By Jean Kelley
Mention the phrase “social media” and most people automatically think of Facebook and Twitter. But if you have any dealings in the corporate world, you'll want to take a closer look at LinkedIn. You just may find it a useful tool to make your business relationships more meaningful—and more profitable.
Before you dismiss the idea of using LinkedIn because you only know it as that “bland” social-media site where people go when they're looking for a job, realize there are currently 90 million LinkedIn users worldwide. One new user joins every second of every day.
Unlike social-media sites like Facebook where many people use the site for entertainment, all LinkedIn users are business-minded. That means the connections you develop on LinkedIn are more likely to positively impact you or your company in some way. If you want better or more professional business relationships, LinkedIn is the place to be. Even if you have a business profile on Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn makes a perfect addition to your personal or business branding efforts.
An Essential Business Resource
The key to making LinkedIn work for you and your company is to use the site regularly. That means posting something, either an update or a question/answer, every seven days at a minimum. Why? Because the more you use any social-media site, the higher your Google placement will be. In other words, Google's algorithm will notice your regularity and you'll get a higher ranking than you would otherwise. Additionally, the more you interact and post on LinkedIn, the more prominent you'll become within your network and your name recognition will grow.
Fortunately, staying active in LinkedIn and a regular user is simple when you understand how it can benefit you professionally. Use the following ideas and suggestions to make the most of your LinkedIn account.
Show off your skills. It's as easy to set up your profile in LinkedIn as it is in Facebook. Make sure your profile is well-written and it highlights what you currently do, what you’ve done, your strengths, talents, key attributes and education. Remember that people will access your profile for many different reasons, including recruitment, background information, professional contacts, etc., so be thorough and always make your profile public.
Since your LinkedIn profile is essentially a dynamic mini-resume, keep it updated, tasteful and accurate at all times. Additionally, you have an opportunity to display recommendations for you. As a point of etiquette, when you ask someone to write a recommendation, you must reciprocate.