LinkedIn: get connected or be left out

I’ve come across a lot of business owners who are not sure why they should be on LinkedIn. “Is it just another social network?” “Why should I have my profile there and spend time keeping it up to date?” Or even – “It’s not going to work anyway so why bother…”

Why bother indeed – with well over 50 million users all over the world, the absolute majority of who are business professionals (not kids or teens like you may assume about Facebook or MySpace) – why would a business owner not want to be part of such network? If you are still wondering how exactly it works, here’s a short video that will explain the basics:

So what kind of results can you expect when you start using LinkedIn effectively:

  • You can get more business because people will trust you are a professional – they have seen your testimonials.
  • You can find targeted prospects through your network without leaving the house (or office).
  • You can find employees for your business who are interested to work with you (and who may have even found you themselves).
  • You can build successful strategic partnerships.
  • You can participate in industry groups to share experience, tips and best practice – increasing your professionalism.
  • You can take part in groups where your ideal customers hang around – and get more referrals.
  • You can post Questions you have and get them answered by professionals all over the world.
  • You can provide Answers to questions related to your field of expertise and market your knowledge and skills without actually “selling”.
  • You can connect and stay in touch with 100s of business professionals all over the world without spending any extra time, effort and money.
  • The wider your network – the easier it is for you to find new connections and get introduced to the right person.
  • If you are not convinced – here’s another short video for you where a LinkedIn member talks about his successful experiences.

    And by “using LinkedIn effectively” I mean the following 10 steps:

    1. Add your picture to the profile.
    2. Fill in as much information about you as possible, including Skills, complete your job history, education and awards.
    3. Do not set it up as a private profile – you want to be found and connected right?
    4. Find your existing contact on LinkedIn (via Outlook, Gmail, Yahoo etc) and connect.
    5. Find your past colleagues, current and past employees, customers and business partners – ask for testimonials.
    6. Make it a habit to ask for a LinkedIn testimonials for each new project you complete.
    7. Research and join relevant industry groups: some related to your profession, some related to your area of interest, some related to your customers – and be active and visible!
    8. Add your blog feed and Slideshare presentations (if you have any).
    9. Regularly update your status with interesting and relevant information.
    10. Promote your LinkedIn profile on your website, email signature; regularly check for new connections you may already know offline.

    And you are well on the way to success!