Think of LinkedIn as the most well-attended networking event the world has ever seen. Then congratulate yourself on finding a way to meet and greet with more than 70 million professionals without having to endure the awkward conversations and business-card exchanges that go along with your regular, run-of-the-mill business gathering.
When used correctly, LinkedIn provides a platform for online networking, maintaining contacts, receiving referrals and participating in the community at large. And so, we’ve compiled the following tips and tools from past posts in order to help you take better advantage of your profile …
Your Profile: Since LinkedIn began as a vehicle for job hunters, many people are still under the impression that some form of copy-and-pasted resume is all you need to attract potential business to your page. Truth is, this is a representation of you and, hopefully, one that will be seen by potential clients and partners. That means, you’ll want to offer up a bit more than your work history. If you have a Twitter page, add it. Add your website as well. Get connected by importing your email address book and sending out an invite to your business contacts. Add a bio and job experience. The more information you offer, the more likely your profile will be found.
Get Active: So you’ve filled out your profile and imported your business contacts to LinkedIn. The next step is getting active on the site. LinkedIn offers the ability to join as many industry-related groups and discussions as you wish. So do it. Search groups by category or keyword and focus on your region or industry. Once you’ve joined, ask a question or answer an existing query. If nothing else, you may learn something from someone. At best, you’ll make new contacts within your industry and region that could lead to business down the road.
Make Recommendations: On LinkedIn, recommendations bolster your credibility. After all, if you’ve got a lot of recommendations, you’re most likely trustworthy and not out to scam, spam, or swindle anyone. But how do you get them? Well, start by recommending people you’ve had positive business experiences with. Once you’ve made some recommendations, it’ll be a lot easier to get some in return.
WordPress: If you have a business blog and haven’t added it to your LinkedIn page, you should. The WordPress application on LinkedIn allows you to easily update your profile with your most recent blog posts, provided you’re using WordPress. And, if embedding your blog on your LinkedIn profile sounds like it may be beyond your technological abilities, it’s as easy as entering your domain name into the application. Everything else is automatic.
Polls: You may think polls are only for research centers and presidential campaigns but they’re also a handy and convenient way of gathering information that will boost your business. Use the poll application on LinkedIn to pose a question to your connections and millions of other professionals, then use their answers to better your services. In addition, the poll application allows you to embed the voting module on your website or blog.
Be Strategic: Once you’ve set up a page and joined some groups, developed some content, discussion topics, or questions to share, it’s time to think strategically about how, where, and when to post it. You don’t, for example, want to post your content on Christmas morning or the 4th of July or even weekends for that matter. Posting the right topic to the right group at a time when there’s likely to be more traffic and interest will make the difference between being ignored and being found among millions of members.