If you run a small business, you might ask where your marketing time and money are best spent. When it comes to digital marketing, there are so many options you’re bound to find one that fits your needs, but you might wind up feeling as though you’d have better luck picking the winning lottery numbers—that’s why we’re here to help.

One of your marketing options is LinkedIn—even if you’re not on it, you’ve probably heard of it. LinkedIn is the go-to site for professionals to network, upgrade their jobs and learn about their industry. It might not sound like the ideal place to market your business, but we have some great reasons why you might benefit from a LinkedIn account.

What is LinkedIn?

LinkedIn is a social networking site for professionals and, surprisingly, almost everyone. It’s even more popular than Twitter, according to Business Insider. Because it’s a site for business professionals, LinkedIn users tend to have higher education levels and higher incomes in comparison to other social networking sites, and the average age is 30–49 years old (with a higher percentage of male users than female). It also has a wide reach, LinkedIn boasts over 313 million users worldwide.

Basic LinkedIn accounts are free, although there are paid accounts that provide more user benefits. In addition to LinkedIn profiles, there are advertising options, in which companies set an advertising budget (minimum of $10 daily) and the lifespan of the ad campaign to have their ads targeted to specific users.

Why Use LinkedIn?

If your company offers products or services to business people, LinkedIn is the place to be. Professionals turn to LinkedIn—and their connections on LinkedIn—for information, products and services to help them in their busy lives.

If your goods or services are business-to-business, LinkedIn is still a great way to get your name out. Many corporate decision makers are on LinkedIn and all you have to do is get your business information in front of them. It might take some research, but LinkedIn makes it easy to search companies and individuals to find out which people in a company’s chain make purchasing decisions.

The first step, and most important thing, is to have a robust company page. Ensure that your page is consistent with your branding and that all the information is current. Keep in mind that you need to update your page every now and then, because there is nothing worse than seeing a company page that is outdated. Maintenance is key not only for you, the business owner, but for your customers as well.

A great way to engage potential customers is to create a LinkedIn group for your business or industry, especially if there are no existing groups. By creating a group, you can position yourself as a thought leader in your industry and update your group members on any special deals or promotions. You could even create an alumni group, like Procter & Gamble’s Worldwide Alumni Network, for retirees and former employees to keep them updated about your business. Update on a weekly basis as a minimum to retain the interest of your members.

The Bottom Line

LinkedIn is a great way to market your business to other professionals. It doesn’t take a lot of time and doesn’t require special training—much easier than picking the winning lottery numbers if we do say so ourselves.

Top photo credit: Alejandro Escamilla

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Carly Webber is a contributor to the Connectivity blog. Carly is also a Senior Social Media Specialist for Connectivity partner, Volume Nine.