Can Small and Large Businesses Grow Via LinkedIn?

When I hear this question I immediately respond, “Yes, of course.” LinkedIn’s dynamic search engine is useful for any size business to target a market and find prospective clients.

I am an example of a small business owner that has benefitted greatly from using the world’s #1 professional network. I used it to find, connect and engage with real estate investors that purchased properties from me and are currently looking to buy more. More recently, I developed a coaching service to help businesses and individuals learn how to utilize LinkedIn more effectively (as I have).

I realize that some still wonder if LinkedIn has staying power. The facts continue to suggest that LinkedIn’s growth is beyond remarkable. Forbes Magazine has awarded LinkedIn the distinction of being the “fastest growing technology company for 2012 and 2013”. Note the word technology. That denotes a much larger universe than say, social media or mobile. It’s truly significant that Google, Facebook or Apple isn’t the company being identified by Forbes. Regardless, I’d venture to bet that the common public perception is that any one of these three giants greatly surpassed the growth of LinkedIn during this time frame. (Google actually ranked #17!)

See Forbes’ 2013 chart below.

Rank. Company 2012 Sales, 2012 Growth, 3-Yr Avg Growth, Est. EPS

1. LinkedIn $1,109 80% 102% 51%

2. Facebook $5,489 36% 87% 25%

3. Apple $169,104 19% 55% 15%

In 2014 LinkedIn added an average of over 5 million subscribers monthly! As of this writing its member base exceeds 330 million. As amazing as this growth is it is almost beyond comprehension that LinkedIn has only achieved 1/10th of its longer term objective of connecting 3.3 billion worldwide.

Small and large business owners alike have been extended access to new features during this growth spurt as well. Most recently, all members were allowed the ability to publish short articles or blogs prominently on LinkedIn. This was formerly a domain for only “LinkedIn Influencers” like Bill Gates or Richard Branson. Members can also post their own video or power point presentations since the platform is recently much friendlier to the visually robust environment that exists on Facebook, for example.

LinkedIn also provides a very high degree of credibility to all members. Potential clients will typically go to Google (as the mother of all search engines) to check out a business or individual. Once there, a LinkedIn profile will be displayed prominently since Google holds LinkedIn in high authority and esteem. It has progressed to the point where the absence of a LinkedIn profile (during a Google search) raises the red flag of suspicion in the marketplace.

In summary, there are several ways in which any business owner can flourish on LinkedIn. Marketing features are plentiful now and all are accessible to each and every member. LinkedIn’s sheer growth cycle has meant that it has become more accepted worldwide and a LinkedIn profile is a credibility factor even on Google. All in all, time spent learning LinkedIn’s full array of social selling tools will benefit any business or person—large or small.

Did I mention that LinkedIn’s demographic for per capita income is twice that of either Facebook and Twitter? Why would any business choose to avoid a market with buying power like that?

By Gary Kissel | LinkedIn Strategist | Speaker | Author