I’ve always appreciated the value of networking, and love tools that can help me succeed in meeting the right people. While I’ve been a member of LinkedIn since June of 2007, it has become increasingly more relevant to what I do. With that said, I’m focusing more on how businesses can use LinkedIn beyond finding good employees.
With more than 135 million members in over 200 countries and territories, LinkedIn has to be constantly evolving – but how can it increase sales leads or help a business find a great vendor or partner? It’s easy… just pay attention to its key components:
Top Headlines. Look here for articles that are relevant to your industry and the economy in general. I’m constantly sharing articles that are featured in the “Top Headlines” area of the site. The articles are worth reading and give you a good reason to follow up with leads by sending articles relevant to them or their business.
Updates. Take a look at this area. It lets you know who’s made a move, if your contacts are linking up with people who could be valuable to you, or if they’ve written something interesting. I’ve found that tracking “Updates” gives me something I can always use to start a conversation.
People You May Know. Go on, do a little stalking. Connect with anyone who shares a mutual contact. Just explain why you are connecting without sounding like a sales pitch. There’s a good chance they’ll want to be connected to find out why you may be valuable to them and see what your contact list looks like.
Groups You May Like. Join as many LinkedIn groups as you can to find out which provide the best information and go from there. You’ll find interesting discussions specific to your industry, making it really easy to stay up to date on industry trends, particularly if you sign up for the email threads that share discussions on topics specific to each group.
Companies You May Want to Follow. This area lists several of my competitors, but again, is a good place to stay up to date. You need to know what competitors are doing, and following this section of the site makes it easy to keep track of innovation in your industry.
More. This little drop down is oh so helpful, offering even more resources on LinkedIn. The answers function allows you to ask and answer popular questions similar to Quora. You could even become an expert in a certain area and be featured on LinkedIn’s home page. The Amazon Reading List allows you to enter and search books helpful to your industry. There’s also a place to search and add industry events, and research polls on various topics.
While I’ve been a member of LinkedIn for a few years, I’ve just recently come to appreciate its power. I like knowing what I can about someone before I meet in a professional setting and this intelligence is equally beneficial for businesses reaching out to make sales connections or find a good partner. So before you decide LinkedIn is just a place to post your resume, take an afternoon to spend some time updating your profile and researching the site’s tools, and don’t forget to download the app to your smart phone. As you’ll see, its basic components can increase your industry knowledge and networkability.