LinkedIn can be a great tool for your business!
For the most part all of us have heard of Facebook and Twitter, but for business there is an equally useful "network" by the name LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is a tool that allows you to leverage the business contacts that you already have by giving you the ability to meet and potentially connect with the business contacts that they have.
As I have been told many times it is not only the person you meet at any given time that is important for your business (although that person of course is), but the legions of people who they know as well.
LinkedIn is an unbelievable tool for getting questions answered on just about any topic that you can think of, in addition to being a resource for any number of other business functions as well.
- 61% use LinkedIn as their primary professional networking site. (Facebook - 22%, Twitter - 4%, None - 13%)
- 35% access LinkedIn on a daily basis.
- 67% access LinkedIn at least weekly.
- 81% of LinkedIn users belong to at least one group.
- 52% participate in group discussions.
- Top level executives use LinkedIn for industry networking more than any other purpose.
- 90% of LinkedIn users believe LinkedIn is useful.
- "It helps me to connect to individuals in my industry as possible clients."
- "It is more professional than Facebook."
- It allows me to hire people that I wouldn't regularly meet."
What is LinkedIn? (Article from BusinessKnowHow.com)
LinkedIn is a rapidly growing professional network with over 120 million members, 60 million in the US alone. At its bare minimum, it's a place online where you can reconnect with former colleagues. But if you utilize it to its full potential, it's a powerful marketing tool and social networking resource, as well as a knowledge pool that you can tap into at any time, without consulting fees. It gives you the opportunity to build business relationships all over the world without leaving your office. People like to do business with people they know, and LinkedIn brings that personal connection to your business.
So how does it work?
You start with a profile, listing your education, skills, and professional experience. If a company or university in your profile is already in LinkedIn's database, you'll get a list of people you may know and you can send requests through LinkedIn for those people to join your network. You can also search for individual names or email addresses, or you can allow LinkedIn to search your email contacts for members. If you click "Add Connections" in the upper right corner of the page, then click the "People You May Know" tab, you will see a list of people who are connected to your contacts. You can then ask your contacts to introduce you. The idea is to "meet" new people through the people you already know to expand your existing network - "Six Degrees of Separation (or Kevin Bacon!)" for business. You can then use this trusted network to find new career opportunities, new clients, vendors, business partners or employees.
How do I get started?
The New User Guide in the LinkedIn Learning Center promises to have you up and running on LinkedIn with three steps in just ten minutes, but Dave Taylor (who writes The Business Blog @ Intuitive.com and Ask Dave Taylor!) recommends spending a good deal more time on your profile. Think of it as your online business card - the first impression you will make on potential clients or employers. Your LinkedIn profile will likely be the first search result when someone looks for you on Google, so make sure your profile is professional, complete, and up-to-date. Link your Twitter and blog updates to your profile, include a professional photo, and build your online reputation with recommendations from colleagues. Link back to your LinkedIn profile from your blog and Twitter profiles.
What will it do for my business?
As long as you have a company email address, you can set up a Company Page that customers can follow for updates on your business, or to review your products and services, and to provide you with endorsements and testimonials. Freelancers can search for work by position, location or company. Use Resume Builder from LinkedIn Labs to pull current information from your profile and generate a professional resume in seconds.
The real value for a small business is the easy access to information from a community of people willing to share. When you join LinkedIn Groups in your field, you share your questions and expertise with your peers. If you're facing a particular problem in your business, odds are someone else has already experienced that problem and solved it. With LinkedIn Answers, you can pose a question to specific connections in your network and get answers from your connections, their connections, and experts who use LinkedIn. Stay on top of the news in your industry with LinkedIn Today. You'll see not only the relevant headlines being shared on LinkedIn and Twitter, but who is sharing them and what companies they represent. With LinkedIn Search, you can query the entire network by name, title, company, location, or keywords.
Add me to your network
After reading the statistics and some background on the benefits and uses of LinkedIn, if you are convinced visit my profile and add me to your connections here using the email address email@example.com.
This will in turn allow you to leverage my hundreds of contacts for your business.