I was recently tasked to help our Business Development Manager to look into how we can leverage LinkedIn to network with people within our industry and start making it as our hub for getting leads. For those of you who haven’t explored LinkedIn yet, it is actually the biggest social network for professionals, C level individuals and entrepreneurs.
I did create a profile way back in 2007 but my account during those times is sitting idle until I found the value it has for me as an IT professional and someone who wears different hats. Like any social networks, it’s as simple as finding contacts, expand your network, and grow your business and be able to have what everybody loves, free publicity.
Many startups face the challenge of having a low or no budget for doing a large scale marketing campaign and gets frustrated in acquiring leads. This is where LinkedIn comes in. Why?
Some Numbers You May To Know
- As of January 2011, LinkedIn has a whooping 101 members worldwide, 58.9% of them are male and 41.1% are female.
- The most active age bracket is from 25-54 years old.
- Majority of the member are from North America and the smallest group is in Australia and New Zealand.
So, How Do You Use It For Your Business?
1.) Connect, Connect, Connect – Most of the people you know in your industry are probably in LinkedIn. If they are not, then invite them once you’ve created your profile. One of the things I like about LinkedIn is to maintain the bridge between former colleagues and old-workmates. Let them know that you are still there for them. Another thing is LinkedIn allows you to see the intersection of your network and how you relate with people in other networks and this can start conversations.
2.) Understand The Networks – When you want to start a conversation, one of the oldest tricks in the book is to be able to find a common interest or acquaintance to make it easier to do introductions. LinkedIn made this easier for you since you can explore the networks of your networks and find the right people to help you accomplish first base.
3.) Make It As Your Industry Listening Hub – Combine LinkedIn and Google Alerts and this will work like a charm. Use LinkedIn to find key people in a company you want to connect with and create a Google alert for that company and use those individuals as filters. This will give you an updated stream of what the web is saying about those individuals. This, my friend, is a simple way of gathering intelligence.
These are just a few of the many things on how you can use LinkedIn for your business. Like how other tools in the social web works, LinkedIn also begins with connections, conversations and relationship. On a professional or business level and it won’t hurt to be authentic and human.
- LinkedIn is now available on Android Smartphones (jobcontax.wordpress.com)
- LinkedIn: Sign up, then what? (theglobeandmail.com)
- The LinkedIn Blog ” Blog Archive The New LinkedIn Platform: Help Build the Professional Web “ (dccrowley.posterous.com)