linkedinsuperFor many entrepreneurs and small business owners, there can be a degree of fear about using LinkedIn, spanning from using it improperly and looking bad, to spending lots of time and money with no results. A recent discussion in one of my coaching program forums prompted me to address these fears and share four reasons to embrace the fear on LinkedIn and do it anyway!

1) It’s just for job-hunting so I won’t get any clients here

The most recent statistic I’ve seen is that 80% of people on LinkedIn are not looking for jobs. People are using LinkedIn to  connect with professionals and build a strong network of referral partners, clients, and colleagues. By spending 10-15 minutes daily on LinkedIn, you can cultivate these relationships and turn your contacts into contracts! By being active and visible on LinkedIn, you earn more recommendations, referrals, mentions and invitations to share your expertise with others. It is THE best network to generate new leads by listening, sharing, and participating. And in the event you ARE looking for a job someday, you will have an active and thriving network in place and ready to help you in your search.

2) It’s impersonal and not very fun or engaging

The main reason most people find little engagement on LinkedIn is that THEY are not showing up to engage! Committing to a daily plan of posting an update, recommending or endorsing a colleague, sending a new friend an invitation to connect, and participating in conversations in the “group” forum will create an incredible amount of synergy for you and your business. LinkedIn is not personal and fun in the way that Facebook is, but that’s a good thing – people come with their professional hat on to get things done and create more business for everyone. You can create “fun” by the tone in which you interact with others, and you can create a great engagement by showing up daily and being active with your network.

3) I’m afraid my lack of skill in using it will suggest a lack of skill in my business

There is that old saying that “how you do anything is how you do everything” so this is a valid concern but don’t let it immobilize you and miss the huge business opportunities on LinkedIn. The first task for you is to completely update your LinkedIn profile so it is very client-attractive and demonstrative of the excellent work you provide. Once you are feeling all bright and shiny in your profile, you can easily execute a few basic daily tasks (like my 15-minute Daily Checklist!) that will allow you to interact and comment with skill and ease.  Learning the proper ways to invite people to connect, post an update, or write a recommendation will give you confidence and demonstrate your expertise. There are many great articles online that can teach you the basic LinkedIn skills, or you can take a class from a social media coach like me, who can help you master the basics very quickly.

4) It’s time-consuming and expensive

Yes, marketing your business is time-consuming, but also very necessary! Think of LinkedIn as one of your daily marketing activities that earns you more money, rather than viewing it as a dreaded task. LinkedIn represents your strong, supportive network of business professionals, and time spent interacting with them and supporting them is priceless. Using a 15-minute Daily Checklist, you can block off time to show up for your professional online network and efficiently accomplish your marketing goals – it does not have to take you down the rabbit hole for hours a day! Learning to use LinkedIn effectively for your business does not need to be expensive (typically less than $200-$300) and as it results in on-going business for you, it will become one of your best investments of time and money.

So tell me, do these strategies help talk you off the ledge on LinkedIn?! Or do you have additional questions I can answer or resources I can provide? Please leave a comment below and let’s get connecting!