First things first: as a small business owner, you should be active on LinkedIn. If you are not – create an account right now! Yes, right now.
The beauty of LinkedIn is that it is full of resources. You can join groups that are full of professionals in your industry. Then you can use these groups to get product or service feedback, network, and even connect with future business partners or employees. In addition to creating a personal LinkedIn account, you should also establish a company page on LinkedIn for your business.
If you are considering starting a group on LinkedIn, here are some tips that will help you take full advantage of all of LinkedIn’s opportunities as a group leader.
If you choose to begin your own LinkedIn group, you have the option of creating a closed or open group. An open group allows any member to contribute and is visible to the public. A closed group is private and requires a user to be accepted to the group before contributing. When making your choice, consider that an open group will clearly grow faster, but it is also likely the group could be prone to spam. Alternatively, a closed group will grow more gradually. Yet, the members will be much more targeted. Consider how you want your group to be seen and used when making this decision.
Remember that you started this group, so you must be a part of it. Be active and let your presence be known to your members – it will help you network rapidly.
As the leader of the group, remember that you can make rules – this is a power that should be taken seriously. If there is an unruly member of the group, you can remove them. On the flip side, if there is a member that is a great contributor to your group, be sure to acknowledge them!
One huge advantage to creating a group is that you can send weekly announcements out to your members! This is an opportunity for you to contact your members directly. Just be careful to fill those messages with useful information – you want to ensure that your followers actually engage with the message (not just overlook it as spam).
LinkedIn is becoming a giant resource in marketing and business development. Use it correctly to see what it can do for you.