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What is it about LinkedIn that makes it different from social platforms like Facebook and Twitter and why do small business need to care so much about LinkedIn?  Well, unlike other social platforms, LinkedIn offers a plethora of tools that lets small businesses network, build their brand image, make sales and even recruit talent in a way that is relevant to their business.
This isn’t a complete list of tools that LinkedIn offers, but 10 of tools for small businesses:

1. Targeted Updates

Targeted status updates are one of LinkedIn’s greatest features because you can deliver relevant content to your contacts rather than bombarding your entire network with your status update. If your company’s list of connections includes employees, colleagues, and clients, you can sort that list into audiences of 100 people or more.
Use the targeted updates feature to share info about the upcoming company picnic with employees or send updates about new products to your list of clients. With this tool, you can make sure that each person on your list gets only the content that is relevant to theme

2. Paid Advertisements

Almost all social media platforms offer paid advertising services of some sort, but LinkedIn boasts the world’s largest community of professionals, which makes it ideal for B2B marketing. The numbers reveal that a full 50% of all college-educated web users are on LinkedIn, while only 22% of those with some college education use this platform.
Between LinkedIn’s user base and tools that allow you to target audiences by job title, industry, and more, you’ll find it extremely easy to put text, image, and video ads in front of the right audience.

3. Sponsored Updates

Using LinkedIn’s sponsored updates is an easy way to put your brand in front of the right people. Because they work just like regular status updates, most users find sponsored updates less distracting and more attractive than banner ads.
Another major benefit is that with this service, you don’t need to create an advertising campaign, per se. Instead, you can let your marketing plan evolve by sharing the types of content that users find most relevant at any given time.

4. Groups

It might seem like LinkedIn’s Groups are for individuals looking to network or share watercooler stories, but in fact, Groups are a wonderful tool that small businesses can leverage for sales.
By joining various Groups (or starting your own), you have the opportunity to answer questions and join discussions, and position your company as an expert in your field. You can lead these discussions in a way that directs customers back to your landing page.

5. LinkedIn Pulse

LinkedIn Pulse is a great way to build your brand’s reputation. Produce branded content to publish regularly though Pulse, and you’ll quickly develop a following.
As your follower base grows, your articles will get more views, which will make it easier for new people to find your content. Not only will this increase consumer engagement with your brand, but like Groups, it also helps promote you as the go-to authority.

6. Slideshare

SlideShare is owned by LinkedIn, and it’s an amazing content development tool that lets you create and upload any number of media, including slideshows, how-to guides, case studies, presentations, videos, and more. Once uploaded, share the content via Sponsored Update, or LinkedIn Pulse to generate leads or build brand awareness.
SlideShare allows you to track how many clicks, views and downloads your content is receiving. If your content is seeing a high engagement rate, great! If not, time to change your message or audience and try again.

7. Showcase Pages

Most businesses sell more than one product or service, but most social media platforms don’t offer a good way to advertise each of those services separately. LinkedIn, however, is different.
Rather than trying to include a short list of all of your products and services in your company’s profile, you can use Showcase Pages as extensions of your company’s page. For instance, if your company offers WordPress setup, website hosting, and search engine optimization, you can create a separate Showcase to spotlight all three services.

8. LinkedIn Sales Navigator

LinkedIn Sales Navigator is an incredibly powerful tool that lets you take social selling to a whole new level. It starts with search tools that let you zero in on potential new leads that fit in your target segments.
Your sales team will be able to know more about their leads before they contact them. You’ll then be able to use LinkedIn’s InMail system or TeamLink to connect with prospects and build a relationship with them before you make your pitch.

9. Apply with LinkedIn Button

The serious job seekers aren’t sifting through classified ads or chatting up recruiters at job fairs anymore. These days, they’re online, looking at company websites and networking on places like LinkedIn.
Use the Apply With LinkedIn button on your careers page, and active job seekers can send you their LinkedIn profile with one click. Not only does this make the screening and recruiting process easier for everyone involved, but it also gives you direct access to each candidate’s LinkedIn profile, which provides you with far more information than a typical resume.

10. LinkedIn Recruiter

Looking for the top professionals in your industry? With LinkedIn Recruiter, you’ll have the tools to search through an enormous pool of candidates – including those who will entertain offers even though they aren’t actively searching. Use Recruiter to search for candidates by location, industry, and more. When you’re ready to reach out, simply send a message to potential candidates via LinkedIn’s InMail system.
There are lots of great tools on LinkedIn that are easy for small businesses to use. Expand your social media presence, market directly to prospective customers or network with colleagues and potential recruits!

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