In a word: absolutely! If you are still thinking of LinkedIn as a job search website, you are correct, but it is a whole lot more. LinkedIn is the world’s largest online business community with over 160 million members looking to connect, network and do business. Executives from all Fortune 500 companies are registered on LinkedIn. Small businesses need LinkedIn more than anything. It’s essential to create your own Company Page as well, or you will miss out on the opportunity for getting new leads each month. However, LinkedIn is most useful for building vendor, partner and prospect relationships.
For example, if you wanted to use LinkedIn for prospecting, do a search of your target companies, find someone you want to connect with and check their LinkedIn Groups. You can join the group they belong to and send an invitation from there. However, don’t just send blind invitations – give the person a good reason to connect. Don’t neglect to make your own profile the best it can be. LinkedIn is about creating and nurturing relationships – being committed to adding value is the key. Other people, companies and customers are also searching for you and your business.
Recent changes on LinkedIn allow businesses to target their status updates to specific audiences. Anyone seriously marketing business-to-business should use this LinkedIn feature for more relevant connection. You can target company size, industry, function, seniority or geography. To use this feature, your company needs more than 100 followers. LinkedIn provides the opportunity to promote live and virtual events, network with decision makers, build targeted communities with groups, and a lot more.
To be successful on LinkedIn, think it through first. Why are you participating and what benefit does it have for your business? Remember – your marketing tactics should always support your overall marketing strategy.