This month’s social media spotlight is on the platform designed for business networking, LinkedIn. The publicly held company was launched in May 2003. During the first quarter of 2015, the company reported that it had 364 million members around the world.
Because LinkedIn serves as a virtual networking tool, it helps businesspeople connect with one another for hiring and sharing resources. You can create a group of contacts, much like you gather friends in Facebook, and maintain them in a sort of online Rolodex. Even better, you’ll receive updates on their promotions or job changes and can send messages to one another.
Since its more modest beginning as a site to facilitate networking for marketing and hiring, LinkedIn has become more content focused. LinkedIn Pulse includes updates on your contacts and customized news or articles. You can follow thought leaders who post articles about topics most important to your business or career. You also can keep up with your connections’ news and promotions, ask for virtual introductions and share videos and presentations through the site.
Aside from your personal profile on LinkedIn, you can create a company profile. Other members can search for or follow your company. Engage members by sharing quality content, such as infographics or links to external content that you think your customers would gain from by reading. You can publish your own content as well.
There are many advantages to using LinkedIn for business. In some ways, it serves as a contact management system and contact generator. Anyone looking to advance in their career should have a LinkedIn presence, as should companies of all sizes that hire employees regularly or do business with other companies.
Here are a few cautions about using LinkedIn: First and foremost, remember this is a business site. Remain professional at all times. This is not the place to repost jokes and pictures of cats. Replace the icon with a photo. Use a professional head shot or the nearest thing that you have. And although you network virtually through LinkedIn, you still should communicate personally and nurture relationships as you always have when networking. Use personal greetings, even for standard requests. And give, don’t just take. Avoid making negative comments and refrain from over posting or making obvious self-serving comments and posts.
Keep your contact list open so anyone who views your profile can also view your contacts. It’s part of the site’s networking value. And, as always, proof anything you post or any message you send privately to a contact.
I would love for you to connect with me on LinkedIn!