I am amazed by how many small businesses do not utilize social media to the maximum. Think about it: social media, like the internet two decades ago, allows any business to compete with larger, more established entities. Come on, what are you waiting for?
What further amazes me is how few small businesses maximize their presence on LinkedIn and instead just follow the trend of Facebook and Twitter. Why would a niche B2B company establish a Facebook Fan Page when their potential customers may not be social on Facebook yet are already used to networking on LinkedIn? I’m confused.
That’s why, as a social media strategist, I took the approach of first blogging and thereafter writing my first book on LinkedIn, not the other popular sites. In fact, as I said in my recent speech at Gravity Summit at UCLA, “LinkedIn is Your Hub for B2B Social Media Marketing.” And I meant it.
Keeping that theme in mind, and combined with a recent experience I had looking for a vendor on LinkedIn, I wanted to share advice with you small business owners of why you’re not getting inbound leads from your presence on the social networking site. Ladies and gentlemen, this is free consulting, so please heed my advice!
We all know that we are spending more and more time on social media, and thus we are now looking at social media as a huge resource of information. Going beyond that, when we look for someone to do business with, we also tend to use social media as part of that process. I personally use LinkedIn over Google whenever I am looking for a new vendor. Why? Because at least I know who I am doing business with! But if you are not displaying yourself on LinkedIn with the utmost in authenticity as a trusted person to do business with, I definitely will NOT do business with you.
This should give you some good background into my thought process. Let’s move on to the 12 reasons why your small business isn’t getting leads from LinkedIn: (note that this is only advice on your Profile…there is lots more advice that I can provide you if you are interested!)
1 – You’re Not on LinkedIn
How can you, as a small business owner, not even be on the biggest social networking site for professionals? Even if you are a B2C company, don’t you have partner and vendor relationships with other companies? Don’t you want to be creating alliances with other businesses? There are many reasons why every B2C company also have a B2B side to them, and this is the reason why there is no excuse for not being on LinkedIn. You are simply missing out on the potential.
2 – Who are You?
If you don’t have a photo on your profile, you are invisible. Who wants to do business with the Invisible Man? Not me! And not many of your potential customers!
3 – It’s All About LOCATION. LOCATION. LOCATION.
Let me give an example here. I live in Orange County, California. I look for service providers close to my zip code. I only contact those that display “Orange County, California” on their profiles. Let’s say you live in Los Angeles County but actually have your office in Orange County…which zip code are you using for your LinkedIn Profile? If you are not using your BUSINESS zip code, you are misrepresenting yourself…and missing out on potential business. Fix it. Now.
4 – What Industry are You in?
If I am looking for a bookkeeper, I am searching in the “Accounting” industry. Perhaps you are a bookkeeper and want to upsell consulting services and choose “Financial Services” or “Management Consultant” for your industry. You are only going to get the leads that are aligned with your industry, so choose carefully!
5 – Did You Attend School?
It still amazes me how many people skip over this section of their LinkedIn Profile. Education is another data point that proves that you are “real.” Especially if you work in an industry where a college degree is important, being skimpy on this section means that potential leads are NOT going to contact you.
6 – What? No Recommendations?!?!? Really?
Seriously. You’ve been in business for several years. You have happy clients that you refer potential customers to. Yet you don’t have any LinkedIn Recommendations? You do have clients that would be happy to write them for you, right? I hope so! By the way, unless you have 3 Recommendations your profile does not show up as being “100% complete,” so this is another reason why every small business owner should have at least 3 LinkedIn Recommendations!
7 – Why Aren’t You Connected?
I don’t care what your personal policy is: LinkedIn is a database that will help you get found if people are looking for you. But guess what? If you don’t have enough connections you aren’t going to be found nearly as often. Also, as a professional who has a long list of people that you have gone to school with, personally know, done business with, or worked together with, can’t you get your LinkedIn Connections number up to at least 100? It scares me when I see a small business owner on with only a few connections…are they for real? Why don’t they have more connections? It raises too many questions to have an over-limiting policy. And if you signed up and forgot about it, you might as well delete your profile because an inactive profile is only working against you and is a form of negative advertisement. Maximize or delete: There is no middle road in social media. And don’t make me have to pay to contact you by sending you an InMail: You should be paying me for helping you get connected! Done deal?
8 – Does Your Company Have a Website?
When I was looking for a service provider, I was shocked by how many did not include a link to their Company Website. Come on people! Why make your potential customers dig for information about your company? I wouldn’t waste the time doing so…and neither would your potential clients. LinkedIn provides you the functionality right there in Editing Your Profile: Use it!
9 – It’s All About the Keywords
This is a no-brainer, but let me remind you just in case. Just as you have a website filled with words to help potential clients find you, you need to do the same on your LinkedIn Profile. I was shocked by how many small business owners put the absolute bare minimum in their Profile. Talking about an opportunity loss… If you don’t have a place for the keywords, your Summary as well as what I write about in 10) are appropriate.
10 – You ARE Experienced, Right?
LinkedIn is giving every small business owner major real estate by allowing you to 1) list the company and title where you currently and previously worked and 2) to write about your experiences with each company. Why small business owners are not taking advantage of this space to write about their experiences in keyword-rich terms is beyond me. I am a social media strategist, not a psychiatrist! And, beyond that, if you say nothing about your experiences, how else do you show off your expertise in your Profile? And if you don’t show off your expertise, why would I even call you in the first place? See what I’m getting at? I hope so…
11 – Don’t You See the Value of LinkedIn Groups?
There are many reasons why small business owners should be all over these Groups. But even if you don’t participate in them, there are two huge reasons why you should be a member of many groups:
- You need to be where your potential customer is, so find the groups that your potential customer might be in, join them, and ideally actively participate.
- Groups allows potential customers an easy way to contact you: Even if you are not directly connected, the default setting for Group members is that you have the ability to directly message each other.
See my point now? Even joining 1 of the largest groups as well as 1 of the largest regional groups may be enough to allow tens of thousands of people the opportunity to contact you.
12 – How Do I Contact You?
LinkedIn has a spot at the bottom of your profile for “Contact Settings.” Most people leave it blank. If you are a business, and you are listed in the telephone directory, would you only show your name and city? Exactly! Why not make it easy for potential clients to contact you? If you don’t want to show your phone number, a business email address is sufficient. But write something here, please!
As you can see, optimizing your LinkedIn Profile is not just for the jobseeker. When you and/or your small business is ready to get serious about social media marketing, make sure you read my LinkedIn Book or contact me to learn more about my social media strategic consultancy services for solo entrepreneurs and small businesses.
Would love to hear your experiences with getting social media leads…have you had people contact you and say they found you on LinkedIn? Do tell! If not, how many of the above mistakes are you guilty of?