Thursday, March 8, 2012

Simplifying Social Media: LinkedIn

Launched in 2003, LinkedIn is now most popular professional network on the Internet. As of February 3, 2012, there are 150 million members in over 200 countries and territories (see stats here).

After looking at Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, you may be wondering why you should bother with a professional networking site. But LinkedIn has its advantages. You can search for recommended providers of products and services, get referrals, network, and participate in groups.

And, of course, people can find you. Your free LinkedIn profile includes your resume, education, awards, recommendations from other LinkedIn members, and contact information. There are a host of add-on applications as well, such as slideshow portfolios and WordPress plug-ins. You can also have your Twitter updates automatically imported.

LinkedIn also allows you to create a free company page. You can customize the page with your logo, showcase your products and services, show-off stellar employees, and more.

What are some additional benefits of LinkedIn?

  • Did your star employee just suddenly up and quit? Does your growing business have a new position to fill? LinkedIn's Advanced Search is a powerful tool to find new hires. You can define incredibly specific search parameters such as years of experience, previous employers, keywords, and location. Why wait for the right person to find you, when you can find them? You can also keep your eyes open for new talent on a daily basis, as you utilize the platform in general.
  • Google loves LinkedIn. Aw, it always comes back to SEO. Google and Bing, the two top search engines, index LinkedIn content. Therefore, if you have a nice LinkedIn profile containing key words or phrases, you've laid another stone towards achieving a higher ranking.
  • You can build your own reviews.  LinkedIn gives you the ability to ask your contacts for recommendations, which are then posted on your profile. Thus, if a person finds your name or company via a web search, they are met with glowing reviews of your work or business. The same is true for people who find you through LinkedIn's network. 
  • You can find help when you need it. Businesses grow, we run into new scenarios or glitches, and we don't have time to search Google for the help we need. But what if you had a network of trusted experts? What if you had access to a plethora of groups, where you could post your dilemma and a sea of professionals could answer? LinkedIn can do just that. (See video below.)
  • If the bulk of your business' customers are other businesses, then LinkedIn would be an especially powerful marketing tool for you, being that it is a professional network.

Action Step: Would LinkedIn benefit your business? If so, place a checkmark next to the LinkedIn icon on your Social Media Strategy Guide.

What is LinkedIn?

Helpful Links:

LinkedIn Tutorial: Creating a LinkedIn Account

LinkedIn for Small Businesses (official page - has videos)

About LinkedIn (official page)

Top 10 LinkedIn Tips for Small Business

Helpful Books:

LinkedIn For Dummies

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