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Everything has its use, and for LinkedIn, that use is networking. It allows you to stretch your business network net and catch as many relevant contacts as possible. It’s used to further your career, and can double as an online resume. That’s it.
Except that’s not it. The LinkedIn orange can be juiced far better than that.
LinkedIn is seen as the most “professional” of the social networking sites. With over 400 million members, professionals the world over use it as a gateway to getting in touch with contacts that were only previously available at lobster-level industry functions. To expand your career options, or to further your current path, LinkedIn is now not just seen as a recommended thing to be a part of, but a required one.
So with so many people active on the site, you’ve got yourself a captive audience of professionals that exists nowhere else in the world. If you’ve got the know-how, you can turn the LinkedIn experience into a powerful marketing tool. Let’s have a look at how.
Step 1: Enhance Your Profile
Your LinkedIn profile is so much more than just an online resume. It’s got a world of features that will help to enhance your brand and get the best version of yourself out into the ether. Some features that are just waiting to be capitalised on include:
- Status Updates – Just like Facebook, LinkedIn has the option to post statuses about your goings-on. If you have something that you feel your connections would appreciate, whether it be a career update, an industry-relevant article, or a recent example of your work, be sure to post it for everyone to see. It shows that you’re an active member of the LinkedIn community.
- Blog Posts – LinkedIn has a function with which you can easily (and automatically) share links to blog posts from your personal or company website straight to your profile.
- Presentations – By converting your PowerPoint presentations to either Google Docs or SlideShare, you’re able to display them right there on your profile.
- Recommendations – LinkedIn makes it super simple to request references from connections. Get as many as you can that display your experience and expertise. An overflowing reference folder underlines the value that you bring to your profession.
- Linking Other Social Networks – If you’re an active user of Twitter, you can link to your LinkedIn account up and have either account update automatically from the other.
- Events – If you’re speaking at an upcoming event, or are having an open day for your business, you can post an event to promote the event and generate interest.
Step 2: Use Community Features
LinkedIn also has community features, separate to your profile, that allow LinkedIn members to collaborate and communicate with one another.
- Answers – LinkedIn Answers is an open forum for you to ask any question to a receptive audience of industry professionals worldwide. And while being able to ask anything is a terrifically handy thing, being able to answer a fellow professional’s questions will really affirm your position as an expert and thought leader. Being active on the Answers forum will do worlds of good for your professional standing.
- Groups – Whether creating your own group or joining an established one, these are great ways of sharing information with other professionals in your field and creating relationships.
- Company Pages – A profile for your company rather than yourself, you can use this to establish a presence for your business on LinkedIn, advertising positions that are available or simple showing the services you provide.
Building Your Business on LinkedIn
LinkedIn isn’t just a valuable tool to progress your career, it’s also a terrific tool for building your business. The following strategies may produce positive results for your company:
- Brand Your URL – The URL of your company’s LinkedIn address will be pre-set to a jumble of letters and numbers. Professionalise it by changing it to your company’s name (i.e linkedin.com/yourbusinessnamehere).
- Become a Thought Leader – By being regularly active in Groups and Answers, you’ll soon establish yourself as a thought leader in your field, getting more connections drifting your and your business’s way.
- Warm Call Sales – If you’re in sales and are looking to get in contact with a prospect, LinkedIn can be a fantastic place to get proceed with a warm call. More than likely your prospect is only 1 or 2 degrees of separation away from a current connection of yours – use the Introduction feature to ask one of your connections for an introduction.
- Find Your Next Star Employee – With the help of your connections and groups, you can now head-hunt more effectively than ever before. Directing any advertisements for job openings to the specific people that will be suitable is super simple and far more efficient than the classic ad in the paper.
LinkedIn can be so much more than a digital copy of your resume. Utilising its full potential to further your business and career is as effective as it is simple.
So what are you waiting for? Link yourself in.