By Donna Serdula, founder and president of Vision Board Media

Did you know that LinkedIn is more than a job search platform? If you’re a small business professional who has overlooked the potential of this platform, it’s time to break free from the LinkedIn stereotypes and unlock its true power.

Get ready to discover the secrets of LinkedIn that can take your business to new heights. Even if you’ve never considered it beyond the realm of job hunting or corporate connections.

Understanding Your Audience

As a small business owner, you may have focused your efforts on platforms like Facebook or Instagram to connect with your target audience when they’re not working. But have you considered where they are when they are working?

Around 55% of LinkedIn users hold positions of seniority, such as managers, directors, vice presidents and C-suite executives.

This means that LinkedIn provides an opportunity for you to connect with decision-makers and influential individuals within organizations. It’s the perfect platform for businesses targeting customers with higher purchasing power or offering premium products and services.

Additionally, approximately 50% of LinkedIn members hold a bachelor’s degree or higher, making it an ideal platform for businesses that offer specialized services or products requiring expertise.

Even if your target audience doesn’t fit within LinkedIn’s demographic, the platform still presents opportunities for other aspects of your business, such as hiring top talent, finding partnerships, vetting investors, securing speaking engagements, finding service providers, gaining visibility for media opportunities or networking with other entrepreneurs.

As you can see, LinkedIn offers much more than just a job search platform. Let’s dive in and explore a few ways to breakdown more LinkedIn stereotypes and capture untapped prospects.

Showcasing Your Background and Expertise

LinkedIn’s true power lies beyond its reputation as a job search platform. It provides unique benefits for small businesses, allowing owners to showcase their backgrounds, knowledge and work examples.

By effectively utilizing your LinkedIn profile, you can establish credibility and build trust among your target audience. Instead of considering your profile as a mere resume, view it as your digital introduction and first impression — a conduit for your prospects and clients to understand who you are and why they should want to work with you.

Many small business owners reach out to me for help in developing their LinkedIn profiles and Company pages in tandem. This approach allows them to tell their story and their company’s story effectively.

Having a strong LinkedIn Company page that is branded also enables employees to link their current experience to the Company page. The profile also features testimonials from satisfied clients, serving as powerful social proof that enhances the reputation of your business and its offerings.

Consider this:

How often do you update your website? For most business owners, their website can be a challenge to update and manage.

In contrast, the LinkedIn profile and Company page serve as a simple, easy-to-update website. Although LinkedIn offers premium options, the majority of members use the free version. Just imagine having a website that is easy to update, connects you with your network, and is free. It’s a no-brainer, right?

Let’s dispel another LinkedIn stereotype: It’s not just a networking platform — it’s also a search engine. LinkedIn members use the search function to find service providers. When your profile is optimized with accurate keywords, it will appear in search results, and you may find people contacting you directly.

The key to appearing in search results lies in having an optimized LinkedIn profile that strategically tells your story to meet the needs and desires of your target audience.

If the thought of writing about yourself sends shivers down your spine, fear not — you don’t have to do it alone. My company provides LinkedIn Profile Writing services, as well as AI-powered DIY LinkedIn profile writing.

Tapping into Expansive Networks of Prospects

Connecting with your customers on LinkedIn opens up a world of opportunities. Your existing clients are with you because they are a good fit for your services and offerings. The people they know, their connections, may also be a great fit.

LinkedIn allows you to see into their networks and engage with them. By exploring your customers’ networks, you gain insights into their professional connections, which can help you identify and engage with potential prospects.

LinkedIn’s robust search features enable you to filter and target specific industries, job titles or geographic locations, refining your outreach efforts and focusing on individuals who are most likely to benefit from your products or services.

These connections provide opportunities for collaboration, referrals and new business ventures.

A small business client of mine recently shared that by staying connected with his clients on LinkedIn, he has forged stronger relationships and increased his referrals.

By consistently appearing on his clients’ radar, they remember him. When they come across people who need his services, they automatically think of him and share his LinkedIn profile, which contains all the information a person needs to get a feel for him and how to reach out.

Another client mentioned that he uses LinkedIn to showcase his work examples. By tagging his clients in the photos and receiving comments from his clients’ networks, he has noticed that those connections who engage with his tagged posts often connect with him and then hire him shortly thereafter.

Sharing Knowledge and Interacting with Your Network

To harness the full potential of LinkedIn, active engagement with your network is key. By sharing relevant content, industry insights and thought leadership pieces, you position yourself as a valuable resource and attract the attention of your prospects.

Actively participating in discussions, commenting on posts and reaching out to potential customers fosters meaningful connections and increases your visibility. LinkedIn is not just a platform for self-promotion, it’s a space to build relationships and engage in meaningful conversations.

Small business owners are busy, and finding time to post frequently may seem challenging. However, on LinkedIn, you don’t have to post frequently to build an audience. The LinkedIn algorithm values quality over quantity. Aim for one post per week, and between posts, engage by commenting on the posts of clients and prospects.

By actively engaging with your connections through comments and discussions, or even initiating conversations through direct messages, you foster relationships and stay top of mind when opportunities arise.

Breaking Free from LinkedIn Stereotypes

LinkedIn is far more than just a job search platform or a space for corporate professionals. It holds immense potential for small business professionals to expand their reach, build credibility, and engage with prospects.

By optimizing your LinkedIn profile and leveraging its features, you can tap into a vast network of untapped prospects and establish yourself as an authority in your industry.

So, don’t let the LinkedIn stereotypes hold you back. Embrace its power and unlock the doors to a world of business opportunities.

linkedin profile, Donna Serdula

Donna Serdula is the founder and president of Vision Board Media, a professional branding company that helps individuals and companies tell their unique story on LinkedIn and beyond.

Bringing dynamic brand storytelling to the masses and empowering people to dream big — that’s the ink in her pen. She operates, where she and her team help people collide with opportunity and transform their lives through future-forward career branding.

Donna has authored two editions of LinkedIn Profile Optimization FOR DUMMIES. She has shared her LinkedIn expertise at global conferences, presented keynotes and workshops, and has been featured on a number of high-profile news outlets.