LinkedIn is much more than a jobs portal and could be the driving force in growing your business. In this article, we’ll help you make the most of the professional networking platform.
It’s easy to think of LinkedIn as primarily a job’s portal for employment-seekers and employers alike. However, it’s so much more than that and should form a critical part of your online business strategy. In our ongoing series, we look at how you can make the most of the professional platform and grow your business.
What is LinkedIn?
LinkedIn was launched in 2003 and 18 years later has become the world’s largest professional network with more than 722 million members across 200 countries. It’s easy to view LinkedIn as a major recruitment hub, however, if you look at the platform through the eyes of a professional networker, you’ll see huge potential for growing your own network.
At its core, LinkedIn is a professional networking site, designed to help you connect with other professionals. Despite its professional focus, the platform has many features like social networking sites; you make “connections”, can post updates, share and like content and use instant messaging.
Top LinkedIn features
LinkedIn is a critical networking tool and incredibly important for starting a new business. The platform allows you to create meaningful relationships with mutual connections. You can connect with users in your field and even find mentors and/or potential investors.
- Build your brand
LinkedIn is a simple way to put your brand on the global professional map. By creating a strong, creative profile, you’ll be able to attract others and share your valuable skills with millions of active users. No other platform has as large a connection to professionals and industry contacts as LinkedIn.
- Get recommendations
You’ll be able to get online endorsements and recommendations for your professional abilities and skills. This is an invaluable form of advocacy which usually requires years of growth to achieve on other platforms. You’ll also be able to get introductions to potential clients and colleagues through the expansion of your network.
- Join groups with like-minded professionals
You can join various groups that align with your business interests. By participating in discussions and attending online events, you’ll grow your network and authority. A group is a great place to share your expertise and reach potential partners and clients.
How can I use LinkedIn to grow my business?
An easy way to understand the potential of LinkedIn is to think of it as a professional version of Facebook. Your profile becomes your resume, your wall becomes a hub for posting content/links and your “friends” become connections. You won’t find members posting funny cat videos or pictures of their family vacations, instead it’s focused on industry content and news.
LinkedIn is a great way to boost your professional reputation, allowing you to post content in a news feed and comment on other posts. By regularly commenting and posting you’ll soon become a thought-leader.
Other features to take note of are online professional development classes, analytics and the ability to instant message anyone even if they’re not in your network. It should be noted that these features are hidden behind a paid subscription called LinkedIn Premium, available for a nominal fee.
8 Top tips for using LinkedIn
- Create a strong profile
Your profile is the front page of your brand. It should provide all relevant information and should be complete. Top advice from experts includes having a good cover photo, background image and adding a concise summary of who you are and what you have to offer. Make sure you add many skills that can be endorsed.
- Connect with others
A great way to stay up to date with the latest news trends and developments is to connect with others, especially groups. Invite others to connect with and once you are connected, you’ll gain access to their network as well. The knock-on effect enables you to connect with others rapidly.
- Start the conversation
It’s not enough to simply connect with others. LinkedIn is a social platform, and as such it encourages engagement. Using the Messaging feature allows you to have real-time conversations with your connections.
- Give/Receive Recommendations and Endorsements
Your connections endorse your list of your skills (i.e. good communicator) and you can do the same in return. This is mutually beneficial as a high number of endorsements means you’ll be higher ranked for those seeking specific skills.
Another huge benefit of the platform is the ability to write recommendations, essentially testimonials. It’s good practice to request testimonials from those you’ve engaged with. A top tip is to ask your connections highlight your achievements rather than making general comments.
- Use and build groups
Any member can create or join groups. This is a great way to discuss and share ideas. Share your knowledge with others, post good content and reputable links as you’ll grow your network.
- Create content for LinkedIn
The platform allows you to post all types of content but to make the most of the platform you should post content especially for a LinkedIn audience. Consider what your industry is and what you can share your expertise on. Content can also take the form of videos. Creating good, engaging industry-focused content is a great way to build your brand and reputation.
- Boost your profile
LinkedIn is a great marketing tool in that it can increase the visibility of your brand, products and services. Like Google, it can share the story of your company albeit to a more targeted audience.
Apart from a personal profile you can create a company page specifically for others to research your company. It’s a great way to separate you as an individual from your company – members are more likely to follow an individual than a brand.
Don’t miss the next part!
Thank you for reading our article and we hope we’ve helped understand the networking potential of LinkedIn. This article was part nine of an ongoing series that will provide you with a step-by-step guide on how you can build a profitable business as an Introducing Broker by leveraging the award-winning tools and services of CM Trading. We have more exciting content on the way so stay tuned for more.