For micro-entrepreneurs, LinkedIn is a prime resource for marketing your micro-entrepreneurial business and connecting with business owners like you. LinkedIn is designed for business professionals (unlike other social media) so it makes sense to use it to promote your micro-entrepreneurial business.
Set up your LinkedIn micro-entrepreneurial business profile
Signing on to a basic account is free, and the environment at LinkedIn is geared for serious professionals. In fact, the total users reached more than 100 million during 2012, and it’s still growing.
At LinkedIn, you set up your profile, which acts like a résumé (if you are or would like to be someone’s employee) or a bio (if you’re an entrepreneur). Remember that your profile acts like a salesperson on your behalf. You can upload a picture of yourself and list your accomplishments and credentials in your profile.
Making business connections through LinkedIn
LinkedIn allows you to make connections with folks, and they make connections with others. You have the chance to connect with so many others that you may not have considered. You can review your connections’ connections. If you see someone whom you want to be connected, you can ask your connection for an introduction.
For instance, maybe you’re a software salesperson and you see that your connection has a connection who is a purchasing manager for a large real estate property management firm. You have real estate management software that could be perfect for them. This opportunity would be great for you, so ask your connection for an introduction to the purchasing manager.
Join LinkedIn groups
One of the greatest aspects of LinkedIn is in the power of affinity groups. (Affinity groups are groups formed around a shared interest or common goal.) You can find all sorts of groups, ranging from groups of like-minded entrepreneurs and employees to groups tied to political, cultural, economic, and other concerns.
When looking for groups, keep the following in mind:
Find groups to stay informed about your industry or niche.
Find groups where your clients are.
Find groups where they discuss sales and marketing strategies.
Be active in discussions at least weekly to build your personal brand.
Keep track of how others are marketing themselves and if you think they’re doing it well (or not).
Consider starting your own group. Many micro-entrepreneurs have done so to build their brand. You can invite others to participate (such as joint venture partners and/or potential clients).
Maximizing your experience on LinkedIn can benefit your business-building efforts. The more you educate yourself on using the site, the more value you can gain from your time and effort.
LinkedIn has free training resources so that you can become proficient with its functions and benefits. While there, check out the links to “Guide” sites that have specific how-to information for different profiles. You will find guides for small business, entrepreneurs, consultants, and others.