A guide to using LinkedIn to further your business network.

Discussion in 'Social Media, SEO/SEM & Online Marketing' started by ladyvgw, Jan 26, 2012.

  1. ladyvgw

    ladyvgw

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    In my last 2 guides I mentioned the importance of networking and after doing a bit of research I have written the following guide to hopefully give people a little extra knowledge about LinkedIn as I think it is a fantastic way of spreading the work about your business and building a good network of contacts. I myself have only just started using the site so my experience is a little limited so I may miss a few things but hopefully it should give you enough info to give it a go.

    What is it?
    In a nutshell it is a social networking site like Facebook but dedicated to businesses. It was launched in 2003 and currently has over 90 million business professionals from around the globe (10mil in Europe). The site has a range of features aimed at furthering your business and building relationships with other professionals in your particular niche. You can also post and view job opportunities based on location and sector.

    Create your own company profile
    The best way to get noticed is to create a company profile. Obviously this needs to include details including your products, services, staff and the kind of relationships you are looking to build. You can personalise it with logos and other supporting material and another great feature is the ability to integrate any blog you may have and have your RSS feed on your page. It is important to make your profile as detailed as possible as this is essentially a shop window on your business and you want to convey an air of professionalism.

    Using LinkedIn answers.
    Now obviously we all know that this forum is THE best place to get your business questions answered but just in case you need more help or cant find the answer on the forum then LinkedIn has a similar system that allows users to post questions in particular niches and also answering other users questions will improve your own credibility. It is a great way of spreading the word about your business and getting extra online visibility.

    Updating your status
    Much like Facebook you can post status updates to your network to announce product launches, special offers, discount codes etc and the more often you update with useful information the more interest you will generate. You can also use it to share tips and get picked up by other professionals.

    Using polls
    These can be a great way of conducting market research and best of all its free! You can choose who has access to any poll you create and you can even tailor it to individuals if you need to target specific deomgraphics. You can then feed the results into your business plans. Dont forget to take part in other peoples polls though as this shows willing and an interest in collaboration.

    Advertising
    Of course they also offer advertising opportunists if you want to increase your visibility within your sector. You can break it down by demographic, location and other key factors.

    Building your network using first-level contacts
    An interesting tool is the one that lets you view ‘degrees of separation’ or how you connect with third parties that you don’t already know. Now, I have only just started looking into this but from what I can gather you can ask business colleagues to introduce you to their own contacts thus increasing your circle of contacts. You can even go a step further and organise a local event much like a mini version of a BNI meeting.

    As i have said previously I am by no means an expert and my own profile (which I created ages ago but never used) is a long way from being as good as it could be but I was impressed with the website and thought I would share my findings so far.


    Written by Vicky Walmsley owner of Risus Wholesale, Event Smiles and Archie’s Toy Box
    You are welcome to repost this article but please back link it back to me and DO NOT pass it off as your own.
    John likes this.
  2. Import Expert

    Import Expert

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    Hi Vicky, Do you ever have time for sleeping, etc. ? ;)

    I've been on LinkedIn for a while now and although I don't visit it regularly it is very useful for keeping in touch with business contacts. One very good feature is that it recommends people you might know (similar to Facebook) that your contacts have as their contacts. It can sometimes bring up some suprises like how on earth does X know Y, etc. Oh and you can also see who has viewed your profile..... Imagine my suprise last week when I found my ex girlfriend of over ten years ago was stalking viewing me !
    ladyvgw likes this.
  3. mitchymoo

    mitchymoo

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    Linkedin has been brilliant for me, it's helped me connect with potential clients and decision makers that could add massive value to anyone who uses my services in the future.

    For example, my sister is a partner at a London designer womenswear label so I connected with her, then via her profile I connected with a whole host of fashion buyers, ecommerce managers and owners of various PR agencies.

    I opted to upgrade my profile to the sales package as it allows me to message to search for people who are open to consultancy offers or business deals.
    ladyvgw likes this.
  4. Hugo

    Hugo

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    Once again, great post Queen V, I use LinkedIn quite a lot actually and most of the contacts I've made are quite professional and a pleasure to deal with, I have found everything from designers to suppliers on linked. Also the linkedin groups are great and it's also great looking for ex employes of your competitors, they can be a great help :eek:
    ladyvgw likes this.
  5. Gary

    Gary

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    Very insightful, thanks :)

    I do have a linkedin account that I opened ages ago but to be honest I have never used it, but if / when I do at least now I know a bit about it.
    ladyvgw likes this.
  6. ladyvgw

    ladyvgw

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    Thanks for the comments guys. Hopefully the more I look into this the more detail I can add to it. I am not expecting huge results for me as a toy wholesaler I think it will probably be much more beneficial to people like Jacob in the service industry. Having said that, nothing ventured, nothing gained so its definitely worth a try :)
  7. Jenilee

    Jenilee

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    Thanks for another informative post, Vicky!

    By the way, I moved it to the Social Media, SEO/SEM & Online Marketing section where it is more appropriate. :)
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