Small Business Connections with LinkedIn Marketing

linkedin marketingA LinkedIn marketing strategy will help grow your professional network and create valuable business connections

The professional networking site, LinkedIn, has grown to become more than just a professional network to help you land your next job. It is now a place to showcase your business, expertise and cultivate business connections that can help take your business to the next level.

Some professionals on LinkedIn have a rule to only connect to colleagues in which they already have an established business relationship. But the strategy of expanding your network to other relevant contacts in your industry niche can create valuable new business connections. These new connections can become opportunities for business partnerships, sales, co-marketing, jobs and more.

Here are some ways to find new contacts in LinkedIn to expand your business connections:

Get Introduced. Your own existing contacts (2nd connections) are a valuable source of potential new contacts to connect with on LinkedIn. Click on key contacts within your connections and scan their contacts to find new connections. Ask to be introduced, or send a direct link request referencing your existing connection.

Join Groups. Professional groups on LinkedIn are some of the best ways to connect with people in a similar industry niche. After joining a group, scan the list of people in the group and look for key businesses and/or titles. Send a link request and reference the group as how you know the person. Participating in group discussions also helps to initiate link requests from other people – once people see you as a solid contributor to the industry niche you will most likely get requests to connect.

Use LinkedIn Widget. Adding a LinkedIn widget to your web site is a good way to highlight your presence on LinkedIn and cultivate more connections. If your business is professional consulting services you may want to have a direct link to your profile. If your business is more focused on business-to-business, then a link to your own company’s group may be more appropriate. Setting up a group that is focused on your small business is an easy way to have a “home base” on LinkedIn for company.

Add Offline Contacts. As soon as you make a new connection offline, send a request to connect on LinkedIn. Don’t miss out on any opportunity to turn an offline connection into an online connection with LinkedIn where you may be able to highlight more aspects of your business to the contact.

The process of growing your network of connections on LinkedIn takes time to develop. Set a goal of adding a few new connections once a week or every few days (depending on how aggressive you want to be with your LinkedIn marketing strategy). But it isn’t necessarily a numbers game. The most important thing is to develop business connections that are relevant to your niche industry.

Once you have established a good network of connections on LinkedIn, make sure you focus on participating in groups and actively marketing your small business to your growing network of connections.

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With nearly 30 years of integrated marketing experience, Diane is the founder of and author of the award-winning book PR Tools to Toot Your Own Horn. Diane also runs Marine Marketing Tools, a site that bridges her passion for boating and small business marketing, and two boating lifestyle sites: and