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I am amazed at how many small businesses do not take full advantage of social media, which—as the Internet did two decades ago—allows any business to compete with larger, more established entities. What further amazes me is how few small businesses maximize their presence on LinkedIn and instead just follow the trend at Facebook and Twitter. Why would a niche business-to-business (B2B) company establish a Facebook fan page when their potential customers may not be social on Facebook but are already used to networking on LinkedIn? I’m confused.
If you’re not getting inbound leads from your presence on LinkedIn, here are a few potential reasons:
1. You’re not on LinkedIn. How can you, as a small business owner, not be on the biggest social networking site for professionals? Even if you are a business-to-consumer (B2C) company, don’t you have partner and vendor relationships with other companies? Don’t you want to be creating alliances with other businesses? Every B2C company also has a B2B side to it, so there is no excuse for not being on LinkedIn. You are simply missing out on the potential.
2. You’re missing a head shot. 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. You’ve posted the wrong location. Let me give an example: I live in Orange County, Calif. I look for service providers close to my zip code. I only contact those that display "Orange County, Calif." 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. You’re lacking recommendations. 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 who would be happy to write them for you, right? I hope so. By the way, unless you have three recommendations your profile does not show up as being "100 percent complete," so this is another reason why every business owner should have at least three.
5. Your company doesn’t 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 on LinkedIn. Why make your potential customers dig for information about your company? I wouldn’t waste the time doing so … and neither would other potential clients.
Newport Beach, Calif.
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