LinkedIn is a social networking site design with business professionals in mind. Here are a few ways in which some of LinkedIn’s many features can help you grow your business:
1] Answers: This is a forum where you can post questions about your business and get fast, accurate responses from users in your network as well as worldwide experts. You can also showcase your knowledge by answering other’s questions.
2] Groups: With LinkedIn Groups you can stay up-to-date on what is going on in your industry. It also allows you to follow the activity of successful, influential members whom you can emulate to help grow your own business.
3] Connection degrees: It’s kind of like 6 degrees of separation. It lets you know how removed you are from another user. First degree connections are people whom you know and trust directly. Second are the people whom the people in your network trust; this can be used to your advantage. If you come across someone you want to be in business with that you may not know but a friend of yours does, it is the perfect opportunity for you to ask your friend for an introduction and broaden you network.
4] Network updates: Keep track of connections and what they are doing. Are they implementing a new strategy you may also be able to use? Is there a possibility for partnership if your end goals correlate?
5] Advanced search options: LinkedIn allows you to search through user profiles using very specific options. Find your ideal employee by filtering through basic characteristics like name or narrow your search down by skill set or subject matter expertise. Also, use it to search for job references and previous business partners.
6] Recommendations: Allows you to praise people in your network who you’ve worked with before or have had as a client. The benefit to doing this is that most likely someone you recommend will return the favor. When users outside of your network see your profile and see all the positive things others have said about you, chances are they’ll feel more comfortable about doing business with you.
7] LinkedIn Share button: You can now include a LinkedIn button to your blogs or published articles. Adding this button will direct people in your network to those pages, thus spreading the word on your work.
8] Events: Let people know what you have coming up soon! Whether it is a special business promotion or a mixer event.
9] Company follow: Why reinvent the wheel? Following a company will allow you to learn how industry leaders got to be at the top. Take notes!
10] Polls: An excellent tool for market research. The responses can be categorized by age, profession, gender, etc so you can analyze the data gathered and strategize how to approach your target market.
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