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LAEDA WBC Hosts Workshop on LinkedIn for Small Business

Posted on 8/4/2017 by Ray Lamboy
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Hosted by the LAEDA Women’s Business Center (WBC) in the new computer lab, the interactive session on LinkedIn spanned two hours and empowered entrepreneurs with the know-how of maximizing the internet to their business’ advantage.

 By Alex LaBant, Assistant Program Manager, WBC

 
What was a blistering and humid August afternoon on August 2nd soon became a series of torrential downpours, but several dedicated female entrepreneurs dismissed the weather in order to attend a workshop that trained them to utilize LinkedIn, a social network of immense capability, in order to further their entrepreneurial endeavors. Hosted by the LAEDA Women’s Business Center (WBC) in the new computer lab, the interactive session spanned two hours and empowered entrepreneurs with the know-how of maximizing the internet to their business’ advantage.
 
The seminar was led by Mylena Sutton, professional development coach and the founder of VoltageVista, a local company that focuses on leadership and human resources maximization. As a small business owner herself (not one company, but two!), Sutton was able to leverage her insight into the challenges and rewards of launching a start-up while speaking to social media as a powerful actor than can truly change the game for any business.
 
Similar to writing a business plan, sometimes it’s important to review what one assumes they already know. Sutton addressed the benefits of utilizing social media (an ever-growing body of websites, apps, and combinations, with seemingly always more networks to join than less) by asking the attendees, “Why bother?”
 
“Free advertising,” “to generate more sales,” and more – these ladies were no strangers to drumming up customers. 
 
In reality, social media has supplanted conventional communication as we know it. A new contact might send a friend request on Facebook rather than ask for a phone number, and making a new connection on LinkedIn may take place of the traditional business-card exchange. But social media is no longer limited to who one might know in reality; Ms. Sutton emphasized that “internet life can extend beyond real life,” pointing out that someone can know all about anyone without ever having met them – the good and the bad.
 
Which is why maintaining a top-notch and professional LinkedIn profile is integral to conducting business. One trend that separates LinkedIn from other networks is that, generally, users self-monitor themselves more and maintain higher levels of professionalism. And those users? 40% of the U.S. population, or approximately 128 million people, have accounts. 
 
One best practice that Ms. Sutton emphasized was creating a reach for oneself and their business, or technically, building oneself into others’ algorithms. As with any other social media, connecting with people beyond those one might physically rub elbows with is critical to maximizing the benefits of its use. One best practice that Sutton emphasized was to connect with competitors outside the business’ geographical area; these entrepreneurs and business owners will be more likely and willing to share best practices and trade secrets. 
Critical to an entrepreneur’s understanding of LinkedIn is differentiating between it and Facebook, which still overshadows all other social media. However, on LinkedIn, a user is 4x more likely than a Facebook user to visit a website, and higher conversion rates (read:  a site visit to a sale) are yet another benefit. By using professional jargon to posit oneself as an industry expert related and goods/services a client wants, a LinkedIn profile becomes yet another facet to advance a business and construct an image that one wants for their business and their life. 
 
LAEDA and LAEDA WBC host workshops and educational courses year-round on a wide range of business topics. Upcoming seminars include The ABC's of Starting a Small Business being held in Millville on August 16. For details visit our calendar of events.