When talking social media for business, everyone (myself included) references the biggies: Facebook. Twitter.
Those networks are important, but how many valuable business connections are you making – really making – on either of them? A few days after I lost my job in January 2014, I was sprucing up my LinkedIn profile and connected with a contact from my previous reporting job.
Within a week I had my first client. At the time, starting a business wasn’t even part of my plans, yet I found a vital stepping stone to Katalinas Communications on LinkedIn – without even really trying.
Since then I have added connections with many acquaintances, people I’ve met and people I know through my network. I must admit that I have yet to use the site to its full extent, but I have benefitted from connections-turned-clients on many occasions.
Last summer I heard Brynne Tillman of Social Sales Link talk about her expertise with LinkedIn and how it can be used as a social selling tool. The bottom line is having the right connections. At 300 million users and counting, LinkedIn has many opportunities to expand your business horizons.
Once you’re connected to the right movers and shakers in your industry, here’s how to make LinkedIn work for you:
- Keep it professional. When done well, LinkedIn acts as an extension of your Website. Be sure to start off on the right foot with a professional profile photo.
- Perfect your online resume. Showcase your strengths and capabilities by not only keeping your career experience updated, but lively. Instead of listing where you work, share how what you do makes a difference.
- Ask for recommendations. Don’t be afraid to ask your colleagues and customers to brag about you. These online endorsements are similar to Website testimonials and could help the right connection decide whether or not to do business with you.
- Become an authority. LinkedIn features a great publishing tool that allows you to post articles or blogs about topics relevant to what you do and your expertise. It’s a great way to show off what you know and how it could benefit prospective customers.
- Ask for introductions. See who your first degree connections have in their network. Instead of sending a blind request to connect to someone you don’t know, ask your contact for an introduction. This small bit of personalization acts as a stamp of approval for your new would-be connection.