If you’re in business for yourself, then you know the challenges presented when that business is an online entity. You have to have a presence on the ‘net – you have to build an identity and a reputation that people can connect with.
One of the ways that people connect today is by using social media sites. But if you look at most social media sites, you’ll see that they’re not just for professionals or those who own a business.
LinkedIn is for Business People
This is where LinkedIn is different. Rather than being a site that focuses on personal relationships and needs, LinkedIn is a networking site that hones in on the networking needs of businessmen and women. Some refer to it as a ‘social network for business,’ but it really is so much more.
Your LinkedIn account will have a home page and the dashboard on it will have these links: contacts, profile, jobs, groups, inbox, etc. – so you can navigate your account. You’ll get the latest information from your network of contacts and you’ll be able to seek out people to connect with and respond to those who want to connect to you.
By using the group feature, you can either get involved in a group discussion that’s already taking place or you can open up one of your own. A group is a great way for both current and potential customers to get to know you as well other business people who might be prospective customers or partners in your online ventures.
You can also use your LinkedIn account to boost your Twitter following, update information and more. But you can choose who can see the information (whether you want it to go to your personal contacts) just by adding a simple hashtag (which gives you a great level of control).
A handy feature on LinkedIn that you’ll want to use is Company Buzz which lets you stay current on what’s being said in the business world. It’s a great way to follow product development and keep up with the latest trends.
If you happen to be an Internet marketer, one of the things you’ll want to do is set up a company page. This feature can help you reach a target audience and put your product or services before your prospects’ eyes.
Another feature you’ll want to participate in is the Answers feature. This helps brand you as an expert in your niche when your response to a question in your field is picked as being the best response.
LinkedIn also has applications that help you broaden your network. For example, the Slideshare Presentations application allows users to showcase presentations about your products or services.
You can also connect with your blog, use the Box.net Files application to keep up with your files and with Huddle Workspaces, you have online room to work with your associates as well as your customers.
Free and Paid Levels
You can use LinkedIn for free but you do get extra perks by using the upgraded level.
When you upgrade, you can contact people directly instead of having to wait for the connection to be made. You’ll also be able to organize your outreach, which can help grow a customer base.
You’ll have more access to others’ profiles and you’ll be able to find out who it is that’s looking at your profile. Why does this matter? Those looking at your profile can be potential leads. Being able to send InMails to possible connections can greatly enhance your ability to network with prospects. You also get better search features with the upgrade!