Think of LinkedIn as the business owners and business persons Facebook.
I’m not saying you don’t need a fan page on Facebook, because you do. What I am saying is that you’re missing the boat if you’re not on LinkedIn and you’re either a business owner, in sales or in business of any kind. LinkedIn can give you additional information that Facebook cannot.
LinkedIn is designed to seek out business connections and reach out to them. Not only can you reach out and find connections but at the same time business people will also be finding you. LinkedIn will help you make connections that you may not have thought possible before. Once connected, you can cultivate these connections by posting engaging content weekly called a status update.
The key to LinkedIn is to develop a strategy and finish your profile 100%. The biggest part that people leave out is the recommendations. Securing recommendations on LinkedIn are incredibly easy. Look at your current connections. Those should be a mix of existing customers and prospects you want to connect with. All you have to do to secure recommendations is to send a recommendation request to an existing customer or client. The beauty of LinkedIn recommendations is that you can now use these recommendations anywhere. Recommendations from happy customers or clients are priceless.
One of the biggest features I see people not taking advantage of, is the group function. By joining groups you can connect with anyone in the group even if they are not a tier one connection. One big word of caution: You must become a thought leader. If all you do is sell, you will turn off prospects. You need to give a lot of valuable content away for free before people begin to trust you enough to buy from you.
Here is a list of “must do” in LinkedIn
- Complete your profile 100% (tell your story)
- Fill in the summary and specialties section
- Be sure you include a business picture
- Use keywords throughout to increase search ranking
- Use important keywords in your headline and profile
- Make sure job and education history has no holes in time
- Have at least three recommendations and try for more
- Include your website address and social media addresses
- Make the public URL either your name or as close to it as possible
- Join Groups
- Perform a search on yourself and see where you come up (make necessary keyword changes)
- Do not list personal information
- Make sure there are NO spelling errors
If you’re in doubt on what keywords to use, go to Google’s keyword tool. Put your keywords in and see how they perform in searches. If you’re not sure what to put in any section, look at someone else’s profile.
How to use LinkedIn
Use LinkedIn to get connected to people that you want to meet. See who you know that knows the person you want to meet. Ask for an introduction. Get involved in conversations. Add valuable input into conversations. Become an expert in your field. Start your own discussions. Your ultimate goal should be to push people to your website or to contact you for further information.
Use the Search function. You can search for people, companies or by group. You can also save your searches. When you’re meeting someone for the first time, LinkedIn can become a great resource tool.
When asking people to connect with you, be sure to customize your message. Don’t just send out the standard form in the system.
LinkedIn is a big part of social media. Post a status update at least once per week. A status update could be a link to a blog post. Don’t underestimate the power of this tool. It only works if you work it. There are some great “how to” books out on linked in. One in particular that I like is by Wayne Breitbarth, The Power Formula for LinkedIn Success.