share, consider this. Seventy-nine percent of buyers say thought leadership is critical for them to determine which companies to follow. Try to provide a unique perspective on your industry, company or product. Talk about the future of the industry or a helpful guide on your product.

As a small business, it’s important to know who you’re targeting. Using LinkedIn is no different. Use the company page’s tools to target your ideal audience. Use profile data to search for LinkedIn members based on geography, education, experience and even connections.

Once you find prospects, visit their profiles. You may be able to find more of your target audience in their endorsements or recent profile views as well.

The next step is building an all-star team. Research shows that 66 percent of candidates care about company culture, and LinkedIn is a great platform to showcase it.

In addition to a company page, consider creating a LinkedIn career page. This allows you to target audiences with a personalized look into your company, jobs and culture. This can help attract the most qualified professionals to your business.

Encourage employees to share open job postings and “day in the life” content, which gives visitors a genuine idea of what it’s like to work in the company.

If you can’t afford the salary of a full-time employee, LinkedIn is a good place to hire freelancers. LinkedIn ProFinder enables business owners to post a project, receive free proposals and hire professionals to take up the endeavor.

ProFinder pairs businesses with local professionals and freelancers. LinkedIn vets all professionals on the platform to ensure they’re qualified.

By using freelancers, you have access to an outside perspective and a broad range of experience without the management overhead of a full-time employee.

Once you employ these tactics on LinkedIn, you’ll be on your way to grow your small business past the five-year mark and beyond.

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