Taking Full Advantage of LinkedIn

While sites like Facebook and Twitter offer opportunities for sharing photos, telling funny stories and connecting with new and old friends, LinkedIn is the premiere social networking destination for business networking. According to LinkedIn statistics, just short of nine million small business professionals use the website as a networking resource. LinkedIn isn’t limited to individuals, however. An increasing number of business leaders are using LinkedIn to raise visibility, connect with clients and grow their brands.

Be Seen

The best LinkedIn page in the world is meaningless if its goes unseen. Clients, connections and business opportunities are lost if your page doesn’t show up in a search. In order to create a LinkedIn page for a company, business owners must first establish a personal page. Well-developed profiles receive as many as seven times more views than incomplete profiles, according to LinkedIn, so fill in all information and use keyword optimization targeted toward your desired demographic.

Social networking sites like LinkedIn provide all of these and more.

The more exposure you generate the better, so encourage your employees to include your company in their own profiles. Also keep in mind that your LinkedIn profile represents your brand: keep all content in alignment with your corporate message. A sophisticated headshot is also critical, as a messy — or missing — photo can be interpreted as lack of professionalism.

Be Heard

Showing up in search results is only a fraction of the work. Once you have established visibility on LinkedIn, give clients a reason to click through to your business page or website. A compelling headline and informative client-focused message will capture and maintain the attention of potential customers. After a brief summary introduction, an effective company profile focuses on how products and services can meet customer needs. If your business provides local services, be sure to include this information in your headline.

LinkedIn’s update functions allow users to keep in touch with connections by posting news, success stories, recommendations, links and more. A minimum of weekly updates is recommended, but more is better: every post translates information into marketing opportunities. Again, maintaining a consistent brand is critical as potential customers are more likely to invest in companies they know and trust.

Grow

A broad network of connections is critical to corporate growth. Expand your network by reaching out through personalized messages to people you know or would like to know, as well as accepting all legitimate incoming connection requests. LinkedIn’s user-friendly Advanced People Search lets you find prospective customers based on certain search parameters and turn those individuals into connections.

LinkedIn puts potential customers literally at your fingertips.

Following up with new contacts is also critical, and can include a simple welcome message, expression of thanks or business offer. In addition to enhancing your overallĀ online reputation, new connections help lay the foundation for future business. Effective networking is not about who you know, but how you interact and add value.

According to the Wall Street Journal, six out of 10 small business owners believe in the value of social media for corporate growth; the majority of these cite LinkedIn as the site with the most potential to boost their business. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to harness the full power of LinkedIn for your own business success.

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