4 Ways Entrepreneurs Can Make the Most Out of Their LinkedIn Account
LinkedIn, to a smart entrepreneur, is more than just a set of resumes. It’s a powerful tool, one that can actually rival Facebook and Twitter in terms of impact on a startup. LinkedIn is full of useful information and while it’s primarily filled with professionals, it’s still a social network that can serve as a marketing point. Here are a few ways you can up your startup game using LinkedIn.
1. Advertise on LinkedIn
The average user doesn’t know this, but you can actually promote things on LinkedIn. It actually has media options similar to Facebook’s advertising service. It’s just that your audience is full of professionals rather than running the gamut of markets. You can have your ads target specific markets using criteria like job titles, industries, and company sizes.
Using LinkedIn to advertise is similar to promoting your Facebook page. Break down the criteria and make it as specific as possible. Break it down geographically as well if your offering is limited. Keep in mind that while it offers a robust advertising option that you’re still marketing to professionals. If your service doesn’t cater to them, this may not be the best use of LinkedIn.
2. Business Development
Finding new customers is more than just advertising in the right place. Sometimes, it’s less about promoting your startup and your product and more about promoting who you are. Your personal brand and authority can lend your product trustworthiness. That could be all someone needs to take a chance on something new.
Consultancy businesses, for example, can use LinkedIn as a way to advertise the various skillsets they have available. Normal ads won’t work as they’re often too quick or short and can’t deliver the required amount of information clients would want. Even being available to answer a few questions about your industry can get you clients when advertisements would’ve had no effect.
3. Networking and Hiring
Many entrepreneurs around the critical problem of finding the right people. Agencies can only go so far, and sometimes you need more than a freelancer’s commitment for the startup. That’s where LinkedIn comes in. When you want a specialist, go to LinkedIn. Think of it as a catalog. Not everyone may be for hire, but even those profiles are useful as they can help you get an idea of what you want or what to expect from other candidates.
Similarly, you can use it to develop your contacts list. Just because you can’t hire them for the startup doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get to know them. Think about people you may need in the future and seek them out. You can also use your current contacts as ways to meet new people. Ask the people in your list to help you with a warm introduction whenever possible. Cold calls can be annoying. An introduction from an authority can serve as a foot in the door.
4. Studying the Competition
Information is power. All the money in the world can’t make up for information. If you know more about the competition than they do about you, you have an advantage. You know what they can do and they don’t know what you can do. This allows for smarter and more directed disruptive efforts while they have to go with a wide-spread approach if they want to counter your product.
You’d be surprised at the kind of information that’s available online. For example, you can find out how many employees the competition has relative to six months ago. From there, you can discover how well they’re growing. Knowing the kind of employees they’re hiring can also indicate how they’re innovating their product. Trawling LinkedIn for information may not be as dramatic as the Bond movies, but it’s just as effective and a good sight more legal.
If you’re down with a touch of dirty business, you can also use LinkedIn to find and snipe their best employees. Headhunting and turning them to your side can easily be the difference between two close companies. Just be wary – if they’re willing to defect to your side, they may be inclined to jump at the next offer that comes their way.
LinkedIn is more than just a professional social network filled with resumes. It’s a powerful tool that savvy entrepreneurs can use to get the edge they need to succeed. It’s full of information. Use it properly, and your startup will profit.