LinkedIn the Networking Powerhouse is a business-oriented social networking site mainly used for professional networking; however it can do so much more. It’s just a matter of learning how to effectively use it. The success stories of small & large organisations are growing rapidly. An example of this is Travelscene Corporate who acquired followers through LinkedIn advertisements & LinkedIn Polls to generate insights. The result was over 1,000 followers acquired over the 4 week campaign and ongoing communication with the follower base.
Why is it the business networking powerhouse of the information age? Here’s why:
You can connect to people you know either through current business relationships or reconnecting to people you may know from previous engagements. Use the LinkedIn search facility to find people or companies that you would like to be connected to either share knowledge, create sales or find employment. LinkedIn is a great information resource to review people or companies prior to meetings and interviews which allow you to do your homework and garner information that will help you develop a rapport with people from the outset.
LinkedIn is a cost effective way of recruiting, either through advertising a specific job or contacting (head hunting) an attractive prospect directly.
There is valuable industry knowledge that can be gained by actively participating in groups and discussions. This is where you can share your knowledge, contribute, answer questions, start discussions and establish yourself as an expert or thought leader in your field. This is also an opportunity to praise the contributions of others so that you don’t come across as a self-promoting monster. Perhaps there isn’t a group that covers your topic of expertise, after doing a thorough search of the current LinkedIn Groups, start your own group and send out invitations to people you feel could not only benefit from joining the group, but add value with their own knowledge and expertise.
Create a profile that highlights your skills and expertise and illustrates passion for what you do. Gaining recommendations from employers, colleagues, suppliers and clients adds weight to your reputation and credibility and the best way to get recommendations and endorsements is to ask your best contacts to recommend you and endorse your skills. It’s always best to do this in the form of an email or phone call rather than the LinkedIn option which can be seen as impersonal and may end up in the Junk folder of the very people you need to write a recommendation for you.
A picture says a thousand words so when you are adding a profile picture remember who your audience is and what type of image you are trying to portray. Not a passport pic, but certainly not something you would post on Facebook!
Most importantly you should dedicate time each day/week (depending on your purpose for joining) to interact with your LinkedIn community.
LinkedIn is powerful as a B2B networking, sales & marketing and recruitment tool. But remember, you only get out as much as you put in.