Six Simple Steps to Generate Business from LinkedIn
OK, that title seems a little redundant, right? I mean, LinkedIn is a business networking site. However, a lot of people sign up for LinkedIn but never use it beyond occasionally accepting someone’s invitation to join their network. This article is a quick overview of how to leverage LinkedIn to grow your business.
Step 1: Join LinkedIn and complete your profile. The more complete your profile, the easier it will be to connect with clients, colleagues and college friends you haven’t spoken to in years. Make sure to include your previous jobs, your education history and upload a photo of yourself.
Step 2: Find contacts who are already on LinkedIn. You can do this by uploading your contact list to LI, and they will tell you which people in your contact database are already part of the LI network. These are the first people you should connect with.
Step 3: Give and solicit recommendations within your network. If your clients and vendors are on LinkedIn you can ask them to write a recommendation that will appear on your profile and on theirs. You can also write recommendations for other people, even if they haven’t asked you for it.
Step 4: Pose questions and answer others’ questions in the LinkedIn Answers section. This is a good way to make new connections and establish your expertise at the same time. You can also get quick answers from experts to business questions from hiring to firing, management to marketing.
Step 5: Find or create LinkedIn Groups. Groups are a great way to network on a smaller scale with like-minded people. For example, you can find groups that are made up of local businesses, alumni associations or people who promote sustainable business practices. If you can’t find a group that suits your needs, you can create your own.
Step 6: Use the new LinkedIn Applications to further enhance your profile. Just this week as I was writing this article LI launched “Applications” which add functionality to your profile.
For example, BlogLink or the WordPress application will allow you to include your blog or Twitter feed in your public profile, a great way to establish your expertise. It was a nice surprise to see that even images from my flyte blog were being pulled into my public profile. (Although I don’t know if that photo of my two girls in their Halloween costumes is going to land me any big contracts.)
Or, you can share slideshow presentations on your profile via the Google Presentation or Slideshare Presentations apps. Through these free presentation-sharing applications you can upload your handouts from your recent keynote on employee retention, sales strategies, or business blogging.
Other new applications include the ability to upload large files, create private, secure work areas and the ability to find out which of your contacts will be at the same upcoming trade show as you. It seems evident that LI will continue to add valuable applications as time goes on.
The power of LinkedIn is in the network. Therefore, the more involved your contacts are in LinkedIn, the more powerful a tool it becomes.
To that end, consider using LinkedIn’s email when appropriate. For example, when you ask a question, LI allows you to push that question via email to up to 200 of your contacts. You can also send one-on-one messages to your contacts as well, which will bring them back to LI to respond and may show them some recent activity of yours that will generate new business.
Finally, as with any networking or social media site, the more you put into LinkedIn, the more you get out of it. By following some of these simple steps, you’ll be a LinkedIn power user in no time, building your network and business along the way.
President, flyte new media