LinkedIn is the leading business professional network you should leverage to increase your network of professionals. LinkedIn’s membership increased to 313 million from 296 million in the first quarter of 2014.
You should not overlook the importance of LinkedIn for you and your business. If you are not using LinkedIn fully yet, it’s about time your took it serious to increase your business connections and expand your network. So many businesses are generating leads and making sales on LinkedIn today. Business professionals have made profitable connections, secured jobs, won contracts and generated hundreds of leads on LinkedIn. LinkedIn gives everyone a snapshot of their capabilities, skills and competencies.
My network has consistently grown to over 3,000 and I have recently attracted over 8,000 followers on the LinkedIn publishing platform. I attracted most of the followers this year because I started sharing consistently on the LinkedIn publishing platform. It can only get better. Show your work on LinkedIn. I have also joined lots of startup groups and share resources I write on starting a business with group members. I sometimes start discussions on the topics I write about as well.
These are a few of the strategic ways you should be using LinkedIn.
1. Start with a clear and awesome profile. Your profile is a quick way to share who you are, what you do and what you are capable of doing. People are statistically more likely to speak to you if you have a face picture. Don’t forget to upload a great headshot. Your headline is your advert. A great LinkedIn profile should have your name, your picture, and a heading. Your profile is an informal version of your CV. Ensure it gets picked up in searches by including key phrases relevant to your field.
Use the heading to communicate what you do and what you offer. Keep it brief. Keep it interesting! Have a great summary. The summary is about YOU (not your company). Use this to demonstrate to people the benefits of linking with you. List your skills. People rarely connect with someone who hasn’t clearly stated his or her skills. Post statuses. Status updates make you visible to your connections as it appears in their newsfeed. Post relevant status updates related to your industry.
2. Introduce yourself when you join groups. To find experts and get advice on running your business in various groups, introduce yourself when you join groups and let members know what you can do. Active groups are all about communication. The first thing you should do when you join relevant groups is to introduce yourself. Other people always want to know who you are and what you do, take advantage of that and write a killer statement about yourself. In some groups, its even compulsory to introduce yourself before sharing articles or links. Don’t rule introduction out. LinkedIn can immensely help you build and strengthen your personal and business brand.
3. Don’t sell but educate. You can easily promote your business via LinkedIn pages for businesses. Whatever product you are selling, just like Facebook pages, you can promote your products, find or be found by new customers and get your marketing message out there to some of the best relevant target audience with your LinkedIn pages.
You can post and share company announcements, updates, news and new product features but most importantly educate your audience. With the introduction of the LinkedIn publishing platform, educating and informing your prospective audience gets better. Just like any free publishing platform out there, you should be writing posts and articles that educate your audience about your industry. You are more likely yo win the trust of prospective customers if you care about their education instead spamming them with product messages all the time.
4. Climb the “expert” ladder instead of the “corporate” ladder. When you consistently share your expertise with your network and group members, you can become an expert in that niche and be recognized as such. You can win businesses with that kind of recognition. The LinkedIn publishing platform even makes it much more easier now to climb the expert ladder. It’s like having another business blogging platform but with millions of business professionals at your disposal. Make the most of it and climb the expert ladder instead of the corporate ladder.
5. Find new opportunities for business, partners and investors. No single social platform offers the kind of opportunities LinkedIn offers. Leads, sales, customers, business partners, investors, co-founders etc. All it takes is a single introduction to the right connection and your business or your life can change for the better. You may not be seeing the full benefits of LinkedIn yet but if you do your homework well, new opportunities could open up for you soon.
If you find a connection that can help your business or cause but can’t directly introduce yourself, ask your closest first degree connection to make the introduction for you. Don’t forget to make the most of related and relevant groups. If you need funding, search for related investor groups and make your case for funding or partnership. The same goes for other business groups. There is always a group out there you can find useful to advance your career.