LinkedIn was the only professional business networking site. Today there are many social networking sites which have evolved from their original intent and now are quite useful marketing tools for businesses (The two that come to mind quickly are Facebook and Twitter). Most people view LinkedIn as their online resume and a place to ‘shake hands’ with business colleagues, but it is so much more than that!
Setup your network.
Make sure your network is in place BEFORE you need it. You can do this by revisiting your LinkedIn network at least once a month and search for new connections in two ways: Searching by using the advanced search tool to find past colleagues, and look at your current connections connections. If you have a relationship with someone that is in your 2nd tier, make them a contact in tier 1 so that you can connect with their second tier.
Find yourself on the outside looking in?
Do you work in sales or some other field where cold-calling is prevalent and can’t seem to get past the gatekeeper on the other end? I’ve been in this situation and have used LinkedIn a number of times in order to be put in direct contact with an individual that I would otherwise be unable to reach. Everyone knows someone that knows someone who knows someone. LinkedIn identifies these degrees of separation and makes it easy to be put in touch with someone through and introduction from someone else or through a chain of people.
Move up the career ladder.
Another great use of LinkedIn is to use it as a means to find new employment opportunities. Similar to the example above LinkedIn is a great way to come into contact directly with the persons responsible for hiring at a given company. Be sure that when a potential employer looks at your profile that it is complete and impressive…your profile is your resume, but it is so much more as you’ll soon learn, keep reading.
Word of mouth marketing.
Are you great at what you do and have clients that love and appreciate you for it? For most, if not all, the answer is ‘yes’. Although you may be great at what you do it is often difficult to get testimonials from clients. Email requests for testimonials from clients get lost in the inbox and writing an email as silly as it may sound is time consuming. LinkedIn provides a very easy way to give testimonials as well as to request them. Remember, what goes around comes around so be sure to leave plenty of testimonials if you intend to request them. If you like the information in this post, please provide a testimonial on my profile!
Don’t be a loner.
There are many groups within LinkedIn that are great for connecting with individuals with the same interests and business expertise as yourself. Join these groups and become active. No one person is as powerful as they are when they join a group. Your business will flourish from the interactions you have with group members.
Become Jeeves and answer questions.
There is no better way to show your expertise and knowledge about something than to answer questions related to the subject. Not only will you help someone out, but you will also be demonstrating to other members of LinkedIn that you are an authority on the subject.
Be vocal and sound off.
Post network updates regularly. Letting others know that you are productive and busy is a good thing. People will notice and they will contact you because they will see you as someone who is an authority and one that is knowledgeable about a particular industry.
So there you have it. Did you know you could do all this with LinkedIn? It often gets over shadowed by Facebook, Twitter and others, but it remains the most protected and private, yet beneficial site for business professionals. Is it time you stop neglecting your LinkedIn? Connect with me on LinkedIn, my email is firstname.lastname@example.org.