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Using LinkedIn For Business Leads

By July 9, 2012No Comments

LinkedIn has changed the way people communicate for business affairs. Since its birth in 2003, LinkedIn has grown to over 150 million users with over 57 million in the US alone. As of February 2012, approximately 2 new users join every second. Despite its potential for online networking, many companies and business professionals have yet to utilize its full potential. LinkedIn is the perfect networking tool for developing business leads, and nearly every profession should be taking advantage of its capabilities.

The single biggest mistake among LinkedIn users is the belief that LinkedIn is only an online resume poster board and a contact book. It’s not. Like any other networking tool, the amount of business you generate depends on the amount of time you put in. Just like showing up to a networking event and standing quietly in the corner won’t help you meet new people, neither will creating a LinkedIn profile and leaving it idle. These guidelines will help you maximize your use of LinkedIn.

Build your Network

Set aside time in your day for your activities on LinkedIn. Spend the time to connect with people you met in a meeting the day before, and search connections of new contacts for people you may know. While some experts claim open networking is the best strategy, keep in mind that your network is only as strong as your first connections. In other words, build a strong foundation with people you know from person to person interactions, and with people you know you can go to for a favor or a recommendation should the time come.

Expand your Reach

Now make use of your ever expanding reach. LinkedIn provides an excellent advanced search tool (which makes purchasing the premium account well worth it). It allows you to focus searches based on geographic locations, industry, company, education, position level, keywords, and so on. Being creative with this tool can help you find business leads in your extended network. Ideally, you want to be contacting 2nd degree connections. LinkedIn makes this easy by allowing you to message them directly or to request a LinkedIn introduction from your mutual contact. Equally important, LinkedIn provides you with contact information for you to contact individuals in person, which, if done after an introduction on LinkedIn, eliminates the need for cold calls.

Expert Advice

LinkedIn Answers allows users to post industry specific questions where experts can provide answers. By providing positively rated answers in topics you have expertise in, you can earn respect among LinkedIn users and furthermore, LinkedIn will start prompting you for your advice. Building a reputation as a valuable resource on LinkedIn is just as important as your reputation outside of social platforms.

Join a Group

LinkedIn groups is an excellent way to expand your connections and participate in relevant conversations. Creating your own group also has many advantages. LinkedIn gives you flexible administrative capability such as monitoring conversation and members (if you choose to), importing RSS blog news feeds to automatically connect your blog to your group, uploading insightful links and polls to stimulate conversations, and introducing group members to one another to promote further connectivity and group value.
 
Spending the time to network with individuals and follow companies on LinkedIn will prove worthwhile. Like with any business strategy, take some time to plan out your goals and determine a reasonable schedule. Your diligence will be rewarded!


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