You do a good job of promoting your business, right? You have a website, place ads in publications that your target market is likely to read and you support your community through key sponsorships.
You have a strong cadre of clients, influencers and prospects because you’re a great networker. So, why do you need to create and maintain a professional profile on LinkedIn?
Is this social networking thing ever going to go away?
It’s not going away, and LinkedIn is a fabulous tool for your business networking. If you utilize only one online network for your business, make it LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is the largest professional network in the world, that’s why. Your network is using it, your competitors are using it, your prospective employees are using it, your local media is using it, and you better be using it, lest you fall behind.
Here are the key steps to creating your LinkedIn presence:
- Create a strong profile. Tap into your marketing team’s writing skills to create a professional summary of your skills and description of your business. This is an opportunity to promote your business and establish yourself as a thought leader within your business. Use your resume to list your job history, education and highlight industry and community organizations in which you participate. Be prudent in listing any organizations that are personal.
- Establish a presence. Once you’ve created a strong profile, begin building connections. Here’s a shortlist of people you need to invite to connect with you: coworkers, former coworkers, everyone in your network, former college friends (again, with prudence). Also, you’ll receive lots of invitations to connect with other professionals. Be sure to connect with them. Avoid “spammy” looking connection requests. They are not in your best interest.
- Build and maintain relationships.
- Help others learn about you and your company. LinkedIn is a terrific recruiting and marketing tool. Encourage your teams to use it.
Scroll your LinkedIn news feed to stay abreast of your connections’ news. They’ll post when they change jobs, when they receive awards, have articles published, etc. Congratulate them. And, be sure to post your own news. This is an opportunity to grow relationships … relationships that may someday lead to new business.
One additional note: educate yourself on the various security features of your LinkedIn account to mitigate unwanted email, connection requests and various other barriers to your privacy.
And, just like that, you’re a LinkedIn user.