You’ve started a business from home, and you’re proud of how it’s going, but you’re ready to take it to the next level. You want to see even better results and expand your audience. Good for you, I love your enthusiasm!
When I decided I wanted to launch a freelance writing business from home, I didn’t imagine that I would be using LinkedIn as a tool to market myself.
I thought LinkedIn was for people in the corporate world. A world I had never been a part of professionally. Even a quick glance at LinkedIn made me yawn and cringe simultaneously. I didn’t think it was where the creatives, the introverts, the entrepreneurs, and the self-employed hung out.
I can find my way around Instagram in my sleep (it’s also part of what I do for clients, so it’s very familiar), and will happily and mindlessly scroll Facebook until my eyes hurt (that’s probably not a good thing, right?). I dabble on Pinterest, but I thought that engaging in two social platforms was really all I needed to find clients and writing opportunities.
However, after much resistance and sighing, I discovered that my audience was there. And they were all networking, approaching other writers, and posting job vacancies. I was definitely out of the loop.
I know you probably don’t want to hear this. If you’ve got a business of any sort – whether you’re a freelancer, coach, blogger, makeup artist, or operate an online shop －you need a LinkedIn account.
When I first set up my account, I did my research. There’s naturally a ton of information out there, and endless gurus and courses, but to save you the time and effort, here are 6 tips I discovered for growing your home-based business using LinkedIn.
1. Know your brand.
Create your profile as though you’re speaking to your target audience. Don’t just give your life story in your summary. Rather, talk to your customer or client’s pain points, and tell them how you can help them. And unlike a resume, you can use the first person.
This is your big chance to shine and to stand out from the crowd.
Choose a photo that makes you look professional yet approachable. This isn’t where you share a photo of yourself at a bar with your friends. Or a photo of your dog wearing a hat. This is about projecting the right image.
I plan to get professional headshots taken, as I think it’s important for my brand, plus I don’t have any recent photos of myself. Seriously, none. Just 29,000 of my kids! Most phones have fantastic cameras these days, so get someone to take some polished shots of you.
Don’t forget to take advantage of the banner image that includes your name, contact details, and niche. Use imagery and video where possible to really wow your audience.
Remember that you have less than five seconds to make an impression. Make them count.
2. Start connecting.
If your audience is there, it’s worth putting in the effort. There are about 500-600 million LinkedIn users. Even if your audience isn’t there, it’s a great source for generating referrals.
Slowly add people that are in your industry, or you would like to work with. Don’t spam them. The goal is to gradually build meaningful connections that will hopefully convert.
3. Impart your wisdom.
Create compelling status updates, write interesting articles directly through LinkedIn, share your blog posts, or any information or tips that your network connections would find valuable. You want your audience to take that information and implement it in their business or personal life.
It isn’t an opportunity to sell your product or service as you would over on other social platforms, but rather to share your unique insight. Your mission is to establish trust and build social authority in your niche.
Utilize keywords and hashtags so that you show up in searches. Create a custom URL with your name rather than a jumble of numbers. You want to make your brand as visible as possible.
4. Engage thoughtfully.
Drop in daily to look at updates within your network. Like and comment on posts, congratulate people on new positions. Think of it as a networking event where you want to be friendly to everyone, whilst not pushing your own agenda. You don’t want to be ‘that’ person at the party!
Be prepared to spend several months engaging before you get any bites. It’s a process, but done well, will be a hugely beneficial marketing tool. Not only that, it’s a fabulous way to stay up-to-date with what’s going on in your industry and what your competitors are up to.
If you’re feeling a little lonely on LinkedIn compared with Facebook or Instagram, you can join groups within your field. Or just for fun. If you actively participate within them, it’s another way to get your name out there and get those all-important referrals.
5. Search for work opportunities.
Companies post job vacancies on LinkedIn sometimes before posting anywhere else. You can apply directly for positions via the platform as well. Make sure that your previous job experience list and any credentials are constantly updated.
You can be searched for by recruiters, so your headline needs to portray exactly what you do. Be specific, and use words that help you stand out from your competition.
Related Content: How to Find Your First Work from Home Job on LinkedIn
6. Create a company profile.
To seriously up your game and drive business results, you’ll need a LinkedIn Company Page in addition to your personal page. You’ll set that up almost as you did your personal page, but it will focus on your brand.
Here you’ll go into more detail about your business, so take the time to fill it out completely. The idea is to raise brand awareness further, and help establish your company as one of the leaders in the industry.
While these are only a few basic tips on using LinkedIn to grow your work-from-home business, the key takeaway is providing top quality and showing up regularly.
You’ll get the hang of it, and you might even enjoy using it more than some of the other social platforms. The objective here isn’t based around gaining likes and followers and only posting your highlight reel. In that sense, it’s more a professional and organic marketing tool, one that every home-based business should utilize.
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Kara Wilson is a mama, parenting writer, and early childhood consultant. If she had some spare time, you would find her either cooking, reading, daydreaming about traveling, or sleeping. You can check out her other published articles at KaraWilson.com.