LinkedIn can be a very powerful tool if you know how to maximize its potential for your network and your business. It’s different than any other social media platform because it’s designed specifically for business networking. It’s much more than just a resume showcase. It’s a place to network and connect with other professionals. It’s a place to build your business. LinkedIn is a growing platform, with more than 150 million users in the United States. If you’re not already on it, you need to be!
There are 5 primary benefits of utilizing LinkedIn for your business.
LinkedIn is a great way to communicate your personal brand. Your profile should convey your experience, your unique brand, and your strengths. Enhancing your profile to tell your story and how you provide value in your career is essential to building your personal brand. You can be viewed as an expert if you post articles and share valuable business information that helps your connections.
Less than 1% of users post articles on LinkedIn, which means there’s a huge opportunity for you to stand out by taking advantage of this feature. And if you consistently post relevant and valuable articles, you’ll be seen as an industry leader or thought leader. As an added benefit, you’ll remain top of mind with your connections. It also enhances your search engine optimization (SEO) for your profile, company, and industry. You have many strengths and a lot of knowledge to share, so why not do it through LinkedIn? Regardless of what type of position you have, you can use LinkedIn to help elevate your personal brand, as well as your company brand. (This is a component of marketing.)
Like many other social media platforms, LinkedIn allows you to brand your company through engagement. Recent updates have been implemented on LinkedIn to better utilize a Company Page and sharing articles across pages. Think of company Pages like mini websites— they allow both prospects and potential employees to learn more about what your firm is all about. It allows you to share your story about how you help clients solve problems by providing solutions. Additionally, it’s useful for sharing general information about your company culture for recruits. LinkedIn should be used by every company as a multi-purpose tool for marketing, business development, sales, and recruitment. Be sure to include a link to your Company Page on your actual website too, so people know you have a presence on LinkedIn and they can follow you. It’s also good to add your LinkedIn Company Page to your email signature.
Maintain Your Network
LinkedIn is better than your email contact list or other digital address book. Why? Because most people update their LinkedIn profile when they switch positions. This allows you to keep in touch with all the contacts you’ve made throughout your career. There have been times when I’ve sent an email to someone using their business email address, only to have it bounce back telling me the email address is no longer valid. So I jump over to LinkedIn and send them a message to reach them that way.
This platform also allows you to see what your connections are doing or achieving professionally. LinkedIn is savvy about sending updates and reminders on work anniversaries (how long someone’s been employed at their current firm), birthdays (as long as the individual puts this in his or her profile), and when someone appears in the news. These are all great reasons to reach out to contacts you haven’t connected with in some time to remain top of mind. It makes it more comfortable and less salesy to reach out when there is something to congratulate them about.
Grow Your Network
LinkedIn is a great tool for networking, although it doesn’t replace face-to-face networking, which is essential in business. Successfully building relationships doesn’t exclusively happen online, but with LinkedIn as another tool in your toolbox, you’ll be able to connect and maintain relationships with those contacts you have interacted with in face-to-face networking settings. Through LinkedIn, you can seek out people you’ve met in person and want to connect with, allowing you to learn more about them and their business. Once you have an idea of whom you want to connect with online, just send them a message to grow your network (always providing a valid reason they should connect with you).
LinkedIn offers several different resources for personal development. It has SlideShare and a learning portal with classes where you can learn more about any topic. SlideShare gives you the ability to share what you know and love through presentations, infographics, documents and more. You can find about any topic to learn more about through this feature. Some classes are 3-4 minutes while others are a couple of hours, so there’s something to fit every schedule. Through your connections sharing articles and training modules, you will learn valuable knowledge about your industry, your skills, and your local business community. Because LinkedIn was created for the business professional, typically only professional articles, information, and knowledge is shared. You aren’t going to see posts about vacations, kids or pets.
LinkedIn benefits any professional whether you are currently employed, unemployed, or looking for other opportunities. Regardless of your title, position, or status, LinkedIn will help you grow your network and grow your business.
Do you want to learn more about how to utilize LinkedIn in your business? Do you want to walk away with an improved profile and some action items to immediately implement? I’ll be teaching a “Utilizing LinkedIn to Grow Your Network and Your Business” workshop Wichita State University’s Center for Management Development on Friday, September 6 from 1pm-4pm. Bring your laptop and have your LinkedIn profile created to maximize your time. Click here for additional details on the workshop and to register.
If you can’t make it to the workshop, I also have a LinkedIn Social Media Guidebook which can be purchased here.