If you are a small business owner and LinkedIn is not a part of your marketing plan you are completely missing the boat.  In this article, I share 5 growth hacks to help you better leverage LinkedIn marketing to grow your businesses.

Unlike most of the fluffy articles online that are written by people who rarely practice what they preach.  I have personally leveraged and continue to utilize all five of these strategies to grow my various business ventures. 

1. Build your personal/corporate brand

Years ago I would have laughed at you if you said it’s important to build your “personal brand” but today it’s critical for small business owners, consultants, and sales leaders to develop a brand.

Why?  Because people buy from people they know, like and trust and with the proliferation of social media and the backstage access it gives buyers, it’s more important than ever to build a successful brand.

Whether you like it or not prospects, customers, vendors and virtually anyone you meet in business can and will most likely look you up your social media profile.  At that moment you have an opportunity to impact their first impression both good or bad!  

In my free book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Successful LinkedIn Users”, I share key strategies to help you make a good first impression on LinkedIn.

Here are a few key features designed to help you make a good first impression and enhance your personal brand on LinkedIn.

  • Good profile picture
  • Unique custom header image
  • Compelling headline
  • Interesting Summary
  • Multimedia including images, videos & utilizing SlideShare
  • Powerful recommendations
  • Honors/Awards
  • Targeted blog posts via blogging platform (Pulse)

Here is a link to more LinkedIn branding resources you might helpful.

2. Generate highly targeted sales leads w/o an advertising budget

If you sell to other businesses (B2B,) LinkedIn can be a goldmine if you just know how and where to dig. The great part for startups and small businesses is the fact that you do not need an advertising budget or knowledge about online advertising, PPC or media buying to start generated targeted leads.

There are 3 keys to generating highly targeted leads on LinkedIn.

  • Optimize your LinkedIn profile to ensure you make a good 1st impression.
  • Take time to define your exact target market before you start
  • Learn how to use the advanced search features
  • Connect with the intent of providing value versus pitching your product or service.

Here’s a great resource on LinkedIn marketing that you might want to check out.

3. Get Free PR by connecting with the media and influencers

Wouldn’t it be awesome if you or your business got featured on Inc.com, Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Magazine or any of the thousands of high traffic blogs or podcasts online?

If you answered YES, then I have good news.  LinkedIn can help you get there. You might be surprised to hear that in the last 12 months LinkedIn has helped me to get interviewed on 20+ podcasts, invited to speak at live events and featured in Huffington Post.

There are 3 things to keep in mind when connecting with the media via LinkedIn

  • Using a sincere compliment to connect or start the conversation is a great icebreaker
  • Focus on adding value for the influencer and remember it’s not about you.
  • Share their content regularly and quote them in your content.
  • Be persistent but don’t be a pest.
  • Just like the premise behind the best-selling book “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook” by Gary Vaynerchuk make sure you give value at least 3 times before you ask for anything!

4. Build your email list

I know, I know you’re sick of hearing how important it is to build your email list…but it’s true.  What’s weird is you rarely hear anyone talk about using LinkedIn to build their email list. The cool part about the modern version of LinkedIn is that user engagement is driven by content and where there is content there are opportunities to build your email list.

There are 4 main areas you need to focus on to get more optins for your email list.

  • Sharing content via LinkedIn updates
  • Publishing content w/ LinkedIn blogging platform
  • Offering a free and compelling lead magnet
  • Creating your own LinkedIn group

5. Hiring top talent

Smart business owners know that they are only as good as their team and because of that, hiring top talent can be both challenging and expensive.  This is where LinkedIn made its name, by connecting people looking to hire, recruiters and top talent from around the world.  In my various companies, I have hired 100’s of employees and contractors through LinkedIn and you can too.

Here are 4 keys to consider when hiring top talent.

  • Make sure to build out a robust LinkedIn company page w/ regular content updates
  • Expand your network beyond just potential customers and start connecting with and developing relationships with people you’d love to hire.  Even if they are not looking for a job right now…because statistically speaking, that day will come!
  • Leverage advanced search and Boolean searches to find top talent
  • Don’t be afraid to use LinkedIn’s job postings when you’re actively hiring.

With over 433 million users worldwide and 2 new users joining every second, small businesses can’t afford to miss out on all that LinkedIn has to offer.  My recommendation is simple, get out of your comfort zone and give it a try.

I write regularly on the topics of LinkedIn marketing, social selling and B2B lead generation on my blog, so check it out and let me know how I can help. www.AskdennisBrown.comOpinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.

Dennis Brown
Dennis Brown is a 6X Inc. 500/5000 honoree and serial entrepreneur who has built 3 multi-million dollar businesses in his 20+ year career. He’s the author of “The 7 Habits of Highly Successful LinkedIn Users” and is well known for his LinkedIn marketing and social selling expertise. Dennis is also a speaker, author and blogger that has been featured on Huffington Post & dozens of top business related podcasts.

Dennis now consults with entrepreneurs, consultants and sales leaders to help them generate more leads, more customers and more profits with his LinkedIn marketing system. Check out his blog at www.AskDennisBrown.com