Tuesday, March 13, 2012

How to Leverage LinkedIn for Business Success

Ranking social media sites by the amount of consistent users would find that Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn garner the top three spots on that list. Of that threesome, LinkedIn is developing a strong and positive reputation as a site for business professionals to stay connected with other like-minded companies. It also affords the opportunity to research potential staffing resources. A small business can benefit from tapping into the vast LinkedIn network for their own interests by building up a network of professionals. That network can be utilized in a variety of proactive actions, which can greatly improve a business’ reputation. The following are some strategies to optimize LinkedIn for your business.

·         Build a company profile: Because LinkedIn is the site used by a vast majority of business professionals, it stands to reason that you want to create a company profile which would be a strong reflection of your business. This profile will provide an important portrait of your company to any prospective clients or potential employees. Your LinkedIn company profile can bolster your assets and make any small business competitive. The company profile also has its own type of newsfeeds which can track recent activity such as new hires or acquisitions. Often these profile updates can open the door on many new opportunities.  

·         Update your status: As with Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn allows a registered user to update their profile at any time. This update will then go out through the LinkedIn newsfeed to the rest of your contact networks. Instead of the kind of random updates on Facebook, your LinkedIn updates should inform others about business-related news such as attending upcoming tradeshows or conferences. It can also allow you to share updates about your company’s website or blog. It’s important that you keep these updates relevant and on topic. If you are using LinkedIn to enhance your small business then everything you post will be a reflection of your professionalism.

·         Tap into the network: LinkedIn works best when you work LinkedIn. In other words, use that network to your advantage. Join groups that might have similar interests to your company profile. Connect with other professionals by commenting on their own success updates. You’ll also be able to send out well wishes for birthdays, anniversaries and new additions to the family that members of your own network care to share. This is a great way to foster positive connections within your business circle.

·         Add your opinions: By joining a group on LinkedIn you’ll also have the opportunity to join that group’s discussion forum. The key here is to keep it professional. Just because a discussion is getting “heated” doesn’t mean you have to jump in with your own two cents.  Before posting any reply try to gauge the temperature of the group. Always remember that whatever you post will be living there for quite some time. Bottom line: think before you post!