LinkedIn – chances are you have heard of it, but do you really know what it is, or what it can do for you? Put simply, LinkedIn is the Facebook for business, full of valuable information, resources and opportunities to network with leaders in almost any industry you can think of. However, if you are not sure how to use it, or the potential it has to impact your business, you are missing out on a huge asset.
What is LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a networking site for professional. A good way to look at it is what Facebook is to your social life; LinkedIn is to your professional life. Not only is it the perfect platform for networking and career development, it is also a community of business people and entrepreneurs.
To become a member you will go to www.linkedin.com and fill out the profile information. It is important to fill out as much of this profile as possible, including the jobs you have held in the past, details regarding your knowledge, interests, skills and qualifications and be sure that you include links to your blog, website and other online profiles that you have created.
Once you have created your profile, you can search the LinkedIn platform for people to connect with; this can be done by the person’s name or by the name of the organization. LinkedIn also offers a feature where you can have the site scan your email contacts for the people that you know. Unlike other social media platforms, LinkedIn requires that you state how you know someone prior to allowing you to connect to them.
When you are trying to connect to someone you should take time to personalize the message that the person will get. You can include information that will help the individual remember you and to prevent the request that you are making from appearing to be spam.
Joining and Creating Groups
When you begin using LinkedIn, one of the most useful benefits that you will see is groups. These groups are established by other members based on issues, subjects or even a geographical location. You simply request to join a group and then post your question or comment.
More Ways to Use LinkedIn
Once you have created your profile, connected with other business individuals and joined groups that are relevant to you, the next step is to customize your LinkedIn presence. You can add a variety of apps to your profile, which will allow you to import content you have on your other sites. One example of this would be if you publish a WordPress. You can set up your LinkedIn account so that the posts are automatically imported into your LinkedIn page.
LinkedIn also offers a premium membership that provide features such as statistics including who has viewed your profile, which can help you determine if you should introduce yourself and begin a conversation with this individual.
LinkedIn Recommendations – How they Work and why You Need them
A recommendation, which is another distinguishing factor that sets LinkedIn apart from other social media sites, is a comment that is written by another user of LinkedIn. The comment is used to commend or recognize a student, business partner or colleague for their work, accomplishments or other achievement. When someone views your profile they can view the recommendations that you have received in order to see what other members have said about your work and capabilities.
The very best recommendations will come from those that have found value in the work that you do, the products or services that you offer, an include clients, customers, co-workers, colleagues and managers. There are many hiring managers, as well as customers, that will search for a business partner by reading the recommendations that you have received from others. There is no limit to the number of recommendations that you can give or that you can request.
LinkedIn Stats and Information
LinkedIn has over 250 million members that reside in over 200 countries and territories all over the world. (http://www.linkedin.com/about-us). As of January 2014 the United States had the largest user base with 93 million users, followed by India at 24 million and Brazil at 16 million. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LinkedIn#Membership). The mission of the site is fairly simple: to help connect professionals all over the world in order to make them more successful and more productive. When you create a LinkedIn profile, you will receive access to insights, updates, news, jobs and people that will help you become extraordinary at what you do.
Who Needs to Have a LinkedIn Presence?
If you have a business that is involved with sales of any type or PR and marketing, LinkedIn is a valuable tool that provides you the ability to engage others and promote what you have to offer. However, any company that provides a business to business service or product can also benefit from the opportunities for networking that the platform offers, as well. For example, human resources professionals use the site for recruitment purposes and a number of nonprofit organizations are developing new channels to acquire fundraising and donors. The fact is that virtually any type of business, or professional, can reap a number of benefits by having a presence on LinkedIn.
Why YOU Need a LinkedIn Presence
If you have yet to join this platform, there are a number of reasons that you should join. Besides the obvious that LinkedIn is easy to use and FREE, some other reasons to be present are highlighted here.
Reinforcement of Your Brand
When you use LinkedIn you can ensure that users are finding the information that you want them to see. Your professional LinkedIn profile will also help to build your credibility professionally, especially when you become involved in group discussions. The site can also help you manage the reputation that your business has.
Enhanced Professional Relationships
When it comes to creating a successful business, chances are that you know that personal relationships are the ones that matter the most and that can have the biggest impact. LinkedIn combines these personal relationships and combines them with the power held by social media in order to help you keep up with your connections. You can also use the platform to search for employers, employees, colleagues, distributors and suppliers that you may be considering doing business with.
Increased Online Presence and Visibility
If someone is searching for you online and you have created a professional LinkedIn profile, there is a very good chance that it will appear on the very first page of the organic search results, if you have performed search engine optimization on your linked page. Google, and other search engines, score LinkedIn profiles highly due to their relevancy and the fact that they typically have up-to-date content.
5 Ways to Start Using LinkedIn Immediately
Using LinkedIn isn’t difficult, but may be a bit confusing if you are new to the site. Use these five tips to get started right away!
- Create a Company Page
In order to create a pay for your business, you must first create a personal profile. The company page will allow you to let others know what you offer, what you are up to and even share link to your blog or website. This is an excellent way to get the “word” about what you have to offer.
- Let People Know what You are Doing
Like other social networks, LinkedIn offers you the chance to post updates with your followers and connections. Since this is a professional network, you should ensure that these updates are also professional. For example, “If you are looking for ways to increase your visibility in SERPs, read this helpful article.” The key is to catch someone’s attention and generate a new opportunity or conversation.
- Offer “Small Goods”
This is a term that has been created by the co-founder of LinkedIn, Reid Hoffman. When you help other users on LinkedIn, such as mentioning a new client or job, answering a question, or posting an answer in the “Answers” section of the site, you are encouraging others to do the same for you.
- Create or Join a LinkedIn Group
When you use LinkedIn you can join a selection of “micro-groups” within the site that are focused on a particular industry or niche. You can also create your own group and ask others to join. This is extremely beneficial as it will put you in direct conversation with other professionals in your industry.
- Give to Get
The worse thing that you can do with your LinkedIn profile is to use it as only a sales platform. You need to provide relevant and valuable information that the people you are connected with will actually care about. This will encourage others to read the sales posts you create and check out what you have to offer.
LinkedIn is an important social platform for business professionals. It is one that has much more impact and influence in the business world than sites such as Facebook and Twitter. If you are trying to network, find work, hire workers or just increase your brand recognition, LinkedIn is a site you need to have a presence on.