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How to Benefit from LinkedIn as a Self-Employed Person or Small Business Owner

First Step

Open a LinkedIn account and add a photo to your profile. It is important to show people who you are, especially if you are trying to grow your network. Your profile should summarize what you do and include at least a small portion of your past, including your education. Also, include any professional organizations that you hold a membership for.

Second Step

Link your website to your LinkedIn profile. If you do not have a website, link to your Twitter page (if it’s business oriented) or to your Google profile. Consider getting a website of your own and update your profile with it, when you do. In today’s world everyone needs their own site. It has become much simpler and much cheaper to do, and will benefit you in the end. Do not add your FaceBook or MySpace profile here. LinkedIn is strictly business related.

Third Step

Find others you already know that are already using LinkedIn, by uploading your email address book. Invite them to connect with you. Those who are not yet using LinkedIn, but who you think would benefit by being part of your network, invite to join.

Fourth Step

Try to get at least one connection to write a recommendation for you. You may also write a recommendation for any connection you think merits one.

Fifth Step

Browse through the LinkedIn groups and see which ones are of interest to you and/or your business. Join those groups. Once your group memberships are approved, begin joining their discussions by commenting and starting new discussions. Post articles that are pertinent to the group. If you would like to start your own group, do so! It is simple to do and a great way to grow your network. You might even decide to start several groups.

Sixth Step

People that are interested in your comments, groups and discussions will most likely look at your profile and invite you to connect. You will find yourself doing the same.

Seventh Step

LinkedIn can help you with credibility, re-connecting with lost or far away connections. It increases your Google space and helps you develop your personal brand.

Eighth Step

Get involved! As a self-employed person or small business owner, you need to get out and search people out. Filling out your profile and waiting is not the way. Join, contribute, discuss, comment, make new friends and contacts. It is surprising how nice and helpful people can be!The corporate world does not need to dedicate much time to their LinkedIn account and profile. They can sit back and wait to receive a few connections, recommendations, etc. Small business people, on the other hand, cannot sit back. LinkedIn is extremely useful, but only for those who choose to dedicate it some time and effort.

Tips & Warnings

Thank everyone who recommends you.
Write well written recommendations.
Offer help to those in your network.
Invite those who comment on your discussions to connect with you.
Thank everyone who comments in your managed groups.
Thank everyone who comments directly to your comment.
Introductions are allowed and can be requested, if within your extended network.
Do not ask people to connect with you randomly.
Do not add a discussion to a group asking people to connect or network with you.
Ask for introductions, only if you really need it.
Do not invite people you don’t know at all.


The most cost effective way for a business to develop and promote, a strategy of best practices of a social network optimization will be to focus upon the best business social networking sites.

According to a survey done in (Dec 09) by the University of Maryland small business school, the following are the survey results from small business participants;  of those surveyed some 75% were focusing upon their own web pages, some 39% were also blogging online content articles about their area of expertise.

Additional survey results showed that 69% of those business owners surveyed were focusing their efforts on building a network utilizing Face book and LinkedIn.  Some 54% of business owners were spending time monitoring their online business reputations.  Only 16% of those surveyed were focusing on tweeting on the network.

So base upon the results of that survey it is obvious that the top three small business social networks are Face book, Linked In, and of course Twitter.

The following is a brief history of Face book, Linked In, and Twitter.

Face Book was founded in February 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg. It currently has over 500 million members world wide. It is free to join. There are some features in Face book that will cost you money. Review the terms and conditions of Face book.

Linked In was founded in 2003 and opened for business in May 2003.  Linked In currently has over 190 Million members.  It is also free to join.  Like Face book, Linked In also has features that require paid dues.  Again read the terms and conditions of Linked In.

Twitter was founded in July of 2006. It’s world wide membership is over 190 million users.  See the terms and conditions of joining Twitter.  It limits its messages to under 140 characters per message.

Other social network sites to join are the following list;

1) Your local area Chamber of Commerce 

2) BNI networks

3) Home base business network

4)  Meet the boss 


6)The Free Lance Face

7) Partner Up Perfect business

9) Your success Network

10) Sales Spider

As part of your overall marketing strategy for your business you want to incorporate a small Business social network strategy to drive traffic and increase your sales as well as profits.

Your goal for your social networking strategy is to define what you want your potential customers/readers to do.  Is your goal for social networking to build and drive sales, is it to retain current customers, or is it to build your community relationship as a trust source of accurate knowledge.

Remember that the key to social network optimization is to follow the three golden rules;

A) Great article content 

B) Great Linking strategy 

C) A great SEO strategy.

Those golden rules will bring you increased online traffic to your blog as well as web site. Increased online traffic will mean increased sales and revenue.

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