LinkedIn: Business’ Social Media Matchmaker

LinkedIn’s 3 Social Media Benefits

LinkedIn is a professionally oriented, social media platform with over 90 million members. So why isn’t LinkedIn more often at the top of marketers’ social media to-do list? Neglecting LinkedIn is a big mistake, since, like it’s sexier social media cousins Facebook and Twitter, it can drive real, measurable business results.

3 Business reasons to use LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a platform that engages business people to participate in, comment on and create content as means of communicating with peers and the public. LinkedIn provides three major benefits across user groups:

  1. Positions people and businesses regardless of size or location. LinkedIn showcases your business experience and engagement in your business category.
  2. Provides useful, targeted business information in a timely and cost-effective manner. LinkedIn’s content comes in a variety of formats that are easily searched.
  3. Connects people and businesses across geographies and business sectors. By allowing easy search across a variety of attributes, LinkedIn acts as a directory that supports business development. LinkedIn enables you to build your social media tribe for business. In essence, LinkedIn is business’ matchmaker.

Who’s on LinkedIn? (Hint: It’s not just job seekers!)

While for many LinkedIn is still thought of as the online job search ghetto, it’s really much more than that and can help expand your business. Here are a few of the types of people you’ll meet on LinkedIn who can help you build your professional network.

  1. Job seekers. LinkedIn is a job seeker’s networking nirvana, especially for those who don’t have time to keep their personal networks going while they’re working head down 24/7. (Hint: After you get that new job, drop by LinkedIn at least once a week so that your contacts don’t forget you.)
  2. Headhunters. Since working professionals are their bread and butter, LinkedIn allows them to connect quickly and efficiently. It also allows them to find others with similar backgrounds, which they can do based on the traditional direct marketing principal that colleagues have similar interests. (Hint: Realize that connecting to your favorite headhunter allows them to view your contacts.)
  3. HR professionals. Use LinkedIn to search for prospective candidates and prescreen them. If you’re interviewing, assume that whoever you’re meeting with has checked you out on LinkedIn. (Hint: This allows you to get insights about candidates that aren’t on their CV. Also, you can check their social graph for off-the-record feedback. Don’t overlook the importance of positioning your company to attract new talent.)
  4. Solopreneur (aka Solo Professional). Experienced experts who’ve hung out their own shingle leverage LinkedIn to position themselves as gurus in their field and connect with prospective clients. This includes professionals who tend to work on their own like accountants and lawyers. (Hint: Pay forward by helping your clients connect with other members of your network. Also, contribute to Q&As about your area of expertise to position yourself and attract new leads.)
  5. Entrepreneurs. These enterprising business people create their own businesses. For them, LinkedIn helps provide the important connections to people, business and capital that they need to launch and grow. (Hint: Don’t underestimate the power of positioning your company through the use of LinkedIn groups and Q&A.)
  6. Company men (and women). Working for a wide range of companies in terms of size and business category, these professionals are the core of LinkedIn’s base. They use LinkedIn to find jobs and support their careers in with connections and knowledge. LinkedIn can help connect you to others in your organization, in your field, suppliers, distributors and headhunters. Further, use LinkedIn to build your stature in your field by contributing to groups and Q&As. Don’t wait until you get a pink slip to check out LinkedIn. (Hint: Check out LinkedIn at least once a week to keep in touch and, at a minimum, update your status.)
  7. Journalists. LinkedIn supports journalists by connecting them with domain experts and insiders. LinkedIn has the advantage that writers can build their own carfully chosen information resources without being dependent on spaghetti PR. (Hint: If you’re a journalist, don’t overlook the free and results oriented HARO.)

Regardless of what your business focus is, check out LinkedIn to see how it can help you reinforce your expertise, broaden your circle of connections, and gather useful business intelligence. After all, who couldn’t use a broader and more influential set of business contacts? My biggest piece of advice: Build your network before you need it.

Do you use LinkedIn? If so, what are your goals and how effective has LinkedIn been in achieving them?

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Photo credit: jcestnik via Flickr

Tags , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to LinkedIn: Business’ Social Media Matchmaker