With over 200m users worldwide, LinkedIn is not only one of the most popular networks but also one of the oldest (launched in 2003), and it is by far the most used network in the business community.
These days, if you are a professional and you’re not on LinkedIn you risk being perceived as old-fashioned, out of touch, or worse, lazy. If you have been procrastinating about using LinkedIn for business and are not sure where to start, this blog post is for you.
LinkedIn is a social network that centres around your career and your connections. You post your resume, in as much or as little detail as you feel comfortable with, and start connecting with people you work with or have worked with in the past. You also connect with people you went to school with or people you know through your existing business connections.
Why use LinkedIn?
People use LinkedIn for a multitude of reasons. Your goals and usage will depend on your career, your ambitions, your role and, ultimately, your business goals.
If you don’t have any other social media presence, and you’ve avoided it like the plague, then LinkedIn is the place you should start. Given that, with the current economic times, no job is a job for life; building a LinkedIn presence can help you stay current – just in case. Not only that, LinkedIn can also save you a lot of time and effort in your current role. Those are just a couple of reasons why LinkedIn is a must for business people. Here are ten more reasons why every business person should be on LinkedIn:
1. LinkedIn for Research – LinkedIn’s questions and answers is a great place to crowdsource. If you are working on a project and need to do some research, why not consider asking the LinkedIn community. People are often keen to show their knowledge, and you will find that if you word your question correctly you will get valuable feedback, links and information that will save you time.
2. Looking for work? Find out if the person who is hiring, or prominent people from the company that you want to do business with, are in your extended network and ask for a connection from the person you have in common. It’s always easier to get an interview or a first meeting if you are referred by someone trusted. Also if you are on the job market, make sure that you post your resume to LinkedIn and update it as your experience grows. LinkedIn is often the first place recruiters look when considering hiring someone.
3. Share an Update – Use your status updates on LinkedIn wisely. You can use them to inform your networks of what you do, or what you are looking to do. For example, if you are conducting a strategy session with a client, tell your network that – many of them might not know that you provide this service. Or you can entrench yourself as an expert in your field by posting valuable links to articles or news pertinent to your field that will educate or add value for your connections.
4. Company Profiles – LinkedIn isn’t just for individuals, businesses can have profiles too, and yours should. Doing so will help build your organisation’s web presence, will allow interested parties to learn more about your business, give you valuable referrals and will improve your web ranking. Make sure that employees know about your page and link to it, and that your services are prominently displayed.
5. Save Time and Maintain Relationships – In the old day’s people had a Rolodex and had to lift a phone on a regular basis in order to keep in touch with their connections, and only managed to keep in touch with the main ones because it took so much time. These days you can use tools like LinkedIn to stay at the forefront of people’s minds (even those on the periphery of your network). I am not saying that you shouldn’t lift a phone – you should, but by using LinkedIn you can more easily keep in touch with more people and augment your relationships.
6. Build Your Network – Not only is it important to keep in touch with people but it is also important in business to connect with new people. When you do so, follow up with a LinkedIn connect request and take advantage of your in-person networking in the virtual world too. Get in the habit of doing this and your LinkedIn network will quickly grow. Connect with people you meet, work with, people you connect with online and use this as a way to stay in touch with your connections as in point five above.
7. Reach the Powers that Be – LinkedIn is the social network used most by top level executives so it can be a really valuable tool in connecting you with decision makers. This is especially powerful for strategic selling.
9. Hiring – with over 100m potential candidates online, have you thought of using LinkedIn to facilitate in your hiring process? People use LinkedIn for recruitment and for finding jobs and, given the professional nature of the tool, it can help you find just the right person for the job. You can easily set this up – it costs about $195 for a 30-day job posting.
10. Advertise – LinkedIn recently started allowing members to use sponsored ads to advertise on its network in a highly targeted way. You can advertise to specific people by company, geography, title, gender and age. You only pay for click-throughs (each time someone clicks on the ad) and the cost is quite affordable (minimum $10 per day), but one downside is that you are limited by characters in the text.
If LinkedIn is on your to-do list please remember that we provide LinkedIn set up, maintenance, education and coaching services. Contact us and let us know how we can assist.
Please connect with Out-Smarts on LinkedIn.