As a nifty social media tool, LinkedIn went live in 2003, which allowed career-oriented professionals to connect and network online in new ways. Quickly, LinkedIn became a leader in the social media space and today has around 70 million members. From recruiting new employees to finding potential new customers, companies both large and small use LinkedIn. Though your business might be small and have a local focus, keep in mind that all 500 of the Fortune 500 are represented on LinkedIn. There's no doubt, it’s the place to be for businesses.
Due to its focus on professional networking, LinkedIn isn't as playful as Facebook . The site was created for career-minded individuals to get linked to each other for job opportunities and collaboration; it also offers effective tools for growing and marketing your business to current and new customers. Here are some helpful tips on how to use LinkedIn for your business:
First, sign up. Once you do, you will be prompted to connect with all your existing contacts on your email platforms. Once your contacts are also connected to you on LinkedIn, browse through their profiles. You'll see their work history, current projects and might even find other contacts you know. This new info might inspire business development and/or partnership ideas! Make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date with all your businesses info and contact information.
Joining or Creating a Group
By doing so, you can connect with other like-minded professionals and share information. Think of the groups as those clubs you joined in high-school. Create or join a group around a topic that relates to your business like the Dentist Network or the Collision and Auto Body Repair Professionals. Do a search to find any existing groups you can join. After you’ve joined a few, you can create your own! If you are a dentist, name your group the title of your practice and invite all your clients. However, to attract new clients, you need to come up with a broader topic like Personal Care Professionals. You also need to post helpful tips and tools, and discussion topics that engage and build your online community. It‘s important to make sure you're using keywords in your group to maximize its rankings in searches.
Following the 80/20 Rule
After your group grows to about 20 or more members, create an in-person event where you can really connect with potential clients. Online communication can only go so far. LinkedIn can help you connect with a new audience, but you will be more likely to seal any deal in person. So remember the 80/20 rule. Spend 20% networking online and 80% in the flesh to get business deals off the ground. You can create an event using the LInkedin's Event Application. It will allow you to create an event page, invite people and monitor RSVPs. You can also click on Premium Events to advertise your gathering through the LinkedIn advertising platform.
Updating Your Status Messages
Unlike on a personal Facebook account, LinkedIn status messages should be primarily business related. Update your LinkedIn status messages with incentives, promotions, new blog posts and articles, and other similar ways to attract customers/clients. You may even want to connect your LinkedIn updates to your company's Facebook and Twitter feeds so you only have to post your info once. To do that, click on your profile settings and then the Twitter settings option. Then click on the “Yes, share all tweets" option.
Starting Searching Look for New Leads
To do a search, type appropriate keywords in the top right search bar. When search results come up, click on names to view profiles. Or run an advanced search (found on the top right side of the homepage) to discover more specific leads. Once you find a potential customer, email them a personal message about a common interest, business or connection. If you don't have friends in common or share a group, upgrade your account and use their InMail contact option. You can also use this tool to find talented future potential employees in your market.
You can use LinkedinAnswers to act as an authority and answer questions about your field(s) of expertise. To get there, click on “more” in the top navigation list and scroll down to Answers. Then click on the Answer Now icon and then the Advanced Answers Search. Search for questions that you might be able to answer and take some time each week to send your responses. When people see you as an expert, you're more than likely to generate new business!
On LinkedIn, Local business professionals are networking and connecting in all sorts of ways. You can join the networking party yourself and expose your business to a remarkably substantial new audience for a minimal time commitment.
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