Monday, July 9, 2012

Are You LinkedIn?



LinkedIn is one of the best social networks for business to business purposes. More than 161 million people used this social network to connect with past and present colleagues, clients, classmates, friends, and family within a professional setting. Whether you work from home as an entrepreneur, in a corporate office as a worker bee, line manager, or executive, or in a nontraditional setting like an airplane, you should have a LinkedIn account.

Though it may seem like just one more social networking account to maintain, LinkedIn is much more. Since it is designed as a business to business tool, businesspeople use LinkedIn to make connections. They review the high school and college sections, look at job categories, and spend time in answer and discussion groups, searching for other members who can provide a needed product or service. The more active a person is with the account and the more connections the individual has, the higher he or she will rank in these search results.

Use the LinkedIn profile to relay as much information as possible about yourself. Tell others how your products or services can help them. If you are looking for additional work, include information about how you can benefit a prospective client or employer and provide details regarding your work ethic and any behavioral, personality, or aptitude tests you have taken. Change summary content to reflect your professional growth. Include keywords about what you offer or what you are seeking because Google searches and indexes this content.

Adding a professional headshot to your profile increases your chances of being found on LinkedIn and having your information reviewed. This is a business site so make the picture appropriate to that setting. Keep work history and skills updated, going back as far as possible with work experience. This helps with a job search because it illustrates your level of experience. Including previous employer names also enables past colleagues to connect with you.

By participating in LinkedIn answer and discussion groups, you position yourself as a subject matter expert. This opens the doors to new connections, making it well worth the time involved. In terms of connections, make them with almost everyone, not just people that you know. Unlike Facebook, LinkedIn is about business relationships, making it appropriate to connect with strangers. Some of these connections could provide an opportunity for new work or additional clients.

When making a connection, create a personalized message that reveals your intention. If recipients understand why you are interested in connecting with them, they are more likely to accept the invitation. Do not lock your profile or keep information hidden because this prevents others from learning more about you before making a connection.

With LinkedIn as another way to establish business to business connections, you should begin reaping the rewards in your professional life. These business connections can lead to personal relationships revolving around education, hobbies, or other interests. LinkedIn is much more than it may appear to be at first glance so give it a try.

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