Hewlett-Packard was the first business to hit one million connections on LinkedIn! Now, I want you to be honest for a moment. Are you surprised that a business could connect with that many people on LinkedIn? (I'm not talking about Facebook right now – just LinkedIn.) If so, you're not alone.
There are a ton of people who see LinkedIn as the “set and forget” social network. It's where you put your resume, and if you're lucky you can form a connection or two with some of the people from your past businesses or jobs, but other than that – it's the network most professionals love to hate. You have a profile there because professionals are supposed to – but you never actually spend time there.
If you're a professional building your own business or looking to form connections and network with others in your niche, I can't tell you what a mistake that perspective of LinkedIn would be. Believe it or not, LinkedIn is an amazing tool to promote your product or service. It's a place to start conversations with others in your field. It's a place where having an up to date profile can land you your next big opportunity. And if you know how to use it well, the networking and growth potential is astounding. If you're not sure how to use LinkedIn for marketing your product or service, you're not alone. But just because you aren't comfortable with it doesn't mean it's avoidable.
Here's the thing – when it comes to establishing your professionalism or credibility, more of your colleagues and potential recruiters are going to look at your LinkedIn profile. And if you're marketing a product or service, LinkedIn is where the bulk of your ideal clients are located. There are over 200 million LinkedIn accounts. The average salary of a LinkedIn user is over 100,000 per year. When you're looking for customers for your products or services – these are the people who can easily afford what your business offers. Just sayin'!
Are you starting to see how learning how to effectively use LinkedIn for business can add value to your entire social network portfolio – and your bank account? Honestly – LinkedIn is a great way to make business connections, find jobs, and contract work.
Here are a few simple tips on how to effectively use LinkedIn for business:
- Take the time to fill out your LinkedIn profile in detail with appropriate keywords. It helps you connect with the right people.
- Always use a professional photo on LinkedIn. There are rarely any exceptions.
- Keep your experience and other information up-to-date on LinkedIn. Experiences make you more valuable.
- Make your LinkedIn profile interesting. Add links to photos, web pages, and social media networks.
- If people you have worked with before are on LinkedIn, ask them for a recommendation using the “Recommendation” feature. (Note – a recommendation is substantially different than an endorsement, and I'll touch on that in an article in the very near future!)
I hope those tips will help you start growing your business network on LinkedIn as well as start receiving more opportunities in your inbox.
Are you comfortable using LinkedIn to connect with future employers (or to recruit experienced job seekers) and find people seeking products and services in your niche?