November 22, 2014

LinkedIn: The Professional Playground For Professional Connections

LinkedIn Stats and DemographicsThere are so many tangible examples of how online networking, especially LinkedIn can, has and does open doors and connections, not only for me but many others I know who are using it with very good results.

Very good results come from not only understanding how it works technically, but why it works. LinkedIn is a professional platform — not a social platform.  That’s important to know so you use it right and get the best results.

People connecting with each other, making referrals, introductions and recommendations are nothing new really in business. The difference today is how BIG the networking world has become with the web and social media. This is why LinkedIn used strategically can help you make  those smart, qualified connections.

LinkedIn is the professional playground for professional connections. If you seriously want to engage the professional community and their decision makers, then LinkedIn is THE place to play. LinkedIn profiles are now hybrids of resumes, websites, Facebook and blog pages. It’s the most complete presentation of who you are and what you are up to … professionally. I send people to LinkedIn first!

Here are 7 benefits of LinkedIn that professionals should take advantage of:

  • Make smart, right connections.  Only the serious apply here. This is where the professional community engages, interacts, connects and refers. Start your process on LinkedIn if you want to get a company or person to notice you. Develop your profile, put up a professional head shot, link your blog, and post good content as often as you can and respond to other people’s posts.
  • Who do you want to meet?  Make a target list of who you want to meet-companies and people. Make LinkedIn a prospecting, research and engagement tool.   Use the information you gather to send thoughtful, smart messages.
  • Who do you want to meet you? This is where “mutual magnetism” works both ways. There are people we all want to meet for the value they bring to us, but there is value in what you bring to others too. Use your connections, wisdom, experience and personality to both meet people and initiate people meeting you. Develop your profile and keep it up to date!
  • Link up on LinkedIn:  Identify people in your sphere and community that would be great to meet each other and make introductions. When you want to be connected, those connections you made can come in very handy!
  • The Rules of Engagement:  There is an etiquette on all the social platforms, but especially LinkedIn. Just because we connect doesn’t give anyone permission to start sending  frequent, non-permission based sales emails. Spend some time interacting with people, supporting their content, causes and company before launching into salesy stuff.
  • Use brand power — your brand, your company brand, your industry brand:  LinkedIn is the perfect environment to leverage ‘brand power’. Remember there’s your brand, your company brand and your industry brand. Promote and connect all three and watch relationships grow.
  • You + new media = smart connections:  Your strategic,  consistent and value driven communications used in a thoughtful way on LinkedIn can and will open doors. LinkedIn is a great place to start, it makes it easy to add Twitter, your blog and other sites that all work together to professionally present you in a single page snapshot.

Check out these LinkedIn Demographics and Stats further demonstrating the power of LinkedIn. 

How are you using LinkedIn to make smart connections?

 

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Deborah Shane


Deborah Shane Deborah Shane is a past staff writer for Small Business Trends covering marketing, branding and social media topics. She is a Top 100 Small Business Champion, career transition consultant, personal branding strategist and social media specialist. Deborah hosts her Top 100 Small Business Podcast weekly. Her book #trusthewhy Fundamentals, Values and Humor Get You Through Anything and award winning "Career Transition: Make the Shift" (2011) are available through all major book sellers.

31 Reactions

  1. Thanks for the tips. I don’t spend too much time in Linkedin but after reading your article, I will spend more time there. I hope these tips will help me.

  2. Saroop, thanks for stopping by! Spend more time there and develop your place and engagement there and you will benefit.

  3. I’ve been managing some PPC campaigns in LinkedIn as well and the targeting is really precise. LinkedIn has a very solid foundation (and a really smart founder).

  4. Thanks Robert..Targeting and qualifying on LI is really effective. No nonsense here, great platform to find movers and shakers!

  5. A great way to connect with others on LinkedIn is to join groups. Share content with groups related to your niche and get involved in conversations. This involvement can lead to awareness of your business/brand and new business opportunities.

