When I hear this question I immediately respond, “Yes, of course.” Since I am a small business owner that has benefitted greatly from using the world’s #1 social platform for business the answer is direct. I realize, however, that there are those who are still outside of LinkedIn wondering if it has staying power and really is applicable to their business situation. This article provides added evidence for those that remain on the fence or are unconvinced that LinkedIn might be beneficial or helpful in important ways.
First, I suggest that its rapid growth (over the past 2-3 years) is reason enough for engagement. 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. It’s truly significant that Google, Facebook or Apple isn’t the company being identified by Forbes but I’d bet that the common public perception is that either one of these giants greatly surpassed the growth of LinkedIn. (Google actually ranked #17!) See Forbes’ chart for 2013 below.
Rank. Company. Business. Last Yr. Sales Last Yr. 3-Yr Avg. Est. EPS
(mil) Sales Growth Sales Growth Growth
1. LinkedIn Social Ntwking $1,109 80% 102% 51%
2. Facebook Social Ntwking $5,489 36% 87% 25%
3. Apple Computerware $169,104 19% 55% 15%
In addition, LinkedIn’s membership has grown 3.5 times since 2011 (90 million to nearly 310 currently). The combination of these metrics strongly suggests that LinkedIn represents a potent market force that should be on any businessperson’s radar. Lastly, LinkedIn is expected to double in membership size to roughly 600 million over the next few years.
Small business owners 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 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 much friendlier to the visually stimulating environment that exists on Facebook, for example.
In summary, there are several ways in which the small 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. Innovation has trended to be inclusive rather than exclusive for the normal entrepreneur. All in all, time spent learning LinkedIn’s full array of social selling tools will benefit any business or person—large or small.
By Gary Kissel | LinkedIn Strategist | Speaker | Author
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