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A smart phone with the LinkedIn logo next to some stationary - a LinkedIn for small business workspace. Saltoria Marketing logo on the bottom right

LinkedIn for small businesses: build your brand and expand your network

Jun 4, 2021 | Content Marketing, Tips for small businesses

We started our small business back in Summer 2020 by being very modest with our marketing approach. At that time, we wanted to do the biggest and greatest campaign of our career but realistically, we didn’t have the time or the budget to do so. Therefore, we decided to focus our efforts on LinkedIn – a great tool for small businesses looking to generate awareness and build a network of potential clients and partners.

It was clear that this was a great way to reconnect with old colleagues and other people in our network. On top of this, it was a great way to have genuine and quick chats with them about our new business.

We have since seen 80% of our business come through this channel. This is why we believe LinkedIn is a great tool for small businesses.

From Sally Day, Co-fOunder and Director of Saltoria marketing

It’s a replacement to the water cooler office chats

Now, LinkedIn has become the replacement to the water cooler office chats, the replacement to networking events, the new version of quick coffee runs with your bestie from accounts, and the overheard conversations on the tube. This is not just the place for professional chit chat though…we believe it’s slowly become a community of supportive and caring people that actually want to look out for each other as well as support their own business.

Why not connect, engage, ask questions and be open to debate? Whilst we never want this space to be Facebook…LinkedIn has changed to become less formal, less serious and a great platform for small businesses to be active on. We will always be professional, friendly and fair, but we should be able to comment with an opinion without feeling like we’re in a virtual interview.

A watercooler in an office - LinkedIn has become the replacement to the water cooler office chats

It’s is a great way to develop your brand…

Over time, we have realised that LinkedIn has been a great place to develop and improve our tone of voice and style. LinkedIn is the perfect place for small businesses to craft their brand personality and learn and improve as they go. We want to be friendly, smart and attentive – we want people to know us as a supportive brand. That’s why LinkedIn has been the best way to develop this part of Saltoria Marketing. We can give our free advice through our articles, we can share tips and comments on other posts and we can openly be part of other conversations without intruding.

At Saltoria, we are marketers through and through and we have always truly admired our sales colleagues as pitching and selling just doesn’t come naturally to us. We feel uncomfortable being salespeople and it just doesn’t come across naturally (and if you feel uncomfortable it’s likely that the person you’re talking to doesn’t feel comfortable too!). Whereas LinkedIn encourages marketers to naturally be a bit more salesy but without being too pushy or competitive. Without realising, we have actually created a really authentic approach to business development that fully embodies our brand ethos. We are simple, direct and friendly and we want to help.

Bringing your ‘whole-self’…

Further to this, we believe that LinkedIn has become more about ‘bringing your whole self to work’. We are both private people and we get that you might not want to share personal stuff in a professional space. Sometimes though, it’s really important to challenge things and discuss topics that you wouldn’t usually touch on at work. LinkedIn is actually a great way to test the waters or to get quick insights and feedback. A professional focus group some might say!

A good example might be the increasingly important and meaningful conversations around mental health in the workplace. Over the last few years, this has rightfully become a big campaign for change. However, in our working careers, it hasn’t always been like that. Speaking of mental health may feel uncomfortable at times. Some people are scared to offend or use the wrong language. Others just feel like it’s intruding to discuss these issues with their colleagues.

This subject of course shouldn’t be linked to making sales – but it’s about being brave around subjects and building meaningful and important conversations with your network. We want to create a brand that creates good and LinkedIn is a great space to do this. LinkedIn is a genuinely powerful tool and if we can engage for change to a wider and more diverse audience…then that has to be a wonderful thing.

Developing your brand

You might already think LinkedIn is an awesome tool for small businesses and that’s why you’re here reading this. We genuinely think the pandemic has transformed LinkedIn into a place where you can be yourself more. You can safely brainstorm AND you can develop your brand in a comfortable way and learn tons along the way.

Get out there! Comment on people’s posts and say what you’d say if you were in the kitchen of your office. Most of all, continue to be kind and compassionate.

We are all being challenged right now, but there are ways we can easily and simply support each other and create some version of a community to get us through to the other side!

Person on their phone about to press a social media icon - developing LinkedIn for small business

Our quick ten top tips to make the most of LinkedIn as a small business…

1. Create an extraordinary profile.

For starters, there’s lots we could say about the importance of personal branding (see our article on ‘How to define your personal brand‘ for more details about this). Your profile isn’t just your CV, it’s your chance to impress and showcase your expertise and your personality. In other words, as a business owner, you must focus on this section of your LinkedIn page! Start building up your testimonials, adding more descriptions and sprucing up the look and feel (new profile photo/header image). It all makes a difference and will attract business connections. 

2. Create your own LinkedIn articles.

Secondly, give out some free stuff (advice!) and intrigue your audience whilst showcasing a bit of your expertise. 

3. Engage with your customers.

Thirdly, ask questions, comment, share, join in and create a name for yourself. 

4. Share interesting articles/insights.

And ask a question to your network. Try to create a conversation and become the ‘go to’ person for the latest news in your industry. 

5. Follow relevant companies.

Follow companies and individuals that you want to work with. After that, be brave and talk to them, learn with them. 

6. Explore LinkedIn Groups.

This is a great way to engage with a really targeted group and get instant feedback.

7. Discover LinkedIn Learning.

There are some great short courses to quickly upskill as you now need to wear all the hats!

8. Send personalised messages.

Send them to old colleagues and old contacts. ‘Personalised’ is the most important word in this sentence. For example, you can write a genuine and reciprocal note to your old contacts. Try to be open to where it could take you.

9. Check out LinkedIn news.

This is a great place to learn about what’s happening in the world of work right now. Above all, this might help you improve your business approach and target businesses as customers in a better way. Learn about what’s relevant now and become part of the conversation by commenting and adding to the story. 

10, Check out events.

More and more people are promoting events (IRL & virtual) through LinkedIn. Most importantly, some events are even hosted on LinkedIn. This means you can engage with attendees before, during and after the event. A great networking opportunity for you and your business. 

We love LinkedIn – did you get that?!

In conclusion, we hope this article has convinced you that you need to improve your LinkedIn strategy! If that’s the case, we are here to help. We can support you with many things, from improving your personal profile through a tailored social media calendar workshop to developing a company networking plan. This is a cost-effective space to make an impact for your business! Let’s have a virtual coffee and make some plans for making this year count. Book your free 45 mins consultation with us today! Alternatively, sign up to a personalised social media calendar workshop and learn how to create compelling content for your LinkedIn pages!

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