5 Simple Networking Tips for LinkedIn

Online networking sites, such as LinkedIn, allow you to build your business, increase brand awareness, and garner attention in an easily accessible environment.

When you complete the registration process and sign up for a LinkedIn membership, you can quickly establish a presence and jump right into into networking groups that can connect you with new customers and business partners—locally and across the globe.

Get the most from your LinkedIn membership by following these 5 simple networking tips:

1. Check out the surroundings first.

Before you dive in, look at whether other members are trading information, interacting, and collaborating.

Spend some time investigating the social networking presences of other small business owners in your field, and then review their websites. This will give you a good idea of what’s going on in your industry, who’s doing what, and how you need to position yourself in order to compete effectively.

2. Create a solid LinkedIn profile.

You can create individual profiles based on you own professional history and, via e-mail, invite other individuals to be part of your social circle.

With just a few clicks on your computer keyboard, you can let everyone in your address book know that you’re on LinkedIn. Those individuals, in turn, connect you to their colleagues.

Like any type of web content, your profile should be updated regularly (at least daily, although weekly or monthly can also work, depending on the business). It should also be tailored to your audience and targeted at the site’s specific demographic.

3. Develop your network.

Create your own personal network by searching for professional contacts who are already members of the site or by sending email invitations to colleagues and clients.

This will go a long way in helping you build an impressive network, since everyone you already know is probably doing business with dozens of other companies and individuals (all of which you’ll now be “linked” to via a common bond).

4. Don’t be a wallflower.

Keep in mind that the online social networker who doesn’t participate will probably not gain much new business through sites like LinkedIn.

When establishing your presence on such sites, look at how other “active” members are using them and include a professional networking site strategy in your business’s overall marketing plan.

Join common-interest network groups and collaborate and communicate with their members. Target the site’s most active participants instead of trying to chase down those who only log on once a month, and insert your contact information (your email address) into your profile multiple times.

5. Do be a “connector.”

Be the connector who lines people up with the professional resources they need.

For example, it doesn’t take much effort to connect a potential prospect with an accountant in your network for tax advice. Such a simple move will help you establish yourself as the “go to” guy or gal, and it will better the chances that the person you assisted will become a new client of yours.

One final tip: when using professional networking sites, take off your “marketer” hat and avoid using the hard sell at every junction. There may be opportunities to sell your business and its products and services, but you’ll have to find them and use them wisely.

How have you built your network on LinkedIn?

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