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10 ways to utilize your LinkedIn opportunities

September 17, 2008

LinkedIn is a professional network which aims at providing business contacts and opportunities. On LinkedIn, people don’t look for music or movies, but instead focus on ways of making sales, forming partnerships, or getting jobs.

LinkedIn is an online network of more than 8.5 million experienced professionals from all around the globe representing 130 industries. Basically, businesses can use LinkedIn to check references on prospective partners, find outside experts, close sales, and to reach potential employees.

Can LinkedIn really contribute to all of it? Yes, and much more. Here are 10 ways to effectively use LinkedIn.

Set up your page and brand yourself

Create a public profile and select “Full View” that will make your profile viewable by everyone.

Most of the new users put only their current company in their profile. However, by doing so, you can extremely restrict your ability to connect with people. Experts recommend putting as much information about yourself as you’re comfortable with — things like past jobs, where you went to school, the university I graduated from as well as any special expertise you may have.

It will be a clever move to develop your own personal brand on LinkedIn. What do people think of when they hear your name? Establishing strong and outstanding presence on LinkedIn only augments your branding efforts elsewhere.

It is preferable to customize your public profile’s URL with your actual name, instead of using the default URL. Thus, you will help people find you easier and will influence the information that a Google search on your name returns. Even better, you can strengthen the visibility of your LinkedIn page in search engines by using this link in various places on the web like for example email or comment signature. Appearing at the top of search results is really beneficial if you’re one of thousands of professionals on LinkedIn.

Enhance your visibility

If you’re trying to market yourself as an expert or to gain credibility, you’d better establish a strong presence on LinkedIn with lots of connections.

When you start out with LinkedIn, you will probably have no more than a couple of connections. Experts claim that people with more than twenty connections are thirty-four times more likely to be approached with a job opportunity than people with less than five.

So, add connections and you will have better chance people to come across your profile when they’re searching for someone to hire or do business with. In addition, people would prefer to work with people who their friends trust.

Build reputation through recommendations

Recommendations feature in LinkedIn could make a significant impact on your reputation. When you establish stable relations with a client or a business partner, ask them for a LinkedIn recommendation.

Position yourself as an expert

LinkedIn Answers has proven to be a successful tool. You can easily position yourself as an expert in your field of expertise by answering questions posed by others. The more valuable answers you aggregate, the better you will be recognized as an expert.

Ask for advice or solve a problem

You can also use LinkedIn Answers to take advantage of the expertise of lots of professionals. LinkedIn is a good means to solve problems that you don’t know how to handle. Pose your business-related questions and you can anticipate multiple good answers.

Check References

With LinkedIn, you can use the advanced search tool to find people who worked at the same place with your applicant and then ask them for an honest reference.

Market research

Intending to launch a new product or a service? Conduct a research to find out which are the companies you compete with. Get more information about your potential customers: what they like, what their needs are, and what kind of demand there is for your type of product or service. Talk to prospects, and you are very likely to get the answers you’re looking for.

Do research

Need to track out business trends, need to find an expert or a client, or need to contact people to do business with them? LinkedIn is a good place to start with. For this purpose you should use the advanced search feature.

Finding the decision makers within a particular company

When you sell to big companies, it is important to understand who you are talking to and who is the decision maker. LinkedIn will help you find the decision maker within the organization and also could give you alternative ways to reach this person. Furthermore, you can get inside information by gathering opinions from the others in the company.

Follow your customers and friends

With LinkedIn, when your clients or frineds shift from one company to another, they move with you because you are connected with the person. That’s good for you because when your connections move, you gain a known person in the new company.



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