Whether you are a business owner or an employee of a national/international company, in my opinion it is imperative in today’s tough climate to keep in touch with those around you. One simple way that this can be done is through the utilisation of LinkedIn. If you have already taken the initiative and set up a personal profile, then you are probably someone who immediately sees the benefit of keeping in touch with your colleagues, industry suppliers, customers and potential clients via this source. If you haven’t done anything about it, but you keep receiving emails from people inviting you to join, then don’t you think it’s about time to take some action?
Linked In is a business related social networking site – aimed at B2B networking, where professional business relationships are forged. Since 2003, Linked In has attracted over 120 million users to its site – and why wouldn’t they join – it’s quick and easy and FREE to register! Sure, it currently doesn’t have the numbers that Facebook (800m) or Twitter (200m) have, but the members (or connections) utilise the facility to keep in close contact with others whom they have some level of relationship with or common ground. It is a great way to keep in touch with people you have worked with, people you have met at networking events, and from friends who may to have exciting business connections with you. It’s a place where business can be done!
Some great features are provided – You can invite people to join your network, even if they do not have a profile created. A personalised invitation is sent to your connection and they can start from scratch. Setting a basic profile up (to a standard that looks acceptable) may take only 30 minutes. It reads like a C.V. for you on line – but above all lets people know why they should do business with you. This comes with help from the business recommendations from current or past customers or colleagues that may have used you or your company.
You can utilise your current acquaintances to get introduced to people you want to do business with, and because an intro will come via a ‘trusted source’ then it will help your chances of meeting with your potential next business contact. I am sure you are all aware of the six degrees of separation – well the same rule applies with Linked In. When you start using it on a more frequent basis, you will notice who you have common connections with, and also who your friends know, that you would like to know!
So should you scrap all other social networking sites and solely concentrate on Linked In? – If you were hoping the answer was going to be yes, I’m afraid you will be disappointed. Linked In is simply another channel to get your message out there to people who may need to know. So yes, it does mean a little more time and commitment from yourself and some more management of another social network site – but one that could dramatically pay off.
In 2009, I was re-acquainted on Linked In to an industry friend of 15 years, who read my profile, saw a potential way in which we could work together, and subsequently employed me as General Manager of a Hotel – all because of his knowledge of me – and reading my ambitions on Linked In ‘to become a GM of a small luxury hotel’. So, does it work – In my opinion without a doubt – especially if you put time and effort in to it. Sorry to use a cliché – But you ‘Get out of it, what you put in to it’.
Some basic tips to help you on your way:
Make sure you upload a suitable photo (business orientated)
Update all the Information on your profile – Giving details of business address, contact details and home page of the business website.
Put details of any Facebook & Twitter profiles to cross promote.
Add LinkedIn buttons to your website, your email footers and also your marketing materials to maximise exposure.
In summary, make time for this essential marketing tool in today’s busy and hectic world. With the increase of handheld gadgets available (iPhones, iPads, Blackberry’s, HTC’s) people have access to their emails and Linked In 24 hours a day. This gives businesses a wonderful opportunity in keeping up to date with the ‘going-ons’ in the business world. As per the other social media sites, this is not something that can be done half-heartedly. Allocate the time in order to make Linked In successful for you and your business.
Thanks for reading.
Article written by Stuart Maun, MAUN Consulting Limited – offering support and advice to business owners allowing them to ‘Developing the Potential’ in their businesses with the use of effective and efficient sales and marketing systems and procedures.
Connect with me on Linked In – Stuart Maun
Find me on Twitter – @MAUNConsulting
Follow me on Facebook – MAUN Consulting Limited