WEST ORANGE, NJ – A free workshop called, “Success with LinkedIn,” is being offered for small businesses owned by women, minorities, veterans and the LGBTQ community, on Feb. 18, at 10 a.m., at McLoone’s Boathouse Restaurant, which is located at 9 Cherry Lane in West Orange. The workshop is the latest event being hosted by the Essex County Office of Small Business Development and Affirmative Action to empower these types of business owners to strengthen and expand their businesses. Admission is free, but reservations are required. To reserve a space or for more information, call 973-621-2011. Limited space is available and reservations will be made on a first-come, first-served basis.

“Our Office of Small Business Development and Affirmative Action is committed to promoting opportunities for small-, women-, minority-, veteran- and LGBTQ-owned businesses,” said Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. “Seminars such as ‘Success with LinkedIn’ are part of our on-going effort to make information more accessible and create additional avenues to assist small, women and minority businesses as they look to grow their businesses.”

LinkedIn is a business-oriented social networking service that is mostly used for business networking. Job holders, job seekers, employers and headhunters are able to create profiles and make business connections on the site. The goal is to make many connections and determine which ones can be contacted for introductions to other users. Job seekers can search job posts and look for people to meet and for business opportunities. Employers can list jobs and search for potential candidates. Other users, with jobs, can seek people to do business with, look for clients, sponsorship opportunities, and catch up with new and old colleagues. The relationships are tiered, according to how well people know one another and this determines how they can contact one another. It they are directly contacted, they can contact one another immediately. If not, they need to contact a person with a second- or third-degree connection, or contact someone with this type of connection who can make an introduction.

Sign Up for E-News

LinkedIn can also be used to promote one’s business and/or services. It is also a platform people can use to look like experts in their fields. They can post relevant articles, offer opinions on topics and join discussions where they can add meaningful content.

In addition, the site offers users the chance to create profiles, add links to websites, portfolios and other types of work products, ask colleagues for written recommendations and much more.

“Today’s marketplace is very competitive and small, women, minority, veteran and LGBTQ owners have to be creative and embrace technology and social media to advertise their business and promote themselves,” said Deborah E. Collins, Esq., director of the Office of Small Business Development and Affirmative Action. “Using LinkedIn is a good means to develop professional relationships and identify new clients.”

Attendees at the Feb. 18 event will learn how to leverage LinkedIn to increase visibility and expand networks; promote brands to a larger audience of potential clients; and they will learn will three key strategies to succeed on LinkedIn in 30 days.