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An ever present theme of our blog is the time pressures on small business owners and how they must juggle an ever increasing array of social media marketing tools in the quest for new business. This pressure is not going to go away so it’s critical that you select those tools that are going to best serve your business.

In this three parts series on LinkedIn we are first going to present the case for LinkedIn (Part 1) and then how you should set up your account (Part 2) and finally, how to get the most from it (Part 3).

If you run a professional services business then you should have a presence on LinkedIn. Facebook, Twitter, Google + and Instagram may be riding high on the social media waves when it comes to the number of users but when it comes to the leading social network for businesses, LinkedIn is the front runner, for the time being.

Getting up and running with LinkedIn is not difficult and with proper planning you can have a very credible presence in a matter of hours. Please note the bolding, italicising and underlining of credible; it’s to bring your attention to the fact that so many businesses rush in, create business profiles that are poorly constructed and use really poor imagery with the end result that you’ve actually undermined your credibility. More on that in Parts 2 and 3.

So, what is LinkedIn?
LinkedIn is a social networking platform designed specifically for members of the business community – it’s a B2B networking platform. LinkedIn members ‘link up’ with their immediate business network and it also enables you to use your own network to reach out to other LinkedIn members.

This is the real power (but much underutilised feature) of LinkedIn; it enables small business owners to identify potential business contacts that would be helpful to their small businesses and to request your network to make introductions.

Ask yourself this question: what’s more impactful, receiving an introduction request from a known business associate or a cold call from a business owner?

LinkedIn also gives you the opportunity to remain in contact with friends and classmates so there is a social or P2P aspect to the platform.

LinkedIn’s major power user is the HR/Recruitment community and they use the platform’s community to search for candidates and also to advertise new opportunities. For the LinkedIn member, the platform is also a showcase for their own business talents and gives them the chance to present their resume to potential recruiters.

LinkedIn has also positioned itself in the past few years as a source of business news and advice. You can follow major brands and business icons and be kept up to date with their latest research / writing.

Business to Business Leads
LinkedIn is number one when it comes to generating direct social media traffic as over 50% of all visits from social media channels to corporate websites are from LinkedIn. This is nearly three times the conversion rate of Facebook (17%) and Twitter (14%).

If you dig a little deeper you’ll find that those LinkedIn profiles that are up-to-date and active are the ones that convert the most. Stands to reason really. Our Big Red Cloud LinkedIn company page follows best practice advice from the folks at LinkedIn – Simple Online Accounting.

Some Background Points of Note about LinkedIn:

  • LinkedIn claims some 360+ million members worldwide.
  • 2 new users join LinkedIn every second.
  • Average time a user spends on LinkedIn is 17 minutes per month.
  • 1 in 3 professionals worldwide are on LinkedIn.
  • There are over 3 million LinkedIn business pages worldwide.
  • 42% of users update their profile regularly and 35% access the site daily.
  • In the UK, over 15 million people are registered on LinkedIn
  • In Ireland 26% of people use LinkedIn however only 17% are active members.
  • Interestingly, the most active time on LinkedIn is between the hours of 10 and 11am on a Tuesday morning.

That’s it for LinkedIn for Small Businesses – Part 1. Check back in for Parts 2 and 3 when we provide some basic guidelines on how to set-up your personal and business profile and how to promote your business on LinkedIn.


Marc O'Dwyer

After completing a Graduate program in Marketing, Marc’s impressive sales career began at Allied Irish Banks, Pitney Bowes and Panasonic where he received numerous Irish and European sales performance awards and consistently exceeded targets and expectations. In 1992, Marc’s entrepreneurial spirit led him to set up his own business, Irish International Sales (IIS). Initially, this company was a reseller for Take 5 Accounts and Payroll software. Within four years, IIS became the largest reseller of Take 5 in Ireland, acquiring four other Take 5 resellers. He also found time to set up two mobile phone shops under the Cellular World brand and a web design company offering website design services for small businesses. In 2001, he bought the majority share in a small Irish software business, Big Red Book. At that time, the company was losing money. The company became profitable within two months, and Marc then acquired a payroll company to compliment Big Red Books Accounting products. In 2003, IIS were appointed as Channel Partners with SAP for their new SME product, SAP Business One. Marc sold his Take 5 business and concentrated on developing this new market for SAP As a result, by 2007, IIS was recognised as the largest Channel Partner for SAP in EMEA (Europe Middle East and Africa). In 2008, the IIS Sales Manager bought the Company from Marc in an MBO. He launched Big red cloud in June 2012, the online version of big red book, to date the company successfully converts 59% of trials into sales and the number of customers is growing rapidly. Marc continues to run both Big Red Book and Big Red Cloud which now support 75,000 businesses. He is a very keen sportsman, having played rugby for 20 years, represented Leinster at under 16 and under 20 levels, and league squash with Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Club for 10 years. Marc has competed in 11 Marathons, including the London and Boston Marathons, and has completed several Triathlons and Half Ironman races. He has also completed six Ironman Races in Austria(x2), Frankfurt (Germany), Nice (France) , Mallorca (Spain) and Copenhagen (Denmark)

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