How to Grow Your Business with LinkedIn

As part of our online marketing strategy, we help our clients create effective LinkedIn profiles. As social media continues to rise in importance and influence on people's business decisions, having an engaging profile on LinkedIn is essential.

Why LinkedIn? Simply put, LinkedIn is the largest online professional network globally. It's used on a strictly business basis. It's used to recruit freelancers, find new employees, research rival companies and look for new employment opportunities. It encompasses every market available, so it's simply a matter of time before your company (or your skills) needs to be on it too.

Here are our top 5 tips on how to find business with LinkedIn.

1 - It's an online CV - use it!
Make your profile personal and help it stand out from your competitors. You want to keep potential clients/employers engaged in your skills, so keep your profile summary short and sweet. You want to aim for around three lines of how you can help them. The sign of a good LinkedIn profile? When asked to hand in a CV, can you just print off your online profile instead? If you can, boom! You've got a perfect LinkedIn profile.

2 - Be sociable.
Keep in touch with people and constantly add new links to your network. Start off with basics like friends and family (keep it professional with public engagements though). Then move onto current/previous clients and colleagues. Have a few industry contacts? Add those too, check out their contacts and add any mutual contacts you may have forgotten about. Many successful LinkedIn users add their past trainers/teachers/lecturers - as well as reconnecting, they will most likely have previous classmates as connections too. Add those people too! Just keep networking - the more links you have, the more benefits you'll get later.

- Introductions to important links they have
- Potential favour-asking opportunities
- Helping out your connections
- Opening up your profile to more viewers (and potential clients!)

3 - Mutual recommendations make the world go round.
The recommendation module within LinkedIn really boosts your profile to potential employers or clients. Now, it's essential these recommendations come from people that actually know you. Nothing looks more unprofessional than a bunch of recommendations from people that you would never have met - let alone worked with! This level of social (and public) endorsement helps potential links to gain faith in your work skills and employability.

For a truly trustworthy recommendation, message people you have previously worked with and ask them to write a paragraph on your time together. Detail work undertaken, why it was successful and how it was working with you. In return, do the same for them.

4 - Stay in contact.
Once you've made a connection, stay in touch. Communicate every so often, just to check in. You'll never know when you can help each other out. Those update emails LinkedIn sends out every time someone updates their profile? Perfect excuse! 'Hey, I see you've just got promoted, congratulations! Hope the new job works out well for you'. Even a quick 3 sentence message helps keep in touch. By starting up a new conversation, you might end up with a new business opportunity.

5 - Meet up in person.
Strengthen your connection with LinkedIn users you know by going for lunch. Grab a coffee and get to know the latest that's going on for them in the business world. Online relationships can only get you so far, seeing you in person will endear them to you more than a Skype session. You'll be at the forefront of their thought when they hear about a perfect job coming up that would suit you. Socialising is great - in today's world, we often forget to take the time to meet people outside of the office. It'll do you the world of good and give you an opportunity to get away from the computer.

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