by Kimberly Schramm –
When we hear the words “social network,” for most of us, FaceBook is the first thing that comes to mind. That’s because, statistically, that’s where most of us are likely to be most active. And FaceBook is a great platform. It’s a way to stay connected with friends and family around the country, or around the world.
For those of us who are responsible for growing a business, LinkedIn is a social network that deserves more attention. Why? It was created for and by business people as a way to network and look for people to do business with.
If you aren’t already on LinkedIn, here are several important reasons you should be.
- It’s all about business. FaceBook is really a social network. The only reason to visit LinkedIn is for business. We go there to connect with other business people.
- If you are striving to position yourself as an expert in your industry (and you should be) LinkedIn is the ideal platform for doing so.
- LinkedIn, used effectively, is an extremely powerful and cost effective lead generation tool.
There are three primary business-building tools on LinkedIn:
- The Personal Profile. It’s all about you. The Profile is where you showcase your skills, talents, accomplishments and education. Use the Custom URL feature to claim your name. If you have a common name, you may need to use your middle initial or add a number at the end. Be sure to upload a photo. Many professionals hesitate to connect with a Profile that doesn’t have a photo.
- Company Page. If you own a company, or have authorization, you can create a Company Page. Warning: a Company Page is not a Personal Profile completed by a company. Setting up your company page in this way violates the LinkedIn Terms of service and LinkedIn can delete it. Directions on how to create a business page correctly are found here: http://business.linkedin.com/marketing-solutions/company-pages/get-started.html
- LinkedIn Groups. Joining, or creating a Group allows you to accomplish many goals at once. By participating in a Group, you can expand the reach of your network. Generating meaningful discussions will position you as an expert. Contributing to strategically chosen groups will keep you top of mind with people who can help you take your business to the next level.
Next time you feel the urge to participate in social media, forget about Candy Crush and spend the time polishing up your LinkedIn profile.
Kimberly Schramm, owner of Like A Boomerang, is a Certified Inbound Marketer who helps her clients develop and implement strategies to target prospects and deliver their messages in a variety of media, online and offline.