LinkedIn is possibly one of the most effective social media platforms for business to business (B2B) networking. If you want to establish yourself as an industry expert, market to other businesses, network with business leaders and executives, a presence on LinkedIn is a must. One of LinkedIn's features that makes it substantially different than other social media sites is that your profile is more like an online resume. As a result, with LinkedIn you really want to put your professional best into your profile.
Here are some ways that you can use LinkedIn to advance your business and goals:
- Build a solid and comprehensive profile. Include your education, professional experience as well as any products or materials that you have produced. Your LinkedIn profile is essentially an online resume for you. Add both past and present experience, your full education, honors and awards, a photo and pay special attention to the summary information.
- Join several groups and become involved. LinkedIn's groups feature is also a fantastic engine for networking with people in your professional circles. You can join groups who have similar businesses and services as you, network with college alumni as well as business or trade specific entities. The more networking you do, the more your business gets noticed.
- Ask and answer questions. One of LinkedIn's unique features is the Answers service. You can rapidly establish yourself as an industry expert by routinely checking to see if there are any questions being asked in your area of expertise. Providing meaningful and helpful answers is a very effective way to build connections and establish yourself as an expert.
- Give and ask for recommendations. Another unique feature of LinkedIn is the Recommendations section. Similar to testimonies that you would post on your website, LinkedIn has a section on your profile for recommendations from colleagues and business partners. Be generous and offer recommendations to businesses and individuals you have experience with. Not only will it build good will, it will also generate recommendation for yourself. It is considered appropriate to give and request recommendations.
- Ask for introductions. Is there a business or a person who you would really like to joint venture with or network with? Ask someone in your circle of connections to introduce you. In general your connections are happy to facilitate an introduction and pleased that you offered.