LinkedIn Networking Tips to Grow Your Business

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Recently, a client of mine asked if it was worth being part of the LinkedIn network.
Admittedly, I was a bit dumbstruck by the question. After all, isn't LinkedIn the preferred business-oriented social networking website of the upwardly mobile? As of mid-2013, it claimed over 178 million unique users globally, 65 million monthly users in the U.S. alone, and was heading towards 400 million global members.Who wouldn't want to be a part of that?
See Also: The Best (and Worst) Times to Post on LinkedIn
As I came to learn, he was more concerned about being stretched out over too many networks than with LinkedIn's potential value. Understandable, given the plethora of choices available to online marketers and entrepreneurs today:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
Not to mention the thousands (millions?) of micro-niched websites catering to specialized fields.
So, my task was to present convincing arguments for signing up on LinkedIn. Not that I had anything specific to gain, but at the very least it got me to thinking about my own use of the site.
Here's what I came up with.

1. It's All About the Networking!

Regardless of your employment or business status, consider the LinkedIn network as a social equity investment. Being a consistent LinkedIn networker will enhance your standing amongst like-minded people in the long-term.
If you suddenly lose a job, you won't be seen as an opportunist connecting merely to take advantage of people. If you are about to launch a great product or service, it will be seen as par for the course – not a bald-faced attempt to sell.

2. Holding all the Cards

LinkedIn is crawling with recruiters looking to poach currently employed folks with lucrative offers.  Are you an entrepreneur instead? Even if you are fully committed to a nascent business, this is an ideal platform to pick up side jobs that may prove invaluable for income or enhanced networking purposes.
You can stay off LinkedIn if you want, but you will be foregoing many chances to gain valuable contacts and make more money.

3. Niche Networking within LinkedIn

One of the most overlooked and underappreciated parts of LinkedIn are the industry-specific groups that you can join.
Over the years, these groups have evolved into spirited but respectful forums of debate and information exchange, often exceeding the worth of more conventional face-to-face encounters.
Of course, not all discussion groups will be engaging and useful, so you need to use sound judgment about appropriate involvement.
In the end, you should meet like-minded professionals and business people, build alliances, and reinforce your network building skills in the process.

4. A Dynamic and Respected Resume

For most people, a resume or CV is something static, i.e. you write it once prior to your job search, get a job, then forget about it until you decide to change employers.
However, LinkedIn members are subtlety encouraged to update their profiles with important milestones.
This way, recruiters and potential partners already have a good idea about you – and you don't have to frantically scramble to update your accomplishments. A dynamic win-win for all concerned... 

5. LinkedIn Gives You a Trending News Feed

LinkedIn allows you to customize your news feed according to your chosen industry, preferred article preferences, and the interests of people in your network. As a result, you can use it as a customized database of business knowledge – leaving aside extraneous, time-wasting feeds for leisure time, if at all.
Using this aspect of LinkedIn in particular taps you into what is trending amongst your peers, and clues you into what they are thinking about on a near real-time basis.
See more social media marketing tips and strategies here.

1 comment:

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