What is LinkedIn and how can I effectively use it to advance my business?

For most people, LinkedIn is used as an online CV, online address book or a research tool on companies and individuals. Others join groups, post articles, or publish status updates across multiple platforms- such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

But it’s simply not enough if you want to grow your business or your personal online brand .

I use LinkedIn for all of the above; but most importantly, I use it as a community builder and value generator.

If you’re after quality- it’s not about the numbers. Many pursue as many connections as humanly possible, showing little discretion in who they connect with. Others may limit their connections to only people they’ve known for sometime, or met face-to-face.

There are two ‘value drivers’ that are key to making connections meaningful.

1. The calibre of the connection

2. The quality of the conversation

Your LinkedIn strategy is not a set-and-forget approach. It necessarily is organic, dynamic and ongoing. So why not take action today with these nine steps and watch your profile grow.

1.Develop a personal and organisational LinkedIn strategy

Determine what you want to achieve through your LinkedIn profile.

2.Establish and/or update your LinkedIn profile to 100%

A completed profile is 40 times more likely to get found. If that means uploading your resume- do it. If that means requesting colleagues to write you a recommendation- do it. Remember to upload a professional quality photograph.

3.Invite friends, employers, suppliers, collaborators and influencers to connect

Remember to be selective in the people you ask- but at the same time, don’t narrow your search down to only friends and colleagues. Connections can be from your industry, groups you share or connection of connections.

4.Ask for testimonials

Ask for a variety of testimonials- from past and present jobs, suppliers and clients. It’s important to have recommendations from people you have reported to, and clients you have worked with. A raving review from the Director of the company you work for is going to carry more weight than a review from someone who worked for you.

5.Join relevant groups

Be selective in the groups you join. Make sure they are groups that relate to your industry/career/business/interests. For more information on LinkedIn groups, go here.

6.Consider starting your own group

Read our blog post on starting up a LinkedIn group for more information.

7.Post relevant, newsworthy links and articles

Encourage discussion and debate, and get involved! Express your point of view in the articles you post, and encourage others to do the same.

8.Ask and answer questions

The more active you are with your network, the more potential you have to form meaningful online client/networking relationships. Importantly, this also provides you with an opportunity to showcase your skills and build credibility as a subject matter expert in your field.

9.Promote your LinkedIn profile on your website, email, blog etc

If people don’t know you have a LinkedIn account, it makes it harder for them to find you. Make sure people are aware- and always let a new colleague/client/friend know that you want to connect with them.

Contributor:

Michael Field, Director at Michael Field Pty Ltd.

About michaelfieldcom

Michael Field is an independent strategy consultant with two decades of experience in strategy, marketing, strategic planning, market research, competitive analysis, needs based segmentation, e-commerce and innovation. His consultancy specialises in providing strategic advice to medium sized B2B and NF organisations. Michael has served as a Non Executive Director (NED) of Save the Children Victoria, is a former Save the Children New South Wales council member and former guest lecturer in marketing, small business promotional marketing and professional communication at ECU in Western Australia. He is the founder of the LinkedIn group Next Director for aspiring and emerging company directors serving more than 4,500 company directors globally. Specialties: - Strategy advice for medium-sized B2B, NFP and member services organisations - Strategic marketing - Market research and analysis - Competitive analysis - Market segmentation - Needs-based segmentation - Development of the value proposition - Marketing and business plans - e-commerce and online strategy development - Social Media - Keynote speaking - Technology and innovation - Ideas and inspiration

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