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Why And How Businesses Should Use Social Networking - LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a professional social networking website, meaning that you use this website to connect with current and former colleagues, classmates, and organizations. For an individual using LinkedIn is a great way to look for a new job or business opportunity. You can also use LinkedIn to gather information from industry experts. For an organization LinkedIn is not only a free way to advertise your services but a useful tool in recruiting new employees or collaborators as well.
An example of how to successfully use LinkedIn...
Meet Scott McKeen. Scott was laid off from his job as a field service engineer during the deepest part of the recession and he was one of many who could not seem to find another job in his profession. As a field service engineer his job entailed going into other technology companies to install and repair equipment. He used LinkedIn to keep in touch with colleagues and with many key people inside the organizations he routinely did work for. After months of being unemployed, he noticed that many of his counterparts in other regions of the country who had also been laid off were starting their own businesses. Not finding any employment opportunities on the horizon he decided to follow suit. He used LinkedIn to contact the colleagues who had already gone through the process of starting their own business to get a better understanding of what needed to be done. Once Scott got McKeen Services and Consulting up and running, he then used some of his LinkedIn connections inside the organizations he had worked for to get the word out about his new business.
Once you're on LinkedIn make sure to...
Complete Your Profile and Keep It Up To Date: LinkedIn is a way to establish your professional profile online. Not completing or updating your LinkedIn account is a lot like putting out an unfinished resume. As a business owner or recruiter it's even more important. Make sure to include any and all relevant information about yourself or your business to make sure to get the most out of this valuable resource.
Add Links To Your Website: One of the great things about LinkedIn is the fact that search engines like Google will index the profile you create. Adding links to your website will not only create another way for people to find you or your business, it will increase your website's page rank as well. This could help move your website closer to the top of search results. Make sure to be descriptive with these links by adding important keywords that accurately describe what it is that you do.
Make Connections: LinkedIn works hard to prevent spam and maintain a trusted network by only allowing members to make initial connections with people they already know. To make a direct connection with someone, you need to say how you know this person by either selecting "friend" or by providing either an email address, the name of a business you both worked for or the school you both attended. If you try to make a connection with someone who claims not to know you, LinkedIn will penalize you by making you enter an email address for every connection request.
The first place you will want to start is with your email address book. Once you are logged in to your LinkedIn account, you can do this by clicking on the Add Connections link in the upper right-hand corner of the page. If you have a Yahoo, Gmail, AOL or Hotmail account, you can simply import your address book in a few easy steps. If not you can manually add in email addresses. It will automatically send a connection request to anyone on that list who is already a LinkedIn member. People who are not already on LinkedIn will receive an email asking them to join you.
Although LinkedIn discourages you from making direct connections with strangers, it is possible to meet new people. You do this by getting in touch with your 2nd and 3rd degree connections. 2nd degree connections are people your connections are connected with and 3rd degree connections are the people your 2nd degree connections are connected with. To make new connections this way, go to Connections My Connections. Select one of your connections then click on the number indicating how many connections the have. It will bring up a list of all their connections. To make a new connection from this list rollover the person's name then click Get Introduced. When you do this, it's a good idea to write them a personable message introducing yourself and letting them know why you would make a good connection.
Join or Create Groups: Like many other social networking websites LinkedIn offers the ability to join and create networking groups. By joining a group you have access to news and job postings within the group. You can also participate in discussions with other members. This could be another good way to make more connections. You may also want to start your own networking group. This might create an opportunity to be seen as an authority in your field of expertise.
Post Job Opportunities Due to the vast amount of job seekers in the market right now, posting an opening on a big job website like monster.com can result in an overwhelming amount of applicants, many of which may not even be qualified for the job. You may find that using LinkedIn can be a better option. You can post a job on LinkedIn by selecting Jobs then Post A Job, though this service does come at a cost. If you don't want to pay the money or you want to be a bit more selective, there are ways for you to use your network of connections to find job applicants. One way is to ask for referrals. Someone you are connected to may know the perfect person for the position. You also may be in touch with former colleagues who also make a good fit. Additionally, LinkedIn allows you to look for people with specific qualifications through a keyword search. From there you could put together a list of possible candidates.
Promoting Your LinkedIn Account: First, make sure to add as many connections as you can to increase your visibility. Then create a link to your LinkedIn account from your website. You can promote your LinkedIn account the same way you might promote your website by adding the link to your business cards, email signature and other business materials.
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