On Small Business has a new feature in which young entrepreneurs will answer common questions about small business owners’ social media needs. The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of young entrepreneurs.
How do you use LinkedIn as a business?
Dave Kerpen, CEO of Likeable Media in New York:
LinkedIn is a great way for our business to share information and become a thought leader in our industry. We use LinkedIn to share blog posts, links and articles, as well as to lead discussions about hot topics in our industry. LinkedIn is also a great way for our employees to form connections with professionals in our field. Occasionally, we post job listings or links to sign up to events we’re hosting, such as our LikeableU conference during Internet Week.
LinkedIn holds a lot of value to us as a business focused on B2B, as it gives us the opportunity to connect with potential clients and partners. As a social media firm, the ability for individuals who follow us on LinkedIn to derive value from the content we’re posting is of utmost importance, because it demonstrates competency in our field. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in — if you do business with other professionals, then sharing content, answering questions and engaging on LinkedIn is a great way to build and solidify relationships and drive leads.
Heather Huhman, founder and president of Come Recommended in Derwood, Md.
I run a LinkedIn group for interns and entry-level job candidates in public relations, #PRIntern | #EntryPR, which is a great place to advertise our job openings and internship opportunities. We also have a company LinkedIn page that shares our company blog content and allows candidates to follow us, and I also share recent content with my connections on my own personal LinkedIn page. We also use InMail quite a bit for reaching out to people with hard-to-find e-mail addresses, and help clients connect with journalists and analysts on LinkedIn in order to strengthen their relationship with them.
Laura Calandrella, founder and CEO of Laura Calandrella, LLC in Atlanta:
LinkedIn is the social media outlet that I use the least frequently in my business. My work is focused on helping Gen Y women start up and lead socially conscious businesses and careers, but more than 57 percent of LinkedIn users are men between the ages of 25 and 57.
Additionally, since the focus of the platform is primarily professional, it creates a separation between conversations at the intersection of work and life. Right now, my strategic focus for LinkedIn is to connect with professionals within organizations that are interested in leadership development opportunities for their Gen Y women. I have found that the best way to connect is to initiate new discussions and take part in existing discussions that promote Gen Y women as the next generation of leaders in social enterprise, corporate social responsibility, government and nonprofits. The discussion boards also provide a great opportunity to conduct real-time, informal market research at a low cost.
The YEC recently published #FixYoungAmerica: How to Rebuild Our Economy and Put Young Americans Back to Work (for Good).