By Michael Nelson
Social media is buzzing as more and more companies embrace the use of Facebook and Twitter to boost their profile. But are you LinkedIn? If you are like most people I talk to, they have a LinkedIn account, but other than accepting invitations to connect you really are not sure what to do with it. Most think it is for recruiting or job hunting and that it has no real value for anything else. As a sales professional, I spend an hour or two every day on LinkedIn and have closed business because of it. Here are some tips for using LinkedIn...
Connect and connect again! One of the hardest things about live networking is staying in contact once the event has passed. If you’ve connected with someone at an event, connect with them again on LinkedIn. It gives reinforcement from your initial meeting that will help you reach out in the future.
It’s not who you know but who your connections know. One of the things we all struggle with is asking a friend or colleague for a referral of someone they know that might want your service. Most people would love to help you but just can’t seem to think of anyone. LinkedIn gives you a list of people they know that you can reach out to. You can also reverse it and find a person you want to talk to and then see if they are LinkedIn with someone you know. Referrals have never been easier to find!
Warm it up. I connect with people all the time that I do not know but may be able to help me with my business or I may be able to help them with their business. I use LinkedIn as a platform to put myself in front of them as an expert in my field. When the time comes that I may be able to help them or would like to ask for their help, the call will be much warmer than it would have been had we never connected.
Small talk just got easier. Have you ever gone to a networking event and been introduced to the person you’ve been trying to meet? But after the introduction you struggle to keep a friendly conversation going and make a good impression? A good profile has great information on it—where you went to school, where you are from, hobbies, past work experience, and the list goes on. Loads of stuff for you to look at before a networking event to give you conversation nuggets. You never know, you might find out you have a lot in common!
If you’ve only taken a passing interest in LinkedIn, I encourage you to look again and see how you can better leverage it for your company and yourself!