Think of LinkedIn as a business version of Facebook. Instead of growing friendships, this site focuses on social networking between individuals, businesses, and other business professionals. It is a great way to connect with other people within your industry, create new job leads, and stay informed about developments within companies that fit your customer profile.
Present a Polished Image
Build your profile carefully. Select a professional picture, keep your work history updated, and connect with people that are within the companies and industries that you want to be in contact with. This is a form of free promotion that you want to take advantage of! Describe your company, and your services in a simple, quick, and memorable blurb.
Learn about Your Niche and Your Competition
A quick through on LinkedIn profiles can provide all sorts of information. There are updates on new job openings, mentions of promotions within companies, and alerts when one of your acquaintances moves into a new position. These nuggets of information can prove invaluable when looking for new opportunities and deciding who you will pitch your products to.
Stay in Touch with Former Associates
Professional connections are hard won, so don’t let old relationships fade into the past. Do you know an excellent salesperson, human resources professional, or distributor that was helpful to you in the past? Keep in touch through LinkedIn, and be ready to give assistance (as well as receive it) when possible. Have you heard about a new position that does not suit your skills but would compliment someone else? People remember favors done on their behalf, and they will be more likely to do you a favor in the future.
Learn About a Company’s Mission
When you’re working to build a sales pitch (or decide which companies fit your customer profile), a good place to start is on the organization’s LinkedIn page. Does the company in question sponsor charities, corporate picnics, or seminars for their employees? These type of events will often be publicized here. What is the guiding principle or mission statement? What do the employees of the company say online, and how does it reflect or differ from the public image the company presents? These are subtle nuances that would be hard to grasp without online research.
Generate a Buzz about Your Company
Recommend others and build up a reserve of testimonials. People trust those that have good things written about them, so you need to position yourself to receive testimonials from other members on the site. The more good buzz you get, the more likely people will look on your company in a positive light. Offer feedback, and you’ll receive it as well.
LinkedIn can be an important tool for branding and marketing your company. Through networking, careful research, and resourcefulness, you can position your company to be seen and heard by the right people.