LinkedIn is a social network with over millions users that enables you to network professionally, post and find jobs, answer questions, and build thought leadership—while simultaneously helping the people you trust.
A user can easily discover the people employed by a certain business, or the various businesses a certain person has worked for.
But what makes LinkedIn truly different from other social media sites?
Whenever the topic of social media marketing is discussed, Facebook and Twitter seem to attract most of the attention. While LinkedIn may not get the digital ink of its social media peers, it’s still worth considering because it’s a social network for professionals, without the games and distractions of many other networks.
Simply put, LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional online network, with more than 100 million members in more than 200 countries.
As you most likely already know, every social media tool has its own personality.
Facebook is a lot like the local pub. A pub is a place where you can go in, chat with friends, tell a few jokes and relax a bit. LinkedIn is more like a trade show—a place where you’d keep things Pretty buttoned-up and formal. No need to mention your vacation in Las Vegas on LinkedIn. But that white paper you wrote? Perfect for LinkedIn. For these reasons, LinkedIn should be an integral part of your social Media marketing.
LinkedIn in some form, because it allows you to
Demonstrate expertise through the content you post in the site’s Answers section. Scroll through open questions posted by others on the site and answer those that fall in your area of expertise.
Connect with professionals like you in the Groups area. Groups are discussion forums centered on a topic or industry. You can use the Groups area to share ideas with peers, pick up a few tips to help your organization grow, and connect with people who share similar passions.
Help your search engine optimization efforts. Search engines love inbound links, and your personal profile and company page can both link back to your website, giving you a higher rank in the world of Google.
Stay on top of industry news.
The “Network Effect”
As with other social networks (i.e., sites like Facebook and Twitter), LinkedIn can help your organization drive word of mouth in a way you never could have before. By sharing your expertise and content with customers, members, prospects, vendors, partners, etc. in a more social environment, you can not only stay in touch with your connections, you can also make it easy for others to share the things you are posting online with their colleagues, who can then share your content with their friends and more down the line. Even better, you can now actively encourage this online word of mouth and thank people for sharing your message.
By LinkedIn’s many features, you can increase the online visibility of your business or organization and join in on the many conversations taking place on the network. It’s one powerful way to stay top of mind, find new prospects, and connect with customers and members.
In this guide’s five sections, we’ll show you how to quickly get up and running on LinkedIn:
1. Setting up your profile
2. Adding connections
3. Joining relevant groups
4. Making and receiving recommendations
5. Setting up your news page
Your LinkedIn profile serves as your online business card. It tells people why they should connect with you and what types of content you might be sharing. In addition, it makes it easy for friends, colleagues, and potential customers or donors to find you online because your public profile is searchable. This is a place to show the world all the great things you’ve done in your professional life.
Start by going to: https://www.linkedin.com/reg/join
Making connections is the biggest reason to spend time on LinkedIn. It’s like attending a networking event without the cheap appetizers and awkward conversation.
There are several ways to add Connections to your LinkedIn account. Start by logging in and clicking on Contacts, then click on Add Connections.
Even adding just a few connections to your current network can link you to tens of thousands of professionals.
Joining Relevant Groups
LinkedIn Groups allow you to connect with like-minded individuals, grow your network, share information, and find support. To find the right Group(s) for you, click on “Interests - > Groups .”
Imagine you run a café. In this case, you‘d probably want to search for Groups related to Restaurants or a group about running small businesses. To get started, click on “Find a Group”, type in your search term and click “Search.”
When you find a Group that looks interesting, click “Join Group.”
Making and receiving recommendations
With LinkedIn, you can ask colleagues, clients, and other people in your network to you endorse you through LinkedIn Recommendations. Kind of like a reference letter, recommendations reinforce your professional identity online.
Writing recommendations for others can be powerful and show that your LinkedIn presence isn’t just about promoting yourself, it’s about being part of the overall network of professionals.
If someone asks for a recommendation, but you don’t feel comfortable endorsing this person, be honest, but polite in telling him you would rather not.
To recommend someone, click on Profile and select Recommendations. From this page you can manage recommendations you’ve received from your connections, request recommendations, and make recommendations for others.
Alumni — find people who you went to college with. For each college/school you attended, LinkedIn searches all the other profiles in their network to find other users who were at the same college at the same time. You can narrow the list to only display those that graduated in the same year as you.
Tips for Success
Participate in Group Discussions
Keep Your LinkedIn Profile Up to Date
Ask and Answer Questions
HOW LEAD GENERATION WORKS ON LINKEDIN
Now that an awesome profile and company page has been set up, start using LinkedIn to generate leads (hello inbound marketing). Let’s start by talking about the two main approaches for using LinkedIn for lead generation.
The first approach is to provide prospects information about your company directly on LinkedIn.
The second approach is to start the conversation on LinkedIn, but then drive the prospect through to a landing page on your website.
USING LINKEDIN FOR LEAD GENERATION
LinkedIn Answers: This is one of the more useful (and under-utilized) tools on LinkedIn. It’s a section where people who want to ask questions about business go to get advice. And guess who’s giving the advice? You are, because you’re an industry-insider with a lot of helpful knowledge, right? Right.
LinkedIn Applications: One of the more interesting places to visit on LinkedIn is the Applications area. This is where you can go to add new and interesting apps that will improve the experience people have on your LinkedIn page. If you’d like to add your blog posts to your LinkedIn page, there’s an app for that. Or, if you’d like to let people know what business books you’re reading, that’s easy, too. You can even set up simple polls to find out what’s on the minds of your customers and prospects. Every application comes with easy steps to implement them.
LinkedIn Groups: Join several groups on LinkedIn. The trick here isn’t just joining the obvious groups in your industry—it’s joining groups that are outside your industry that might help you grow your business. By stretching out a little bit, you’re expanding your reach, which is always good for business.
LinkedIn People: This is terrific for sales people, people looking for jobs and business-to-business owners who want to get their foot in the door at a large corporation. Just do a search in the upper-right-hand box for your target company. Click on the company. Now, on the right hand side, you’ll see a box that will show you your first connection (also known as a direct connection) and your second connections. Assuming you have no first or direct connections, click on the second connections link. This will bring up a list of names of people at your target company. At the bottom of the profile, you’ll see a list of your shared connections. From that point on, it’s a cakewalk—just ask your friends to introduce you via LinkedIn to the people at your target company.
LinkedIn Direct Ads : LinkedIn has an advertising program that can be used to drive new prospects to your landing page, LinkedIn group or other destination. The ads work the same way Google paid search ads work. You simply write a headline, add some copy and create a destination link. Then you bid on how much you’ll pay LinkedIn every time someone clicks on the ad.
LinkedIn Mobile: Yes, LinkedIn has a mobile application. If you haven’t already downloaded it to your smart phone, just go to your app store and download it for free. The LinkedIn mobile app is best used when you’re at an event where you’re making oneon-one contacts. During a conversation with a prospect, ask them to turn on LinkedIn on their smart phone. Then, bump your phones together lightly. If your contact has their settings correct, then LinkedIn will transfer your contact information between phones using Bluetooth. No typing, no misspelled words—just instant transfer of information.