Getting local in a social world - East Valley Tribune: Ahwatukee Foothills

Getting local in a social world

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Posted: Friday, March 22, 2013 3:49 pm | Updated: 2:17 pm, Tue Jul 8, 2014.

As the Internet continues its growth and small business works its way into today’s social realms, plenty of questions continue to arise.

Should my business be on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn?

The kids are saying we need to be — similar businesses are already doing so, too — and my coworkers (or employees) think we should follow suit.

But if we do, what do I post? How often? Who is it really going to? What will it accomplish? If we have a bad review or comment, what do we do then?

These are great questions and many that small businesses are working to answer.

Today, let’s spend a few minutes with LinkedIn and how it can serve small businesses. What can LinkedIn really do for my business and will it help grow my business? With more than 200 million users, its a powerful website that continues to see growth into many countries. It allows business users to find other people, other businesses, and follow trends with groups that are set up.

You might be saying: “That is all well and good, but how does that help my business in the local area?”

Present your presence

Does your business have any presence on LinkedIn? Have you updated the profile, reviewed your summary, talked about what services or products your company offers? Updating this information is a great start and will aid in allowing your business to come up in organic searches of the major search engines; having the most up-to-date and relevant information is what generally drives searches.

Type “LinkedIn Ahwatukee” into a popular search engine and what do you find? The Ahwatukee Foothills Chamber of Commerce’s page appears above the fold, as do other local Ahwatukee businesses who participate on LinkedIn.

Networking never sleeps

Review what groups are housed on LinkedIn. Join the ones that are related to your business type. As someone connects, searches or becomes part of the group, that could lead to them seeing your business (and the details you already updated).

If you follow a group, you can add to some of the discussions or see what is trending. But doing this has to be measured. It’s not prudent to spend your entire day updating and posting on LinkedIn; it is, after all, just one part of the Internet and likely just one aspect of your external marketing efforts.

Lead your team to new leads

But don’t be afraid to encourage your team to also join and be a part of LinkedIn. Start by having a professional photographer come to your business and take professional photos for your team to use on their individual profiles, updating any information that ties to the business. Your team will be well equipped to reach out on LinkedIn to as many connections they can.

After you — or your team members — meet a new client or a business person in the community, connect with them online. This is also a great way to find people when they might have changed jobs or moved to another community.

These three principles can aid your organization right now. Think of LinkedIn as another tool for marketing, communication and research. Encourage your team to use it and find ways to utilize the tool that aids your company. Some companies have a “super user” that works with new hires and teaches existing employees how to optimize their page. Have someone own it and be the expert who creates more accountability within the organization.

It’s more important to be transparent in what you do and how you handle your daily business. LinkedIn is a professional networking tool that offers that transparency, and that should be utilized by you and your team.

• Kent Johnson is publisher of the Ahwatukee Foothills News. He is on the Ahwatukee Foothills Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. Reach him at kjohnson@ahwatukee.com.

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