Business Networking

What is LinkedIn?

Social networking is an essential business skill. You've heard about LinkedIn, but what makes it different from other social networking sites and what can it do for your business?

Social media has taken center stage in multichannel marketing and brand promotions.

Companies are increasingly using the power of social media to connect with their customers and generate positive buzz about their products.

As a business leader, you need to become educated about common social media outlets. Facebook and Twitter are extremely popular sites with millions of subscriber visits each day. If you don't know how to use those sites, ask your kids - they probably spend more time social networking than they do on their homework.

LinkedIn is another popular social networking site, but it's one that your kids won't be able to help you navigate. Unlike other sites, LinkedIn is designed to appeal to business professionals. Business leaders use LinkedIn to expand their contact list and to connect with other professionals in their vertical and horizontal range.

LinkedIn Overview

LinkedIn is the online version of a business network. Instead of attending meet-and-greets or scrambling for introductions on the tradeshow floor, users create business connections through the Internet. LinkedIn accounts are free, so your ROI will be based solely on the return you get from the time you spend managing your account.

When you use LinkedIn, your "home base" is your profile page. This page contains a personal photo and information about your background, experience, skills, and company. After you have created a profile, you can begin to invite people to connect with you on the site. As you gain connections, you can use them to introduce you to new connections so you can interact with an increasingly broader base of business contacts.

Tips for Business Leaders

  • Only invite connections from people you actually know. If more than five invited users report that they have no idea who you are, LinkedIn will make it more difficult for you to send invitations.
  • Regularly update your LinkedIn status and make a point of following your connections status updates several times a week. Solid business opportunities sometimes emerge from LinkedIn updates.
  • Make a point of joining a handful of LinkedIn groups to broaden your contact base. LinkedIn groups are gathering holes for people who share similar business interests and want to participate in online discussions about issues that are important to them.

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