LinkedIn is now among the most popular social media sites, having a competitive advantage to other social media sites, it is only business all the time. LinkedIn’s website advertises “The world’s largest professional network: 225 million strong.” Executives from all Fortune 500 companies have a LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn has “Respectable authority on Google” according to Jeffery Gitomer. If available a LinkedIn profile is likely to show up first when searching some ones name on Google.
In the book Social Boom! author Jeffery Gitomer defines what LinkedIn can be used for and how to use it. He points out that LinkedIn is not to “go around collecting connections like you collect business cards.” He gives 15 imperatives of LinkedIn that change how you market and connect with people online. I have heard people describe LinkedIn as a great place to post a resume. This perspective of the LinkedIn is highly lacking the depth that this social media network has to offer.
Within LinkedIn are many values to a business, that you can ignore, not know about or take full advantage of. LinkedIn is a great source to search for a new career but the site goes beyond that benefit. Your customers and prospects are on LinkedIn. This is a chance to be in front of them. Gitomer states you can “broadcast your capability” and make connections. There are many leads for you and your company within the website. Business deals can and have been created through the website. You can post job listings and search for the best talent for your company. “Get the latest news, inspiration and insights you need to be great at what you do.” (LinkedIn) There are opportunities to “network with like-minded professionals who will be life long referral partners.” advocates Gitomer. LinkedIn is a place to share ideas, talk to people and collaborate on projects. It is a spectacular “interaction tool” there for it is important to participate in the conversations.
When starting up a LinkedIn account it is important to “devote most of your energy” Jefferey Gitomer to the early formation. “to be on the receiving end . . . you must do certain things deliberately and consistently each week.” Gitomer. Jill Duffy offers ideas for making your LinkedIn account run itself in her blog on PCMAG.com. The type of responses you give generate the type of responses you will receive. When asking people to join your network you can use the standard line within the LinkedIn invitation or as Jeffrey Gitomer does personalize the message. It is important when starting relationships that you are timely in your responses. Your status also makes a difference people often respond to it. Online marketing and interactions can be transformed when putting the effort in to go beyond the simple profile in LinkedIn. Giving a recommendation, answering problems on the answer page and participating in groups are great ways to connect.
People might be surprised by a recommendation but they will often “reciprocate.” Gitomer. Conversing in a group can gain contacts and possibly even future business. You can even create your own group on a topic of your expertise after some research to ensure no one else has the exact same group. You can see what groups your customers belong to by visiting their profiles. You can join up to 50 groups. LinkedIn members will see you as important for creating a group and you get to dictate the discussion its a great way to attract attention. If you would like you can also control what members join your group if you have a request to join option. Group owners also have moderation tools if needed to instill group rules.
There are some applications to differentiate your profile from the rest. Some applications add value to your profile. SlideShare is a free application to add visual representation to your profile, you can even upload a Powerpoint. Google Presentation application is an easy way to upload video to your profile. Behance is a free application that showcases creative work and additional videos. Twitter can also be “integrated in” as well as outside blogs, perhaps giving you a chance to gain more followers on those websites.
You can also attempt to differentiate yourself from others in LinkedIn search engine. Keywords are key for this task,you want to associate as many key words with your self as possible. LinkedIn’s search engine will scan first for relevancy in a search. Good places to have keywords are in your Headline, your work experience section, summary section and specialties. It is also a good idea to title website links with your key phrase instead of just saying “my Website.”