  6. Nick, LinkedIn groups are some of the most effective micro communities on the web. Thanks for reminding us and stopping by!

  7. Very good article, Deborah.

    I’ve recently been joining pertinent groups on LinkedIn and have started to interact more. Just last week, I asked for a “warm introduction”. The person I knew said I could use his name. While that was nice, a testimonial would have been even nicer though, I do understand that not everyone has time to write one. I have been starting to look at re-capping my services for those from whom I ask referrals in order to make the whole process go a bit quicker.

    Using LinkedIn much as you would an in-person meeting (or as a supplement) has been the most successful approach for me. It’s not always the number of people you contact but, the quality of your conversation that matters.

    Thank you!
    Sharon

  8. Thank you for sharing the power of LinkedIn

  9. Hi Sharon, thanks so much for your thoughtful, helpful comment. Building relationships on LinkedIn takes time. People agreeing to let you use their name is a beginning, and a good one. Customizing your requests for recommendations is a great approach. Using LinkedIn as a “virtual in-person” meeting is exactly the potential I believe it was created for. Great job! The more you use it and the more it will work for you! It has for me.

  10. Excellent tips, Deborah. I’ve been a heavy user of LinkedIn for years and love it. I’ve landed some business/sales from it, for sure. I’ve used InMail successfully a number of times.

    • Hi TJ, thanks! Great to hear that it is indeed very effective for you developing business and sales. The professional relationships we build on LinkedIn are essential for meeting those decision makers!

  11. Thank you for sharing your information on Linkedin. I am just starting to connect via Linkedin and I am learning as i go.
    Guess i will have to post a photo and update my profile to get the most benefit.

    • Cindie, YES, post a nice professional headshot, develop your profile and start connecting and getting recommendations of your work! Watch what happens! Thanks for stopping by.

  12. You said in your article to “Use brand power- your brand, your company brand, your industry brand:….” I work for a small background screening company. What would determine a branding power for services like that? Your help is deeply appreciated.

    • Hi Curtis, thanks for your question! The first thing that comes to mind is why people hire a company like yours in the first place? Finding qualified, clean, dedicated people? What are the benefits of that and how does your company and industry take that and deliver good information, resources and tips about solving their needs. Position yourself as the expert, and use your company and industry’s positioning together.It matters less how big you are and more about the success you have solving your customers problems.

  13. LinkedIn is a great place for growth of your business. It gives you all opportunity to connect to right people but the at the end what matters most is your quality. It is the quality of your product or service or blogs or your idea that decides whether the connections you have created in LinkedIn will remain forever and grow or not. This is your branding.

  14. Jerry, personal and business branding that changes, evolves and is consistent always gives us the best chance of making connections and building smart relationships. Thanks for your comment.

  15. just know what is LinkedIn, its very helpful. i want to spend more time learning more what is LinkedIn.

  16. How can Linkedin help with SEO?

  17. Deborah

    I all the time prefer Facebook now i understand the power of LinkedIn and you short snapshot of post very good and informative to me instead of reading full post

  18. Hi Deborah,
    I am confident now about LinkedIn after reading through discussions. Does paid membership provide us better platform to play on LinkedIn? Is there guidance from LI for better profile?

  19. Hi Deborah

    Thank you for sharing.

    I would keep my name anonymous at this point because I am yet to create brand with my friends. How would I enter a travel business giving service to corporate companies via LinkedIn. We have experience and expertise but we are lacking in our efficiency in the new media connections. Could you please some hints?

  20. Thanks so much for sharing.

    Love the part about etiquette on social platforms. I was actually discussing this with my sister last night.

    Another awesome tip is to Utilize Recommendations. Ask for endorsements. To make it easier, pre-write the recommendation and send it over already complete to whomever you are requesting it from. This makes it much easier for them and is text that you have approved. Often times an exchange is in order. Write one for them and they will be happy to reciprocate.

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