One of the greatest advantages that Internet based technologies can provide is leverage. Nothing could be more the case than with social media. Unfortunately, too many businesses and professionals fail to see the potential that it can provide themselves and their businesses. Probably the most effective social network for business is Linkedin (www.linkedin.com).
You may be surprised to know that Linkedin in has been around for over 10 years! It was around long before Facebook and Twitter as a source of connecting business people together. Linkedin allows you to create a profile for yourself or your business into which can put all sorts of information. Many professionals use Linkedin as a ‘living CV’ where they can post their career and achievement records for others to view. Sharing that information with others help them grow their potential network and makes it easier for others to locate people with the right skills.
This is where the key technology of search begins to reveal the true power of Linkedin, for not only can you share your information with others, independent parties can search Linkedin and locate individuals with the skills they need. This is reason why so many HR people use Linkedin to locate and target individuals with the skills they require. Posting resumes and trawling employment website is now ‘old school’, the highest quality applicants are signed up via Linkedin even before a job is offered.
This means that if you are not using Linkedin your competition probably already is. So what can you do to catch up? Firstly, you’ll need to create a Linkedin account and then fill in the information about yourself. The more professional information you provide the better. It is also important to include a professional headshot as part of the profile so if you don’t have one of these go out and get one. Once you have all your information entered start looking for people and associates you know who are already on Linkedin. When you find them send them an invite to ‘connect’ with you on Linkedin.
Once you network starts to grow make sure that Linkedin becomes an ongoing part of your business strategy. Don’t let the information you have entered get stale. Revisit your account regularly and ensure it is always as current as possible. As you meet new contacts look them up on Linkedin and as them to ‘connect’ with you. Always be looking to grow your network and don’t afraid to ask people in your network for introductions to other on Linkedin.
When you start to feel comfortable with Linkedin use the testimonial feature to ask business contacts and clients for referrals. These referrals can be directly posted on your profile for all to see. Nothing lends credibility like endorsement so always continue to seek them out and grow the number that you have. Once the endorsements start to flow make sure you direct other information about your business to your Linkedin information. Use it on your website, business cards, etc.
The more you work with Linkedin the more powerful you will find it. When you need something you can ask your network of contacts, you can search their skills for what you need and you can join any number of special interest Linkedin groups on the very topic that you are seeking assistance on. The power of search means that when you need something or somebody professionally chances are it will be in Linkedin. Remember, Linkedin is a business tool. It is something that you’ll need to understand and continue to work with to obtain benefit. However, when you do you’ll find that power of leverage will return far more than you will ever invest in it.