Entrepreneurs can use the professional networking website LinkedIn to building their personal and business brands, according to Susan Barens of Wake Forest University Charlotte Center.
Entrepreneurs can use the professional networking website LinkedIn to building their personal and business brands, according to Susan Barens of Wake Forest University Charlotte Center.

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Get people buzzing about your business through LinkedIn

By Celeste Smith

cesmith@charlotteobserver.com

December 02, 2015 2:27 PM

Want to get people buzzing about your business? LinkedIn can help, according to Susan Barens, associate director of market readiness and employment at Wake Forest University Charlotte Center.

In a lunchtime seminar on resume writing on Dec. 9, Barens also plans to talk about ways entrepreneurs can use the professional networking web site to build their personal brands. And she’ll explain why holidays are a perfect time to spruce up your online profile.

Here are some of Barens’ points on how small-business owners and entrepreneurs can use LinkedIn. Comments have been edited for brevity:

Q: Why are the year-end holidays a good time for entrepreneurs to spruce up their LinkedIn profiles?

A: They are reflecting at the end of the year, and they are planning for their budget for the start of the year. By having a LinkedIn page for your business, or as an entrepreneur, you have access to the analytical features that come with your page. Pull up data on your profile page to find out how your online community has grown, and what kind of audience are you reaching. Maybe you’re not fully reaching the audience to want to reach. You can make adjustments in the way you convey your brand and your services. LinkedIn allows you to position your company’s products and services as a solution.

Q: What’s the best way to present yourself in the summary?

A: Conveying what you do is extremely important in the profile. Before, you’d find an introductory profile written in very corporate language. Now we’re starting to see it very personalized, written in first person, or including “we.” It’s turning into a very personalized approach to marketing. People buy from people.

Q: What are other ways small-business owners can use the site?

A: One of the areas that is powerful is content marketing. If you write about a product or service you offer, talk about the impact on consumers. If you are a seller of LED lights and you have a company, and you want to make an impact on customers, maybe one of the articles you write about is how that product reduces your electric bill. You’re conveying how that product is helping them in everyday life.

Q: Anything else?

A: Another key thing that small-business owners and entrepreneurs can do to enhance their reputation and their brand on LinkedIn is to really network. For example, if you’re a recruiter, and you have a page, but you don’t dabble in the resume-writing part, you can forge a partnership with a resume-writing company. So if clients come to you and ask do you do resumes, you can point them to a company that does. Then if that company needs a recruiter, they come back to you. That person will come back to you, because you were so kind to give them a referral.

A lot of people don’t know how to network this way. It’s an art. But it’s something that can be developed, and it benefits you in the long term.

Want to go?

The Dec. 9 Lunch & Learn, ‘Does résumé writing feel like a root canal?’ is free and open to the public. Registration is required. 11:45 a.m. - 1 p.m. at Wake Forest Charlotte Center 200 N. College St., Suite 150, Charlotte. Click here for details.

Susan Barens is associate director of market readiness and employment at Wake Forest University Charlotte Center.

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