Ask the Experts

Ask the Experts: LinkedIn helps small-business owners build reputation, connect

vbridges@newsobserver.comApril 14, 2014 

Jeremy Sisk, owner of Xperienc4Higher, a Durham small-business marketing firm

Some small-business owners might steer away from LinkedIn because they view it as yet another social media time waster. However, the professional network could be a key tool to garner referrals and connect with decision-makers.

“LinkedIn’s value comes in the form of introductions, referrals and connection-targeted marketing,” said Jeremy Sisk, president of Xperience4Higher, a Durham small-business marketing firm. “It’s also a great place to send a current connection a note and ask to be introduced to a decision-maker they know. It’s also a great referral network.”

Here is Sisk’s edited advice for leveraging LinkedIn.

After building a profile, owners should send connection requests to people they have worked with or know personally. Owners should personalize connection requests to remind the other person how the two know each other.

The site won’t allow anyone to make connection requests with people they don’t know.

Ask clients to give skill endorsements and recommendations, which are shown on the owner’s individual profile.

Review the connection list often, and take the time to send target messages to potential customers on the list. Lead the message with how your company is going to make an impact on their company.

A LinkedIn Premium subscription ranges from about $19.99 a month to about $74.99 a month, and allows owners to see who’s viewing their profile. Follow up on a profile view with a request to talk about how your companies can work together. Make sure the message is cordial and professional.

Private messaging is another valuable tool. LinkedIn offers a set number of private messages per package that allows users to send message to individuals they are not connected to.

This is a great way to connect with decision-makers and others at businesses outside your and your connections’ networks. The key is to make sure the message is tailored to the recipient. Do not send canned, please-work-with-me messages.

Bridges: 919-829-8917; Twitter: @virginiabridges

News & Observer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service