Newsletter #153 How to Use LinkedIn To Grow Your Business

Posted by Alex on 30 April 2012

It's been called the business Facebook but many people see it as just a job search board. True it can be used by job seekers and recruiters but its potential is significantly more wide ranging than that. A recent comment by LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman in a Wired interview is of interest here: "It’s as if we’re a screwdriver in a world where people don’t quite understand screws. If Americans really learned how to use LinkedIn, it would raise the country’s GDP."

As usual it's important to have a strategy in place if you want to use LinkedIn, so here's some starters that you may want to use or modify to suit:

  1. To improve the visibility of myself and my company through the people I have come into contact with
  2. To keep in touch with contacts who have moved jobs or geographically separated from me
  3. To build new networks and open up new opportunities
  4. Through implementing 1 to 3 above I want to add value to my organisation, increase business and improve my own personal mojo

 

So OK that's the basic strategy but what can you do to put that into practice? Here's some ideas:

  1. Do the basic stuff:
    Firstly a good photo is a must, don't get cute - it's not Facebook
    Make sure you write a concise summary of your talents, avoid corporate speak and give concrete details that show your worth
    Your headline is important as it appears in lots of places, be a bit creative, it can be more than your job description
    Make sure you edit your own URL so it has your name in it rather than the default; it's very useful for Google searches

     
  2. Note you can grab and move sections on your Profile page thereby controlling the way your information is presented. You can also add sections outside the standard to showcase things like volunteering, projects you're involved in, foreign languages, test scores and so on.

     
  3. Join groups. One way to build your network is to join groups about subjects you have interest or an expertise in. If you are really keen you can setup your own group and own that space - just be prepared to put aside some time and energy for its upkeep.

     
  4. Use the Apps. I've added the Amazon's Reading List but some of the other apps that caught my eye and may be worth checking out are:
    WordPress - sync your WordPress blog posts with LinkedIn
    Events - discover events and see who is attending
    My Travel - see where your LinkedIn network is travelling via Tripit
    Portfolio Display - showcase your creative work

     
  5. Recommendations are important as they will advance your reputation. The easiest way to garner good recommendation is to ask for them. The Request Recommendations tool is simple to use, but make sure you edit the default message by tailoring it for your intended recipient. The great thing about Recommendations is that you can use them elsewhere, on CVs and on your Website.

     
  6. Update your email signature and Website profile to have your LinkedIn profile link. Check out the LinkedIn developer's plugin page.

     
  7. Twitter - if you tweet it is worth connecting, just note the default setting is to only show tweets that include #in or #li. If you don't tweet that much you might want all tweets to show, so untick.

     
  8. Want to see who is talking about your favourite topic? Change the search bar at the top right of your screen to "Updates" and search to find out. LinkedIn even seems to optimise the search for those members who are in your network or within a connection or two of it.

     
  9. Create a Company page - recently introduced by LinkedIn. If your company is more than a few people this can be a great way of leveraging your individual profiles and adding to your business presence. Click here for some detailed information.
     

LinkedIn is almost unique in the social media application field - it's created for business - not a social tool for the masses that has been adapted. For that reason alone it is worthwhile checking out and spending some time on.

In a way it's like a lot of social media, LinkedIn helps you and your company create more noise, meaning you will be noticed by more potential customers and not forgotten by your current ones. In LinkedIn's case though, the 'noise' is a lot more focussed than other social media.

Almost forgot, check out my profile, but note it's still work in progress. To see a better one view Victoria Carter.