Learn How to Become a LinkedIn Pro
LinkedIn’s 100 million users may not be as attractive as Facebook’s 500 million users in the eyes of most business owners, but at the present time, LinkedIn is adding approximately one new member per second. That’s one million new users every twelve days. If they sustain their current rate of growth, LinkedIn should be as large as Facebook in a little more than a month (Source: Press.LinkedIn.com/about).
As a business owner, does that make you think twice about incorporating LinkedIn into your overall social media marketing campaign?
How Using LinkedIn is Different from Using Facebook
If you’ve ever attended a business networking brunch, then you have a general feeling for what LinkedIn is all about.
Unlike Facebook, which was really designed more for personal interaction, LinkedIn was designed for professional interaction.
Although the same person might be on both Facebook and LinkedIn, they are far more likely to use LinkedIn for making professional connections than they are to use Facebook for that purpose.
Because of this key difference between these two social network giants, LinkedIn marketing differs from marketing with Facebook.
Think of LinkedIn as being less about social media pizzazz and more like a dynamic way to present the world your resume or business card, and collect the same information from others.
On LinkedIn, people are looking specifically to make professional contacts, and this very much works to your advantage if you have something of value to contribute.
Given this different nature of LinkedIn from other types of social media sites, here are six LinkedIn tips to help you start to understand how to use LinkedIn to promote yourself and your business.
1. Make sure to get quality recommendations.
When you complete a contract for a customer, or leave a job amicably, get those people to write you a recommendation. Just as you need strong job references to land your next position, as an entrepreneur or business owner, you need strong recommendations to help you find more work through LinkedIn.
2. Make connections, and lots of them.
Since getting business is not what you know but who you know, the more people you know, the more business you get.
Connect to friends, colleagues, former colleagues, previous bosses, clients, and family members. Once you are “connected”, you can browse that person’s network. If you find someone in those networks who might be a good fit for your business as a client or an employee, you can ask your contact to introduce you.
3. Generate trust by filling out your profile completely, and by keeping it up-to-date.
When people don’t fill out their profile completely, others wonder if they were just being lazy, or if they have something to hide. You don’t want anyone looking at your profile to draw either of those two conclusions, so fill it out in full, and keep it current.
4. Meet people and establish yourself as an expert in the Questions and Answers section.
You can improve your reputation and attract attention by providing genuine, expert advice on questions that relate to your field.
If you are a personal trainer, for example, search for questions about weight loss or body building, and offer your professional advice. If your answer is good enough, it might even lead to a new client.
Remember that it’s not just the person who asked the question who will be reading your post, but also many other people who searched on that phrase – some of whom may live in your city.
5. Don’t just establish a personal profile; establish a profile for your company, too.
Whether you are a company of one or a company of five hundred, add a LinkedIn profile for your business organization. Business profiles will help you find potential employees, clients, and just generally put your information out there.
6. Start a group.
Groups are like networks within networks. By starting a group that connects people who share your same interests, you can connect other professionals, but also increase your own connections.
For example, on the press / LinkedIn tutorial pages, one success story tells of a woman who created a group for non-profits in her state to connect. Her group helped other non-profits get recognition, but it also helped her connect with a major corporate donor for her own non-profit.
In short, LinkedIn is similar to other social media sites in that your success depends entirely upon how successfully you interact with the other people on the site and how broad your exposure becomes.
It is unlike Facebook and the other big social media marketing sites because it focuses specifically on developing professional relationships with others.
If you think you might need some LinkedIn help before you jump in, consider first seeking out some LinkedIn training. A little training can go a long way in building your own LinkedIn success story.