LinkedIn has a new offering online with the Small Business Resource Center. The site offers “tools, tips, and guidance” for small businesses to get the most out of LinkedIn when using the network for Personal Branding, Marketing, Sales, and Hiring.
LinkedIn has concentrated its small business efforts in these four areas, offering a page for each category and tabs on each page with information on the Essentials, Tips & Best Practices, and Paid Solutions for that objective.
The Essentials tab offers more basic information for using LinkedIn effectively, such as building a strong profile or company page, growing your followers and connections, and engaging on LinkedIn.
The Tips & Best Practices tab links to two places. One is the LinkedIn Small Business Playbook, a guide that contains more detailed information on how to use LinkedIn for Personal Branding, Marketing, Sales, and Hiring, as well as helpful, annotated illustrations that demonstrate how to navigate LinkedIn pages. The playbook also contains tips for beginner, intermediate, and advanced LinkedIn users, as well as daily, weekly, and monthly checklists to help keep small businesses on task and utilizing LinkedIn regularly and efficiently.
The second link connects with a page full of related content and success stories geared toward that particular area. For example, clicking on the best practices and success stories for the Marketing section will take you here.
LinkedIn also offers a Paid Solutions tab that will show you what you can do with LinkedIn’s paid services and pricing plans. If a small business is considering LinkedIn’s paid services, this page makes it easy to compare and contrast the services offered at each price point.
The Small Business Resource Center serves a variety of purposes for LinkedIn:
1. It helps small businesses better utilize LinkedIn to meet their business needs and ensures that LinkedIn remains a useful platform for all businesses.
2. Increase referrals to LinkedIn. If more small businesses find LinkedIn useful and an essential part of their business plan, it increases the potential that they will refer other small businesses.
3. Advertise paid services. LinkedIn has been trying to increase efforts to monetize LinkedIn. By showcasing the paid services and subscriptions that LinkedIn offers for a variety of budgets, LinkedIn can hope to increase the revenue it brings in from businesses who use the platform regularly.
Useful Tips from the LinkedIn Small Business Resource Center:
1. Grow your LinkedIn network by connecting with past and present colleagues, business partners, college alumni, and other contacts who can endorse your skills and experience. Once a connection is made, try to stay in touch. Schedule reminders to start a conversation with certain contacts and see what they’re up to; staying updated will make it easier when you need to reach out to those connections for business. [Source]
2. Share quality content (insightful articles, images, videos, and SlideShare presentations) on your Company Page to help establish trust and expertise with your followers. [Source]
3. Research your sales leads before you meet with them. Review company pages and decision makers’ profiles to help get the information you need to respond to difficult questions and offer specific solutions when you meet and connect with your leads. [Source]
4. For hiring, search LinkedIn with specific keywords that line up with the position and level of experience that you’re looking for. Then, use search filters to narrow down your potential candidates by industry, location, or current company, and zone in on the best targets for the job. [Source]