Use LinkedIn to Generate Revenue and Grow Your Small Business

How can linkedIn help small businessesLinkedIn is a good tool. But it’s boring. When was the last time you found something funny in LinkedIn? Yeah. There are articles talking how to use LinkedIn. But most of them are equally boring laundry lists of all LinkedIn can do. Not something that will be useful to you. Some just waste your time. “Talk to [people] on phone” lists LinkedIn’s own blog as one of the things you can do using LinkedIn. That list has no meaning for a small business. As a small business owner, my priorities are simple. Generating revenue is one of the highest priorities I have. Can LinkedIn contribute to that? How?

Using LinkedIn is about how you get in touch with people, and do business with them in various contexts. Below are some practical ways to help you in your small business.

Account opening and lead generation

If you have list of target customers (individuals), titles or companies, search them. You can search by industry, current or previous titles, current or previous companies, within a postal code etc. Get your target list of individuals in this search. Then figure out the most trusted route to those individuals. The most trusted route is the connection

to the target through a first degree connection. You could preferably ask for a referral and you have a leg-in the company.

Finding the decision makers and influencers

When you sell to large corporations, understanding who you are talking to and who the decision maker/influencer will help you strategize your sale. There’s no use selling to someone who can’t do much. Using LinkedIn, you can find out who the decision maker is and could have alternative ways to reach them. You can do it by looking at job titles in an organization. But very often, that gives you partial and incorrect information. You can get more accurate and ‘tacit’ information by gathering information from others in the company.

Accumulate reputation and make referrals long lasting

Recommendations feature in LinkedIn has an eBay or p2w2 effect on your reputation. All your contacts can see it and are on for a long time. It’s an accumulation of your online reputation. When you delight a client, ask them for a LinkedIn recommendation. Those who visit your profile can see your reputation. In the offline world, a referral you get can only fetch you a few contracts. But here, you can make the recommendation long lasting and touch many more than just a few referrals. How can LinkedIn help small businesses and entrepreneurs?

Follow your customers and de-risk from personnel changes

With LinkedIn, when your clients shift from one company to another, they move with you because you connect with the person – not the company. That’s good for you. With your contact’s move, there’s a known person in the new company that gets your leg into the company (that’s assuming you have good terms with the client. If you have bad reputation, it moves across companies too.)

Using the same strategy to know the ‘influencers,’ i.e. making your connection wide within the company so that when your key contact leaves the company, you have others to fallback on. You de-risk your account from personnel changes.

The above are the ways you can generate revenue. If you are keen on exploring more about this, I suggest you read this eBook (Can LinkedIn increase your sales) published by Jill Konrath. Pages 5-8 have the crux of what this eBook has to offer. It’s worth the read.

Tap into push button expertise; position yourself as a subject matter expert

LinkedIn Answers has been reasonably successful. We wrote about it in our previous post (5 good marketing and HR websites for a small business). If you ask a question related to your business, you can be reasonably certain that you get multiple good answers. As a small business, you have many questions and few answers. You can use LinkedIn Answers to tap into expertise of many people. Just ask.

Alternately, you can position yourself as a subject matter expert in the subject you want to be viewed as an expert and answer questions posed by others. The more ‘best answers’ you accumulate, the better you will be treated an expert in your subject.

In my opinion, the above covers the ‘high impact items’ of how LinkedIn can help small businesses. That gives you 80% of the value understanding 20% of the items. If you are really interested looking for a laundry list (other other 80%) of all you can do on LinkedIn, here are a few links that will help you do just that.

20 Ways to Use LinkedIn Productively 20 Ways to Use LinkedIn Productively

Ten Ways to Use LinkedIn Guy Kawasaki's article on LinkedIn

The Right Way to Use LinkedIn The Right Way to Use LinkedIn

How can LinkedIn help your small business

Picture credits: 1. LinkedIn (top): Mario Sundar 2. Enlightening (middle): Jurvetson 3. Sunset & the Thinker (bottom): Esparta

11 Replies to “Use LinkedIn to Generate Revenue and Grow Your Small Business”

  1. I haven’t done anything my LinkedIn since I opened my account. You’ve convinced me I need to press beyond the boredom and make use of this site.
    Tina T

  2. What a great blog! Thanks! I discovered you through your comment on LinkedIn. I will be regularly reading your blog and browsing through older posts.

    There is so much to learn/know about internet marketing and it can be overwhelming. I have been focusing on blogging for the last month as I feel it is a great tool as well.


    Sheila Mikulin, M.A.

  3. Dear Sheila, thanks a ton for visiting p2w2. I am glad you liked the blog! Please do tell us how we can improve and what else we write on.

    Thanks once again!

  4. I really agree with this that Linked In is a great tool for business men, its can help to create small social network that can also promote your business and globally connect with other business enterpreneurs.

  5. ya i am totally agree with you that linkedin is pretty decent tool to promote your business in order to genrate revenue. Infact socail marketing has got prime importance in web business promotion.

  6. Small business

    1) Often we forget the little guy, the SMB, in our discussions of the comings and goings of the Internet marketing industry. Sure there are times like this when a report surfaces talking about their issues and concerns but, for the most part, we like to talk about big brands and how they do the Internet marketing thing well or not so well……..

  7. Small business
    5) With Facebook and Twitter being among the leaders of the Social networks, marketing as a small business is being transformed..
    Respondents according to the Vertical Response survey appear to need some differentiation with the use of SE marketing and Social media Marketing.

  8. Most people know that LinkedIn is a great Social Networkign tool but few know how to fully utilize it. This article provides interesting hints which can help one understand LinkedIn better.


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