It’s time to dig into LinkedIn. This is why solo entrepreneurs and small business owners need to be on this influential platform.
I initially explored LinkedIn when it first launched in 2003, but I did not stick around for very long because LinkedIn was not a happening place to be back then.
In 2003, LinkedIn had 81,000 members and by the end of 2004, 500,000. Facebook launched in 2004 and hit 1,000,000 users by the end of its first year. Five years later, by the start of the “Great Recession,” Facebook had grown to 100 million users compared to LinkedIn’s 40 million. Between 2009 and 2012, Facebook would acquire 1 billion users while LinkedIn limped along to 187 million users. Yet, it was during this time frame that I saw how well people were starting to leverage the potential of LinkedIn for career and business growth.
Today LinkedIn’s 800 million members may not compare to Facebook’s billions, but LinkedIn holds its own as a powerful tool for career and business reach and growth.
How Can I Leverage LinkedIn for My Career or Business Growth?
As a coach I have often worked with 3 types of solo entrepreneurs/small and medium sized business owners: (1) those who don’t understand the full potential of a social media presence, (2) those who do, but don’t not see the value of LinkedIn, and (3) those who see the value of social media and LinkedIn, but don’t know how to leverage them.
A question I am frequently asked is “how do I know if LinkedIn is right for my business?” Many of the clients I work with don’t have a lot of time or money to invest in their social media game and want to understand how to get the most from of their limited time and money.
For some businesses, investing more time into social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest, and more, may be the way to go compared to LinkedIn and, for others, LinkedIn may be the place to be. For most, if not all, solo entrepreneurs and business owners, even a small investment of time or money on LinkedIn would be a wise investment. I recommend to my clients that if they came across a business offering a service they are considering, they should head over to LinkedIn and find the business owner’s LinkedIn profile and business page. It could be be that customers may find your business on Instagram first, but LinkedIn can be a place where a potential client or customer checks you out and cross-references your credibility.
Today, I suggest that having a credible and active LinkedIn presence should be part of the most every entrepreneur and business owner’s strategy, sometimes as a leading actor and other times in a supporting role.
The Case for Having a Strong LinkedIn Presence
With hundreds of millions of members and 57 million companies represented on LinkedIn, there is an audience for almost every business. I have worked with a multitude of clients in sectors and industries ranging from beauty to finance, a janitorial service, a sustainable manufacturer, engineering, food services, technology, healthcare and more. Each of these businesses found there was a place for them on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a great source of research and information which can be leveraged to be discovered and to find or create opportunities.
Get Started Improving Your LinkedIn Opportunities Today
There are many layers to building a great LinkedIn presence. If you want be a top influencer you will need to invest a good chunk of time to create content and nurture your presence. Massive growth on social media requires an investment in focus and strategy (and money and luck). For many solo entrepreneurs and small business owners, time and money are often in short supply. The good news is that you don’t have to go viral or spend excessive amounts of time and energy to improve your business success using LinkedIn. Small changes can support your business strategy and give you and your business a boost.
In a series of articles, I am going to share a number of simple, quick tips you can implement in a few minutes. If you can invest even as little as 10 to 20 minutes a day several days a week, you can start to build a stronger LinkedIn presence to support your career and business growth.
If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile or have not visited your LinkedIn profile in a while, you will need to invest at little time up front. Set aside 30 to 60 minutes to build and review your profile to ensure your basic content and settings are up-to-date.
Today’s quick tip! Have you added your “Providing Services” section to your LinkedIn profile yet? In less than 5 minutes you can create this section and add a list of business services you provide, and in another 5 minutes you can reach out and ask for endorsements from clients or customers.
Why should you add this? LinkedIn has indicated they wish to grow to 3 billion users in the next few years, so they are building a marketplace (think Amazon for business services) to become the go-to place for business services in the world. Within the marketplace your services can be showcased and you will be able to obtain endorsements and ratings. Each year you will receive 20 credits that allow you to “request” an endorsement from another LinkedIn member. The sooner you begin, the more endorsements you can obtain for the market place.
To get started, head over to your LinkedIn profile, “View Profile” view. Below your picture select the option to enable the “Providing Services” (next to the options “open to work”). You can also visit the LinkedIn “Services Market Page” (select “Work” from the LinkedIn menu next to your “Me” icon).
Be prepared to add a brief 500-character description of your services and then select 10 items you are available to provide services on. Be very conscious of the 10 services you will select, as you will be asking clients to endorse you for these services. You don’t need to select all 10 at first, perhaps begin with 5 and add more later.
Currently the selection of services is limited 16 categories with multiple services listed below each category. The categories include:
- Coaching and Mentoring
- Home Improvement
- Information Technology
- Real Estate
- Software Development
Within these categories you select a total of 10 services you want to be found and endorsed for. You can select a specific region you provide services in and add if you are available for remote or onsite or both. You can also add images to help your services page be more appealing.
There are a myriad of LinkedIn features that can help you showcase your business and services. I will be sharing more tips soon!