It’s tricky trying to figure out the right moment (or even how to build the right plan) to launch your own business. But as you weigh your options, it’s helpful to get the real scoop from small business owners who have been there, done that…and come out successful on the other side. Of course, success means different things for each business and founder, but one thing is clear: having a presence on LinkedIn is a must. We chatted with three successful LinkedIn creators to get their best tips for getting your small business off the ground. Here’s what they had to say.

McKenzie Cordell

1. Don’t Limit Yourself to Being Strictly Professional

“What was surprising to me after I got serious about using LinkedIn to help grow my business was that personal stories and opinions really resonate well with the audience on LinkedIn. Posts centered around this type of content are the most powerful for helping you grow,” says web designer Keshia White. “It can be tempting to simply tell stories that are similar to other popular creators on LinkedIn or to keep it ‘professional’ all the time. But by being authentic and telling stories that are unique to you and your life, you’ll have the best shot at standing out,” Keshia continues.

Jalonni Weaver—a recruiter who has scaled her audience almost triple in the last five months—backs her up on this one. “Show up as a human and post your experiences. You never know what people may be going through and you sharing your experiences may be what they need to see to overcome similar challenges,” she adds. “Sometimes, the moments that we think are the most embarrassing from our businesses and careers make for the best stories to share, because that vulnerability usually resonates with lots of people and makes them feel seen,” says Keshia.

2. Take Advantage of LinkedIn Live and Other Tools

“My favorite LinkedIn tool is the live feature,” says Keshia. “I love that it notifies all my connections, so I’m more likely to be noticed. I usually go live with Streamyard, which I also like because much of my work is visual, and I can screenshare to show off past client work as I’m teaching web design and branding to my audience. Also, I enjoy seeing questions and being able to answer them in real time. Going live has been a really nice way for me to position myself as an expert at what I do,” she says.

Jalonni is also a fan of LinkedIn Live and reveals that she’s a beta tester for LinkedIn Audio. “[LinkedIn Audio and LinkedIn Live] have helped me better connect and grow my audience to where I am able to expand my reach outside of LinkedIn and have the support of others,” says Jalonni.

Kendra Bracken, CEO of BrainTrust, touts LinkedIn’s newsletter feature. “I launched the “Diary of A Founder” newsletter to further share my point of view as an entrepreneur and publish stories from other leaders and executives in the space,” she says. Kendra’s also a big advocate of being proactive. “Take the time to dive into the best practices that LinkedIn provides so you understand the most effective activities to drive engagement,” she advises.

3. Interact with Your Connections

“People don’t realize that engaging with other people’s content is also opening the door to having others view their content,” Jalonni reminds us.

“I started interacting with my new connections in the forms of liking and commenting on their posts to start to ‘network’ more. It took a few months to gain traction, but I eventually started to see consistent quality leads coming to my business from LinkedIn—the type of serious clients that I wanted all along. These were consultants, speakers, experts and other leaders who value and benefit from having a high-quality brand image and website. I’ve been creating on LinkedIn consistently ever since,” says Keshia.

Kendra reiterates this sentiment. “One of my top professional successes has been the number of founders and brands I have been able to meet through LinkedIn. My team and I launched BrainTrust Founders Studio for Black beauty and wellness founders at the end of October 2021 with the goal of providing an ecosystem of community, mentorship, education and capital. LinkedIn has been a great tool to connect with founders and identify brands and partners to support this mission,” says Kendra. “Be consistent, respond and support others' content on the platform.”

4. And Upgrade to Premium (Just Do It)

“The premium subscription is my favorite, especially the ability to directly connect with users through InMail. LinkedIn InMail allows you to message people to whom you are not connected. I have engaged with so many people simply by sending them a DM or commenting on their posts,” says Kendra.

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