Posted by: Sara Grasmon
1. It’s important to connect with your contacts, and LinkedIn is the perfect social media platform for professionals to do just that. Think of it as an online directory of past and present coworkers, clients, contractors, etc. It’s also a great way to keep in touch with those people who you want to keep in your network but don’t interact with on a regular basis.
LinkedIn allows you to send messages, view up-to-date contact info and see who your contacts are connected to, drastically increasing your network. To put it in perspective, I currently have 137 connections on LinkedIn. Through these 137 connections, I am linked to 694,580+ professionals. Think of the possibilities.
2. It’s important to engage with your peers, and LinkedIn offers a variety of ways to do this. There are countless groups to join and conversations to jump into on LinkedIn. Of course, you don’t have time to participate in everything, but it is a wonderful opportunity to connect with other professionals in your industry and share ideas. Some of the groups send out newsletters, keeping you current on all the latest trends and sometimes giving your special offers on related merchandise, while others rely on their discussion boards. With a little research, you can find the perfect fit for you to share your knowledge and learn at the same time.
A few weeks ago, I saw just how useful LinkedIn groups can be. As I researched a large networking event I was scheduled to attend, I struggled to find helpful information about what to expect and how to prepare. Then, I thought of a LinkedIn group I was a member of. I looked through the discussion board and discovered that there was not a discussion started about this event, so I wrote a post asking for insight from those who had attended in the past. By the end of the day, I had one detailed response and within a couple days, there were 11 posts related to my inquiry. Each was filled with valuable information and encouragement from people who had been in my shoes before. Because of this group and its members who responded, I was prepared to be successful.
3. It’s important to market yourself, and again, LinkedIn is a great avenue to do just that. A LinkedIn profile lets you control your on-line image, whether you are actively seeking a new opportunity or not. LinkedIn profiles appear near the top of results for Google searches, so it’s the perfect chance to showcase what you’ve done. You never know when someone might be looking for a new employee or who might want to connect for a business proposition.
In addition, LinkedIn provides an opportunity to have people write recommendations on your profile. This lets people who research you get a better picture of who you are and see what you can do for them and their organization. Let’s say you have five or even 10 recommendations. People will take notice. It’s one thing to have one reference who speaks highly of you, but having several people put their thoughts into text and publish it on the Internet shows how big of an asset you are.
LinkedIn is not just another social media platform. It’s a professional tool. I hope you’ll take some time to check it out, and don’t hesitate to let me know if you have questions or comments. In the meantime, let the connecting, engaging and marketing begin!
Oh, and don’t forget to check out (and follow) the Bellmont Partners company page!