Like Connecting, Love Linkedin
We’ve talked about Facebook and Twitter, and LinkedIn is our next conversation. If you’re a professional services provider—you simply must have a profile. We think it’s one of the most effective tools, full of potential for building personal relationships.
First, understand that LinkedIn isn’t only about finding jobs or connecting with people you used to work with. It has evolved into a very powerful tool to network, promote yourself as a business owner, and promote the service you offer. Here are some highlights:
- Connect to other business owners. LinkedIn allows you to connect with other business owners and decision makers. You can directly target the people you want to talk to.
- Referrals. You can get referrals on LinkedIn from people you’ve already worked with. This helps people trust you, especially if the referral is from someone in their network.
- Credibility. LinkedIn has true and honest recommendations that are not made up! When someone posts a testimonial about themselves, there is always the question of, Is it real, or did they make it up? On LinkedIn, colleges recommend you without any editing ability.
- Introductions. You can ask to “get introduced” to someone from one of your mutual connections. With the upgraded account, you can directly email the connections of your connections.
- Better than Yellow Pages. Rather than blindly flipping through the Yellow Pages or doing a Google search for an electrician, you can search LinkedIn and find someone who is recommended or already working with someone you know. It automatically adds the trust factor. Plus, you have an instant resume of that person to see what they’ve done.
- Flexibility. There is room to add a lot about you including work samples and current clients. You can automatically feed in your blog posts, add updates, and install a variety of apps to fit the needs of your industry.
- Discussions and Groups. These are great places to fit yourself in with the niche you’re looking to target. You can open conversations, post questions and relevant information, and demonstrate yourself as an expert. Groups allow so many ways to make a presence for yourself among the people you want to know you. Plus, even if you aren’t connected, you can send direct messages to people who are in your groups. This is one of the best opportunities for networking and sharing there is.
3 Important Tips for Using LinkedIn:
DO Personalize. The biggest mistake people make is when they ask someone to join their network, and they use the prefabricated text that LinkedIn provides. Take a moment to customize the message to show that personal touch!
DO Follow Up. If you’ve met someone in person, connect with them on LinkedIn. If you’ve been to a networking event and have a few business cards, get into the habit of immediately adding them to your LinkedIn network. It’s a great way to stay in touch, and open their network to you as well.
DON’T Neglect. One of the biggest downfalls is when people set up a LinkedIn profile and then just leave it. Work won’t come to you. LinkedIn is most powerful when you use it to your advantage in your marketing process. Be proactive and find people who are relevant.