The Pulse

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An increasing amount of our business is done online, so it only makes sense that professionals are flocking to social networks to connect over the Internet. Though there are a handful of prominent platforms out there, LinkedIn is by far the largest and most popular business resource. It has established itself as the premier networking site for business people.

So is establishing a profile on LinkedIn worthwhile? Absolutely. With over 225 million users encompassing virtually all industries, there is an endless list of people to connect with which can open doors to new opportunities and help build your brand. Let’s look at a few ways we can harness the power of LinkedIn for our benefit.

Optimize Your Profile

Your LinkedIn profile is so much more than an online resume, though we should approach it with the same care and diligence. Complete all sections of your profile, making sure to include a well-crafted profile headline and summary. It is more advantageous to describe what you do or what product or service you deliver as your headline than it is to simply put your title. There are lots of Presidents and lots of CEOs but very few purple widget suppliers to NW U.S. hospitals.

Use a word processing program and its spell check function to ensure your copy is free of errors. A professional photograph is a must – avoid shots from your family vacation, your friend’s birthday party or self-portraits taken with a cellphone. These kinds of pictures are fine for personal social networking pages but are best left off a professional profile. Be careful not to add your contact information outside the designated area as it is against LinkedIn’s Terms of Service and your profile could be removed.

Expand Your Network

LinkedIn allows you to make connections, much like you would add friends on Facebook. It is a great way to keep in touch with others including potential clients. Update your status frequently with business tips, or share content from legitimate news sources that offers value to your connections. Doing this is a great way to keep yourself, and your products or services, front of mind. Just make sure it’s valuable content to your audience and not just nonsense.

LinkedIn will notify you when a connection gets a new job or celebrates a work anniversary. These milestones are a great chance to reach out and offer congratulations, a move which helps you build rapport.

Get Active in Groups

A great LinkedIn feature is its groups. With a little searching, you can find groups tailored to business people in just about every industry from all corners of the globe. Some groups are topical, some are based on geography, some are industry based. No matter what type of group you join, it is essential to get in on the conversation. Ask plenty of questions, share articles and other information sources, and be sure to participate in discussions. Your participation in groups can forge new relationships with other individuals and companies, especially if you contribute valuable information and answers to questions.

Establish a Company Page

If your company itself does not have a presence yet on LinkedIn, consider establishing one. A company page is a great place to share information about products and services, and can be used to recruit new talent. Because people on LinkedIn can follow company pages, you have an opportunity to share regular updates about your offerings, trends in your industry and content from your homepage, which will in turn increase traffic to your domain. Search engines give authority to large, prominent websites and search results for your company will include postings and pages from LinkedIn.

There are many active users already benefitting from their participation on LinkedIn, but too often those who don’t realize its potential write it off as nothing more than a place to shop around a resume. It is a site that allows you to keep in touch with connections, grow your network and help build your business. It is a powerful, free tool that we can all use to our professional advantage by investing just a few minutes of our time each day.


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