LinkedIn is a leading professional network you should leverage to increase your network of professionals. You should not overlook the importance of LinkedIn. 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. I joined LinkedIn about four years ago and I have consistently grown my network to over 1,000 now. I have also joined lots of startup groups and share resources I write about on starting a business with group members. I sometimes start discussions on the topics I write about as well. Personally, LinkedIn groups has been most useful for me. These are a few of the strategic ways you can use LinkedIn. You can use LinkedIn:

  1. To promote your products and services, find or be found by new customers.-You can get free leads
  2.  To find experts and get advices on running your business in various groups, introduce yourself when you join and let them know what you can do.
  3. To join groups and start or join in interesting discussions on your niche
  4. To build and strengthen your personal branding and online presence for you or your company (improving the chances of being found on Google).
  5. To be able to post and share announcements, updates, news and new product features
  6. To climb the “expert” ladder instead of the “corporate” ladder. When you consistently share your expertise with your network and group members, you can become and expert in that niche and be recognized as such. You can get contract with that kind of recognition.
  7. To get a quick pulse on an idea you have from others in your industry.
  8. To learn from others experiences and mistakes
  9. To grow your blog audience if you are a writer. Share you writing with your network and group members. You can start a discussion around what you write.
  10. To find new opportunities for business, partners or investors
  11. To secure funding for your business through investor groups.
  12. To find resources for growing your business via the LinkedIn Answers.
  13. To ask for references and recommendations when applying for jobs.