If you are like many other small business owners, you may have reservations about using LinkedIn to put your brand on the map online. Using LinkedIn, of course, has its share of advantages that you should be aware of and that you should consider before deciding whether to join or not.
What Do You Want To Achieve Through LinkedIn?
Like any tool, LinkedIn is only as useful as the skill of the person operating it. If you sign up for LinkedIn and immediately expect to see thousands of orders flying in, hundreds of job applicants and a multinational promotional deal on the table, your expectations may be too high for the moment.
When using LinkedIn, you want to clearly identify what the scope of your usage is. That usage can fall into any of the following categories:
• Connecting With New Business Partners - Perhaps you need product distribution in an area where you have no influence. LinkedIn can provide you with the contact information you need to make a presentation to the decision makers in charge there.
• Hiring New Employees - If you have specific needs for new employees to fill, LinkedIn has powerful filters that make it easy to narrow your search down and find exactly the people who carry those set of skills, live in your area and are available to work.
• Communicating With Your Audience - If you are a brand that is fortunate enough to retain a following that you would like to see grow, then LinkedIn offers you a great number of tools that you can use to cater to your audience and give them content and material to share.
After you have identified your goals, it is time to discuss the pros and cons of using LinkedIn.
Clearly, the benefit of using a site like this is that you have a busy web portal readily available to help you raise awareness of your brand, service and products without costing you anything.
You can strengthen the connection with your existing contacts, find new employees and contact potential business partners at the click of a button, maximizing your efficiency and reducing waste.
Disadvantages are hard to come by, but they may appear if LinkedIn is not properly used. For instance, it may be tempting to spend all of your time on the website, sending generic presentations to every person who could possibly benefit from your service. This would hurt more than it helps, since it would feel like spam and associate your brand with that feeling.
It should be pointed out that most LinkedIn users spend only a few hours a week on the site, yet, they enjoy enormous benefits thanks to having built an effective profile that does most of the work for them.
If you approach LinkedIn this way, it is always a good idea to sign up. To make sure you get the most out of your membership, it will not hurt to benefit from the services of an online marketing consultant... at least until you get the hang of it.
We know most people aren't ready to invest in that level of service, so we created a Kickstart Toolkit to help you build an incredible effective LinkedIn presence on your own. Learn more below.