In June of this year, LinkedIn topped 70 million users worldwide. But, what does this really mean? Why have a LinkedIn profile and how can it help in business? These are typically great questions and often asked by many individuals who have not yet grasped the idea of online marketing and using Social Media as a means to build business and create connections with potential customers. Here are a few common questions about LinkedIn and how to benefit from using this powerful Social Media Platform.
Q. I already have a profile on LinkedIn, but don’t really see any advantage or how it can benefit my business.
A. The key to anything we do online is to be active. LinkedIn gives you the ability to make yourself stand out from the rest of the crowd in several ways.
Create a powerful profile. Complete the profile so the completion bar is over 90% complete. Preferably 100%. Think of answering the question: How can I help you in the summary section?
Get recommended.This is critical. Who would you do business with: someone that has one or no recommendations or someone that has 25 or more recommendations for a job well done?
Build your network. This is imperative as your network is your link to potential customers and gives you the ability to reach out to potentially hundreds, if not thousands of individuals and businesses that can help you build your business. Make sure you include high-level networkers and media companies.
Q. So, I’ve done all of the above. Now what?
A. The key now to be active. This should not take a lot of time if planned correctly.
Join groups. Groups should be of particular interest to you and are relevant to your industry. Join in on the conversation. Respond to a topic or better yet start a discussion.
Answers. Go to the answers section of LinkedIn and respond to a question you feel suits you and you obviously know the answer. Pose a question and see what sort of responses you can get. If you are working on a perplexing project and are looking for a particular resource, you will be amazed at how many people will come forward to assist you. Think this could save you some time?
Post Jobs. Looking to recruit and hire? What better place than to find a qualified candidate. The best part is that you already have a lot of information before you even make a call.
Q. I heard that LinkedIn is only for those looking for employment and recruiters seem to use it a lot.
A. Yes, as I mentioned in my previous answer, LinkedIn is great for posting job opportunities. As a matter of fact, here are the numbers according to HubSpot: In the Business World, people using LinkedIn are – 41% marketing; 70% job-hunting; 80% recruiting.
Q. So, does this mean that if you are not looking to move to another company or change careers that you really do not need a profile on LinkedIn?
A. Absolutely not! The way things change nowadays where companies are merging and opportunities crop up every minute, it would be foolish to not have a powerful profile on LinkedIn. Also keep in mind that your next customer/client will seek you out and review your accomplishments before doing business with you. Have you every Googled someone you were about to meet for business? Well, your LinkedIn profile will show up on the Google search engine results. Also, you no longer need to travel all over the globe to meet potential new clients and business partners. You can get introduced to someone through your network and start the conversation online without ever leaving the office.
The key to any successful online social media platform is to be active. Help others where you can. Join groups, start discussions, respond to questions in the answer section. If your company has a blog, link it to the profile. The same goes for your Twitter account. Personalize the URL address for your profile if the name is still available. There is so much that can be done with LinkedIn and many ways to use this powerful tool in business. I have only touched on a few items and will delve deeper into some of these in future articles. In the mean time, let's start the conversation.
|This chart shows how B2B social media use varies from B2C focused businesses. Owners of small businesses were more likely to use LinkedIn than employees working for a corporation. B2C are much more focused on Facebook and B2B are much more focused on LinkedIn. Also note that B2B companies are utilizing blogs more.
|Chart provided by SocialMediaExaminer.com – 2010 Social Media Marketing Industry Report|
Frank Guzzo is a speaker/trainer and owner of Emerging Sales Success, a sales and marketing consulting company specializing in social media marketing and focused on building solutions for regional, national and international businesses alike. We keep up with trends, filter the noise and help companies like yours put social media to work. To learn more about us, our services, and how you can use social media marketing to build your brand or to hire Frank as a speaker for your next event, call 1-877-617-7717.
Published on WholeFoods Magazine Online, July 19, 2010.