How to use LinkedIn for Business
LinkedIn seems to still mystify most small business owners and their sales professionals. Most are stuck in the view that LinkedIn is a place for your resume to live and its best use is for when you’re job seeking.
Not anymore. LinkedIn has become one of the most powerful tools to network and build your business – more than any other social media resource, I would say.
Here’s a few tips on how to use LinkedIn in real business situations:
Find New Business
LinkedIn is an excellent resource to find new business connections, potential customers, and reconnecting with lead sources. Their search functionality allows you to find valuable people you should have in your network and reach out to them.
Many small business owners fail to see how they can use LinkedIn to their advantage. “But I own an electrical company, why would I need to be on LinkedIn?” Let’s think about that for a minute. As the owner or sales manager of an Electrical Company, here’s who you can connect with on LinkedIn: Real Estate Agents, Property Managers and Developers. These are all prime candidates for potential business – they may even be better leads than homeowners, as one of these potential clients can bring in bigger projects and keep referring new work to you.
Use the advanced search tool to search by title and location and you’ll find a list of potential connections to reach out to.
Who else? Industry professionals. The brands you carry will have their representatives actively using LinkedIn. Connect with them and get access to the wealth of industry knowledge and news that they put out on LinkedIn then share relevant information with your network. Which leads us to the next step.
Become the Expert
Okay, you’ve gone to a networking mixer and introduced yourself to a few people. Now what? There aren’t going to be any results unless you talk about yourself and share your knowledge. The same goes for LinkedIn. Position yourself as an expert by sharing valuable information and news about your company. It can vary from tips to news about new projects you’ve landed and information you’re sharing from industry experts. Your connections will see your activity when they are on LinkedIn and learn that you are a resource they can come to when they need someone in your business. Sharing simple updates like recent projects you’ve completed is a simple way to stay current and in front of people you have connected with.
Find Talent & Resources
LinkedIn is still a good place to keep a resume, and an even better place to find qualified candidates. Use the advanced search function to find talented resources in your area then reach out to them via LinkedIn. Sometimes you may need to go out of area as well to find who you’re looking for – with 364 million members worldwide, LinkedIn provides access to unending resources. I recently used LinkedIn to find a specific type of telemarketer for a client and was able to connect with candidates all over the US who had the specific skill set we were looking for.
Share your work
LinkedIn has added a multitude of new features, which allows you to share information in whichever format works for you. Long format blog posts, videos and photos can all be posted to build a rich profile while you share information with your network and LinkedIn Groups.
Instead of simply posting an update to LinkedIn next time, share a blog post, news or tips relevant to your industry in the long form post format, just select “publish a post” instead of “share an update”.
Bottom line, LinkedIn is one of the most valuable online networking tools. Touch up your profiles and get started networking on LinkedIn today and you’ll receive longterm benefits. LinkedIn is here to stay.