launch their own groups, some specifically on
their products and/or services. Since many
groups are “noisy,” maybe because of sales
solicitations or spamming, invitation-only
membership helps curtail those problems.
Richter carefully screens for groups that
supply helpful, focused information and where
he can provide expert advice. Often, a group
member will personally contact such “thought
leaders,” which may eventually lead to sales.
“I’ve received indirect value when I’ve
answered a question in a group,” says Richter,
“because it helps build my brand.”
LinkedIn itself launched a small-business
group called Succeed, which posts hundreds of
moderated discussion topics ranging from the
inspirational to practical how-to advice, says
Amy Chen, Succeed’s community manager
and a Costco member. As with all LinkedIn
groups, Succeed members can poll others to
gauge their thoughts on selected subjects.
“If members share a problem,” says Chen,
“we might be able to crowdsource a solution.”
Ads. Small firms might seize attention
through LinkedIn ads that could appear, for
example, on targeted members’ home pages
or groups. A business might start with a self-service ad tailored to an audience based on
such factors as geography, industry, company
name, job function, seniority and LinkedIn
group. Most small enterprises choose a cost-per-click option that directs members, for
instance, to their company page or website.
“That’s very cost advantageous, because
you’re only paying for results,” says Khavinson.
While the above tools and others—
including premium subscription services—
may offer benefits, small firms should
examine LinkedIn as they would other social
media, then prioritize which functions, if any,
best suit their needs. Users can take LinkedIn’s
free webinars on the site to learn how to best
use the network.
For Simin Foster, these tools were a clear
difference maker for her Whole Earth Expo.
“People said they found us through
LinkedIn,” she says, “and I’m happy with the
Harvey Meyer is a freelancer who writes for a
variety of business, consumer, health and
SETTING UP A LinkedIn account is easy.
Just go to www.linkedin.com and register.
Several resources on the site can help
you optimize it for your business. Scroll to the
bottom of your main page and click on “Help
Center,” then enter a topic in the search box,
such as “company page” and “groups.”
Also, try these links:
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