Last year, Social Media was the number one marketing tool used by small businesses. That trend is continuing in 2012. One of those sites, LinkedIn.com, is growing at a rate of approximately two new members per second. Yes, that’s right, per second.
LinkedIn (LinkedIn.com) is the Social Media site for business professionals and executives. With currently over 175 million members, it’s the largest professional network in the world. That’s a whole bunch of business people!
LinkedIn is a great place to connect with people you know or want to meet. Consequently, it’s a good site to meet buyers of your product or service, whether you sell to businesses or consumers. As a side note, LinkedIn suggests everyone connect only with people you already know. What’s the fun in that?
If you don’t already have a LinkedIn profile, start one today. Then search for people you know through the search box and ask them to connect. The more professionals you are connected to, the larger your network, the more people who will see you, the greater your chance of making that next sale.
Let’s talk about a few ways you can grow your business using LinkedIn.
1. Ask your connections for introductions. This was originally the purpose of LinkedIn. Strangely enough, not many people do this. If you notice, the statistics on the right side of your profile page will show the size of your network through your connections and how many new people in your network. Typically, this number is in the millions.
Whether you are in a big corporation or run your own small business, it’s good to know decision makers. A personal introduction is a great way to meet someone you’ve wanted to do business with. Go to the person’s profile you would like to meet and click on ‘Get introduced through a connection.’ It will list any of your connections who know this person and can make an introduction for you.
2. Join and use groups. There are so many groups on LinkedIn it’s almost overwhelming. It can also be exciting. Click on the groups tab and search for two kinds of groups to join. The first type of groups you should belong to are groups with members knowledgeable in what you do. This is where you continue learning about your craft. The second type of group you want to join has members in your target market. Who are your best prospects? They are on LinkedIn; you just need to find the groups they belong to.
There are over a million groups on LinkedIn so there has to be at least a few to fit your needs. Once you join, participate in the discussions. Like any organization you belong to, the more you participate, the more you get out of it.
3. Start a Company Page. Company Pages have been around less than two years on LinkedIn and it appears they are growing slowly, but steadily. Still, there are over 2 million LinkedIn Company Pages. If you sell to other businesses, you want to have a LinkedIn Company Page. With this addition, business professionals are able to follow your company, not just you. To start a Company Page click on the Companies tab on your home profile page, then click ‘Add a Company’ at the top right.
LinkedIn is a powerful marketing tool because it reaches professionals all over the world. Remember, business professionals buy a variety of products and services, not just those that are business related. Connect today and start growing your business.
What do you think? Have you used LinkedIn to get business? How have you used it?