The Benefits of LinkedIn for SMEs

Linkedin for SMEs

Find out the 7 Benefits of LinkedIn for your SME

With over 259 million users in over 200 countries LinkedIn is  the world’s largest professional social network. It may be smaller than the mighty Facebook or Twitter, But it has a particular niche focus; professional networking. It is of particular benefit to the SME sector as it can be used to develop business contacts or to develop sales leads, particularly if you sell to other businesses or want to increase your customer engagement.

Why LinkedIn works for SME’s

LinkedIn has a valuable demographic for marketers and an older one at that with 79% of its members being over 35 and their average age is 44. This is unsurprising for a professional network. It’s members tend to be senior, affluent, influential, open for business and open to doing business with you online.

Building Business Connections.
Whether it’s getting back in touch with old colleagues or meeting new contacts, LinkedIn is like a big business networking party where everyone is handing out business cards and “you must meet colleague x” or “I’m looking for a graphic designer can you recommend someone?” Use it to tell people what you do, but also for intros and recruitment. In addition it is a useful way to make connections with the key decision makers at organisations you want to work with.
LinkedIn shows you a number of contacts-but unlike Facebook, also calculates a number of potential contacts in your wider network of friends of friends who maybe of some benefit to you or your business.
These contacts are a  powerful resource of ready compiled database of professionals who are likely to be within your broad areas of interest, who you are not directly connected to, but to whom you have the potential to engage with via people you do know and half formed professional relationships with. This is like real-life business networking except that you can see which people your business contacts know in front of you on your screen, and decide who you think might be useful for you to know.

Promoting your Business.
You can promote your business with adverts but these can become expensive. The two best tools to promote your business on LinkedIn are free; company pages to promote your brand and make connections. People can “follow” company pages and receive your “company updates”, as well as use them to learn more about your company , your products and services and your job opportunities. Groups are useful as topic based communities join groups in your area of interest and post relevant messages to them. Then create your own to engage your community of interest with useful information and build a “list” of members.

Seven benefits of company pages On LinkedIn:

Brand Awareness
If you have employees, it is likely that they will list their employer on their LinkedIn profiles. Anyone who connects with their profile may also click on the link to their employer- which will take them straight to your company page.

Product Awareness.
You can talk about what your business has to offer in a general sense on your company page-but you can also list discrete products and services and you can also see how many of their connections have recommend them.

Search engine visibility  
LinkedIn has it’s own search facility for finding companies and jobs but these will also show up in search engine results.

Follower engagement
Company pages allow status updates , known as “company updates” these can include images, video, presentations and any sort of file. Followers can like, comment or share your updates. This is a bit like the status targeting function on Facebook pages, except you don’t need 5000 followers first.

Lead generation
Status updates and content sharing particularly when coupled with a compelling call to action result in traffic being driven to your website. These can then be used to produce leads for future business for your company.

Recommendations

Customers can add recommendations which appear on your page, this adds creditability to the goods and services you are offering showing authentic endorsement from trusted followers and connections, which can be of great importance for small and medium size business who may wish to establish themselves in expanding markets.

Market Research

Followers of your company page are likely to be among your strongest advocates and interested in what you do next. Use your “company updates” to share information about upcoming products and invite them to contribute to their customer related or professional input.

Overall LinkedIn is a great tool for the SME sector and it’s recent simplifying of  services means it’s now more easier then ever for businesses and professional to build their online reputation while having the potential to be found and hired for their skills and experience.

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Posted on March 25, 2014, in Digital Marketing, LinkedIn, Social Media Marketing and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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