LinkedIn is a professional, business, and career-oriented social networking site. It allows you to meet professional experts in a variety of industries around the world.
There are currently over 35 million professionals on LinkedIn and these numbers are growing as we speak.
The LinkedIn community allows you to connect with like-minded people which, in turn, allows you to grow your business contacts and network.
As a registered member, you can create your own personal profile with information about yourself, your company, your products and services. You can also mention your professional achievements.
Once you’ve done this, you can start maintaining a list of contacts that are known as connections and actively invite others to join your network, whether they are existing LinkedIn users or not.
Now that you’re a bit more familiar with the LinkedIn community, let’s go ahead and detail the many ways you can use LinkedIn to grow your business and stay ahead of your competitors.
#1. Growing and managing your contact list
Jeffrey Combs once said, “Your net worth is proportional to your network” and this statement is very true. In business, your contacts are everything. You don’t need to know everyone, but make sure you know the people who know everyone!
With that being said, the LinkedIn community is a great place to start connecting with real professionals to start growing your list of business contacts, which could be done quite easily.
Just like any social networking site, you should approach like-minded people to initiate the first contact (make sure you don’t spam people with your ads) and keep in touch with them regularly so that in the long run they know, I like and trust you.
In addition to this, you can import almost any digital address book and web email contacts (Hotmail, Aol, Yahoo, etc.) from your LinkedIn account, thus increasing your contact list.
#2. LinkedIn Answers
This tool is by far one of the most important tools on LinkedIn. “LinkedIn Answers” allows anyone to ask questions on any topic and anyone can answer them.
The good thing about this is that you get to interact with a lot of people who are not in your network… So it’s a great way to increase your connections.
Here’s how it works: when someone asks a question, everyone can give answers or suggestions to that specific question.
A few days after the question has been posted and you have received some answers, you will be asked to choose the correct answers or the answers that helped you the most.
And of all these good answers, you will have to choose the “best” answer. Then, the person who has been chosen for the “best” answer will receive an experience point that will appear on their profile.
Answering questions is a great way to establish your expertise in a given field. By answering more and more questions or inquiries from other LinkedIn users, you can earn more experience points that will allow you to become the expert people are looking for to do business with.
Remember that in business, people join you or buy your products or services because you are an expert or leader they know, like, and trust.
With this little tool, you will be able to drive a lot of traffic to your site… Increasing sales and subscriptions!
You can easily become THAT expert in a really short period of time (anyone can become an expert on anything with just a simple research… Please don’t share this secret with anyone!), thus attracting clients leads and prospects to your marketing funnels. .
Asking questions is also a good way to interact with other experts. Your questions will be read and answered by many people and you can use your experience to joint venture or share business ideas.
#3. LinkedIn Services
The “LinkedIn Services” tool is a comprehensive directory of service providers that have been recommended by other users in your network.
Let’s say you’re looking for a highly-skilled web and graphic designer in your town or city and you really want to make sure they’re real experts. You can use the “LinkedIn Services” to see which graphic and web designers have been recommended by others.
This tool will help you save time searching for professionals you want to hire to do a certain job.
With that being said, I strongly suggest that you have your clients recommend you as a professional so that when people search for the services or products you offer, they will find you.
That alone is priceless as you’ll get tons of leads at your fingertips without spending a dime on advertising.
#4. Search LinkedIn
The search tool simply allows you to find professionals you know and even those you don’t know.
You can then try to get an introduction from someone in your network who knows that person or just update your LinkedIn account so you can contact them directly.
#5. LinkedIn Groups
LinkedIn Groups allow you to join any group you want. Then you’ll be able to meet great people and keep in touch with potential business partners and customers.
Make sure you are a contributing member of every group you join. Post great content regularly, keep in touch with the other members of the group, etc. This will literally help you brand your name, your products, services, and even business opportunities because people will start to engage with you.
#6. LinkedIn Jobs
LinkedIn is also a great place to post jobs or recruit employees for your company. Thousands of companies are hiring and recruiting on LinkedIn, so if you’re a business owner looking for potential employees, there you have it!
If you’re looking for a job, there are many great companies on LinkedIn that offer great career opportunities.
#7. Search Engine Optimization Made Easy
SEO marketing is one of the hardest things out there in cyberspace and it takes a lot of effort and learning to become an expert.
Since LinkedIn is ranked highly in all major search engines, your LinkedIn page will easily appear in the top 10 in search engine results for certain keywords. That’s literally free organic traffic to your page without all the hassles of SEO marketing.
Give it a try: Just type my name “Souleymane Maiga” into Google.com and on the first page, you’ll see my LinkedIn profile.
In conclusion, I would like to say that LinkedIn is a great social networking site. If used correctly, it could increase your visibility and your brand.
It also adds more credibility to your image and brand (“LinkedIn Answers” makes it easy for you to become a known expert in your field of expertise).
Keep in mind that LinkedIn should not be used as a mass marketing medium like Facebook or MySpace or even Twitter (it should just be geared towards what you hope to achieve).