Making Business Connections with LinkedIn Part 1

I'm sure that everyone reading this has heard of LinkedIn. But do you know why as a small or mid sized business it's important to have a professional presence on LinkedIn? Do you know how to make business connections with LinkedIn? Even if you think you know, read on and I'll discuss these subjects and pass on a few secrets on making business connections with LinkedIn. As with any marketing activity, there are a few basic setup activities that you need to get right before you go out into cyberspace.

There are three areas to concentrate on, starting with your profile. Of course you want to put your best foot forward, so start with a flattering photo. When someone sees you for the first time, you want to make a good impression, Hawaiian shirts, lamp shades on your head, crazy hats or cute cartoons have no place here. You need to look professional. Next, tell people who you are professionally. You don't want to put your resume up but details on your ant farm may be too personal. Use key phrases that are relevant to your background. People searching for someone like you will use terms specific to your industry and will use these keywords. The same rules that apply to Search Engine Optimizations (SEO) apply here. Use catchy headlines to describe what you do and follow that up with sound bites in the text. Keep in mind that most people won't remember everything that they read, but they will remember the short relevant phrases.

The next area to focus on is to complete your profile. You have you the space to fill out as much as you can about your past work experience. Put in all of your experience and positions. Categorize them to show your broad experience. These categories can be used as a framework to obtain recommendations, which is our next point. Use everything that the account gives you. Use this opportunity to get recommendations. Link to your other websites, accounts and places you publish articles and blogs. LinkedIn offers premium accounts for when you are ready to the step up. One thing to keep in mind here is that all of this is personal. It is not your business website. This is the place to put your special interests and special talents. On your business website, the About Us page has a short bio about you (or it should!). Point that bio to your LinkedIn page. Anyone that follows that link is looking to know you as a person, don't disappoint them with a superficial picture of yourself.

The last are to focus on is the social aspect of the media. Seek out groups (look in the Groups tab) that you have some connection with such as your college alumni groups or special interest groups. Often times you can find some of your old colleagues that you can connect with. At the very least, you will connect with new people here. If you can, start your own group on a subject that you have interest and expertise with. The idea is to make as many quality connections as you can. It's to talk to the world, but remember, you are looking for business connections.

In my next blog, I'll talk about extending what you have to get to prospects.

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