LinkedIn is the most powerful professional networking and marketing tool on the planet, with over 160 million members. However, most people do not use LinkedIn effectively. Growing the number of LinkedIn connections is only one part of a successful LinkedIn strategy. Even LinkedIn’s co-founder, Reid Hoffman was quoted in Wired Magazine discussing how people simply do not use or know how to take advantage of the full potential of the site.
So if you want to get to know LinkedIn and use it for the benefit of your business (and self) here are seven LinkedIn tips you need to know right now:
- Complete your profile – Even if you already have an online presence and company website, many people will search for you on LinkedIn, so make sure your resume is up-to-date and your picture is professional. Try to get a recommendation or two (or more) as well as ensure that you take advantage of the areas LinkedIn has provided for you to talk about yourself or your company. Google loves LinkedIn – and the more content on your profile, the better chance your profile or business profile will rank highly in Google searches.
- Join and Create Groups – One of the best ways to meet professionals from all over the globe is to join groups. There are thousands of groups from all industries and interest groups. Joining a few and actively participating is a great way to network and get your name/brand out there. If you are trying to build connections, your involvement in a Group will make it easier to network with someone you don’t already know. Likewise, create a group and actively invite people you know or want to know better.
- Link, Link, Link – If you have a company website or blog, make sure to link those to your LinkedIn portfolio (another good reason to make sure your portfolio is up to date). Your LinkedIn Profile is a great tool to promote your business Web site, blog, Facebook page or Twitter account.
- Utilize LinkedIn Resources – Part of being a knowledgeable professional is educating yourself. LinkedIn Today and other blogs and sources on LinkedIn have some wonderful articles about promoting your business and how to increase your branding prowess. Many times the articles are tailored to your interests and industry.
- Job Search/Candidate Search – Let’s say you are a consultant and want to know what jobs out there that are available in your field, LinkedIn offers excellent job search tools. Not only can you look up available positions, but LinkedIn offers a way for you to actively touch base with recruiters and company representatives. Likewise, if you are looking for employees, LinkedIn is one of the better ways to get to know prospective employees through their profile.
- Use Widgets Wisely – Did you know LinkedIn has “widgets” to allow you to import your blog or even produce a “virtual business card” and other cool stuff – take a look.
- Paid Subscriptions and Cool Stuff That Costs Money – While there are a lot of cool freebies on LinkedIn, you may want to consider a paid subscription or advertising package. For example, you can create a company ad and have it go to targeted LinkedIn users that are your exact target audience. LinkedIn offers three premium accounts (Business, Business Plus and Executive) that provide access to powerful tools enabling you to easily find, contact and manage your connections, starting at $24.95/month.