For connecting with other professionals and businesses LinkedIn has become the number one professional tool in recent years. Competing with Facebook and Twitter for eyeballs, LinkedIn is the go to network to make business connections.
In fact it's becoming so powerful, some companies are finding that they are doing more business through LinkedIn than on their own corporate websites.
Social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook are great for making connections. However, LinkedIn is best for building a company or individual's brand and marketing message.
- LinkedIn has 31 million UK members
- The U.S. has the most members, followed by India and China, Brazil and UK
- Over 100 million job applications are sent each month
- LinkedIn has 57 million businesses and 120,000 schools accounts
The Importance Of Your Profile
Your LinkedIn profile is the first impression anyone will have of you, so use it to make the right impression. When you join any social network like LinkedIn, make sure that your profile is complete. You should fill out as much of the information as possible because this information is going to help people find you online.
Be sure to use relevant keywords in your profile, as these will help people understand what you or your business do, and what you have to offer.
Like any social network you need to participate and add value. Making connections is easy but to make these connections valuable long term you need to interact by commenting on posts and adding your own content. This takes time so it’s good to start early.
Before you pitch on LinkedIn, do your homework. Connecting and offering your services or product to the wrong person will only annoy people, and you probably won't get another chance to connect with them again.
When reaching out to people with an invitation to connect it's important to follow up with a few sentences, and share how you learned about the person, their work, and why you would like to follow them. A quick "Hi, I'd like to connect" is just too short to pique anyone's interest.
The biggest error professionals can make on the platform is the manner in which they are reaching out to a complete stranger. Simply saying, My name is _____ and we just launched our new product/ service, is not going to get you far.
Avoid the generic pitch, LinkedIn is not your opportunity to simply promote your product and hope for the best. Rather, it's about bringing value through actual interaction in a way that connects you directly with those who may be looking for exactly what you have to offer. It takes time and effort to cultivate these connections.
LinkedIn is the biggest platform on the planet for professionals and businesses, and using this tool will help you and your business get a foot in the door, and help build long lasting and valuable relationships.