LinkedIn is a professional, business and career oriented social networking site. It allows you to meet professional experts in a variety of industries across the globe.
There’s currently over 35 millions professionals on LinkedIn and these numbers are growing as we speak.
The LinkedIn community enables you to connect with like minded people which in returns allow you to grow your business contacts and network.
As a registered member, you get to create your own personal profile with information about you, your company, your products and services. You can also mention your professional accomplishments.
Once you’ve done this, you can begin to maintain a list of contacts which are known as connections and actively invite others to join your network and that whether they are existing LinkedIn users or not.
Now that you’re a little more familiar with the LinkedIn community, let’s go ahead and detail the numerous ways you can use LinkedIn to increase your business growth and get ahead of your competitors.
#1. Growing & Managing Your Contact List
Jeffrey Combs once said: “Your Networth Is Proportional To Your Network” and this statement is so true. In business, your contacts are everything. You don’t know need to know everyone, but make sure you know the people that know everyone!
That being said, the LinkedIn community is a great place to begin connecting with real professionals in order to begin growing your list of business contacts which could be done pretty easily.
Just like any social networking site, you should approach like minded people to initiate the first contact (make sure that you’re not spamming people with your ads) and regularly keep in touch with them so in the long run, they’ll know, like and trust you.
In addition to this, you can import almost any digital address book and web email contacts (Hotmail, Aol, Yahoo, etc…) from your LinkedIn account hence growing your list of contacts.
#2. LinkedIn Answers
This tool is by far one of the most important tools on LinkedIn. “LinkedIn Answers” allow anyone to ask questions about any topic and anyone can answer these questions.
The cool thing about this is that you can interact with lots of people that are not in your network…Hence, a great way to increase your connections.
So Here’s How It Works: When someone asks a question, everyone can give out answers or suggestions to that specific question.
A few days after the question has been posted and that you’ve received some answers, you’ll be asked to choose the right answers or the answers that helped you most.
And out of all these good answers, you’ll have to pick the “best” answer. Then the person that has been chosen for the “best” answer will be provided with an expertise point that will show up on his/her profile.
Answering questions is a great way to establish your expertise in a certain field. By answering more and more questions or inquiries from other LinkedIn users, you’ll be able to gain more expertise points which will allow you to become the expert people are looking for to do business with.
Remember that in business, people join you or buy your products or services because you’re an expert or a leader they know, like and trust.
With this little tool, you’ll be able to drive a great deal of traffic to your site…Increasing sales and sign-ups!
You can easily become THAT expert in a really short period of time (anyone can become an expert in anything with just a simple research…Please do not share this secret with anyone!), hence attracting potential leads and prospects to your marketing funnels.
Asking questions is also a good way to interact with other experts. Your questions will be read and answered by so many people and you can make use of their expertise to do joint ventures or share business ideas.
#3. LinkedIn Services
The “LinkedIn Services” tool is a complete directory of service providers that have been recommended by other users in your network.
Let’s say that you’re looking for a highly qualified graphic & web designer in your town or city and you really want to make sure they’re real experts. You can use the “LinkedIn Services” to see which graphic & web designers have been recommended by others.
This tool will help you save time researching for professionals you want to hire to get a certain job done.
That being said, I strongly suggest that you get your clients to recommend you as a professional so when people are searching for services or products you offer, then they’ll find you.
That alone is priceless since you’ll get tons of prospective clients at your fingertip without spending a penny on advertising.
#4. Search LinkedIn
The search tool simply allows you to find professionals that you know and even the ones you don’t know.
Then you can either try to get an introduction from someone in your network that knows that person or simply upgrade your LinkedIn account in order to be able to contact him/her directly.
#5. LinkedIn Groups
LinkedIn groups allow you to join any group that you want. You’ll then be able to meet great people and keep in touch with prospective business partners and clients.
Make sure that you’re a contributing member of each group you join. Post great content regularly, keep in touch with the other group members, etc…This will literally help you brand your name, your products, services and even business opportunities because people will begin to relate to you.
#6. LinkedIn Jobs
LinkedIn is also a great place to post jobs or recruit employees to your company. Thousands of companies are hiring and recruiting on LinkedIn so if you’re a business owner looking for prospective employees, there you go!
If you’re looking for employment, there are so many great companies on LinkedIn offering great career opportunities.
#7. Search Engine Optimization Made Easy
SEO marketing is one the toughest things out there in cyberspace and takes a lot of effort and learning to become an expert.
Since LinkedIn is highly ranked in all top search engines, your LinkedIn page will easily show up in the top 10 in search engine results for certain keywords. That’s literally free organic traffic your page without all the SEO marketing hassle.
Give it a try: simply type my name “Souleymane Maiga” on Google.com and on the 1st page, you’ll see my LinkedIn profile.
In conclusion, I would like to say that LinkedIn is a great social networking site. If used properly, it could increase your visibility and brand name.
It also adds more credibility to your image and brand (“LinkedIn Answers” easily allow you to become a known expert in your field of expertise).
Keep in mind that LinkedIn should not be used a mass marketing outlet like Facebook or MySpace or even Twitter (you should only target what you’re looking forward to accomplish).