Many businesses have started using the power of social networking to reach larger numbers of people and develop relationships over the long-term. While social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter have received the lion’s share of publicity, LinkedIn is another site that should be considered. LinkedIn is very popular in its own right and puts more of a focus on professional networking and building business relationships. If you’re considering using LinkedIn to build your business, you’ll need to know how it works and what you can do to help your business.
Once you visit LinkedIn, you’ll need to sign up for an account and create a profile. Once you sign-up for an account, you will receive a verification email. Open the email and click on the link within it to activate your account. After you verify your account, you’ll have the option of completing your profile. At this stage, you need to fill out your profile as best as you can. Fill in the work experience section, the education section and any other information that you can provide. Then upload a profile photo so that others can see who they are dealing with. You may also want to change your profile URL to include your name.
Building a Network
After your profile is set up, it’s time to start building a network. The beauty of LinkedIn is that it provides you with an easy way to network with people in your industry or in related industries. For this part of the process, you should start with people that you already know. LinkedIn makes it easy to connect with the people in your email address book. Once you’ve made some connections with people that you know, reach out to some people you don’t know. You could do this by searching for people in your field or companies in your field. You may also want to take the opportunity to ask and answer some questions on the LinkedIn questions section. This provides you with the chance to extend some good will to others who are looking for help in a particular area.
Another way to get involved with others on LinkedIn is to join groups. LinkedIn has many different groups that you could potentially join. Look for groups that are relevant to your area of expertise or are from your geographic region. Once you join a group, start interacting with others to develop relationships. Other people may be interested in your expertise and start asking you questions. Participate in discussions and group events as much as you can.
You might even think about starting your own group on LinkedIn. Starting your own group gives you the chance to direct the subject matter and to create a reputation in the community. If you can create a growing and thriving group, it may open the doors to further opportunities for you.
If you want to promote your business heavily on LinkedIn, another option that you have is to utilize LinkedIn advertising. With LinkedIn advertising campaigns, you can target specific types of people on the site. Your ad will be displayed in prominent locations so that people can be directed to your business website.
Integrating Other Resources
In addition to utilizing the basic features on LinkedIn, you might also want to integrate some outside resources. For example, LinkedIn makes it possible for you to integrate your own blog into your profile. If you have a company blog, this makes it so that your LinkedIn contacts can read the content that you add to the blog.
Another option to consider is linking your Twitter and LinkedIn accounts. This way, anything you post on one of the sites will be automatically posted to the other site. This helps you save time and reach two different potential audiences without spending time on both sites.
Using LinkedIn can be a very effective way to develop relationships and generate leads for your business. Be sure to not look at just LinkedIn when building out your social networks for business, but rather make sure you have a presence with multiple social networks for business that would be helpful for you (you can find a list of social networks for business here). Just don’t expect it to take your business to massive success overnight. This is simply another medium that people can use to develop relationships. Don’t look at it as the magic bullet and you’ll probably be pleasantly surprised with what it can do for your business.
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