Wednesday, May 22, 2013

10 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your LinkedIn Network

BY

Ten years ago, entrepreneur Reid Hoffman had a vision for a website that could help create and foster important business connections among professionals. He co-founded a site called LinkedIn with the tag line "Relationships matter."

The social media giant, with 225 million members in 200 countries, celebrated its 10th anniversary yesterday. "Our vision at LinkedIn is to create economic opportunity for every professional in the world," Hoffman wrote in a blog post noting the company's anniversary.

In honor of LinkedIn's milestone, we've compiled the following tips to help business owners get the most out of the professional online network:

1. Communicate the important details of your business right away.
When filling out your company's profile, be sure to say exactly what your company is, who your clients are and how you help them. The idea is to make it as quick and easy for customers to know -- right up front -- what you offer and why they should contact you. And be sure that your profile headline and photo reflect your company and project professionalism. 


2. Share interesting, engaging information.
One way to boost engagement among your connections is to get them talking about relevant and timely news in your industry. You can do this by sharing links to interesting stories and asking questions about the posts you share. 


3. Include a call to action.
An important goal with online networking is to convert connections into paying customers. One way to do this on LinkedIn is to create a unique "call to action." Instead of simply filling in LinkedIn's generic "my website" or "my blog" links on your profile page, take the extra step and tell visitors to click on your links. For instance, write: "Click here to (insert your product or service here)."


4. Create and participate in groups.
Not only can creating and managing a group of your own provide you with a level of credibility, it can allow you to expand your network to reach targeted and influential individuals in your field. Research topics of interest within your industry and choose the top two or three as the basis for your group. 


5. Showcase your products.
Be sure to fill out the "Products and Services" section of your company page. Not only is this your opportunity to explain what you offer in a compelling way, individuals can recommend and share the products you list, becoming ambassadors for your brand. 


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