How to Use LinkedIn for Business

Many of us have a personal LinkedIn account that profiles
our professional life and connects us with colleagues, classmates, business contacts and most importantly to people who we may not have met yet but would like to interact with. Solo entrepreneurs may be actively using LinkedIn as a social media tool for their business, but what about the rest of us? Using this business-to-business tool avidly and effectively can help to raise the visibility of your business across the local community, reaching new contacts (and potential customers!)

The following are some tips to making the most of your LinkedIn account and successfully connecting with new people… and ultimately growing your business!

1. Complete Your Profile

Before you really start networking on LinkedIn, be sure that you have a completed profile, including a high-resolution, professional picture. People like to know who they’re connecting with. If you don’t include a picture on your profile, it can deter people from accepting your contact request. Also, the more detailed your profile, the more likely people are to respond to your connect request. Plus, it’s a great way for you to get organized and think about who you are and what you want the business community to know about you!

2. Network in the Local Business Community

When getting started networking on LinkedIn, it is crucial to network in your local business community. Join special interest group based on not only your professional skills (entrepreneurship, sustainability, etc.), but also your personal interests (food, golf, etc.). That way, you can be up-to-date with local business events and the key players in your industry, while also engaging with a community that shares the same passions as you. This will help you to make new connections from all different industries, building your connections to include those who share personal and professional interests and therefore cultivating a deeper collection of contacts from all walks of life.

3. Make it Personal

When you’re connecting with a new person, try to include a personal message with your invitation – rather than selling yourself or your business, indicate your interest in connecting (perhaps you follow their blog or know a mutual client/friend). People are much more willing to accept your request and respond when you make a personal and honest request. A great way to do this is by sending a quick message of congratulations/acknowledgement when you notice that a business contact has recently received a promotion or taken a new job. Sending a quick personal message with no underlying sales context will go a long way!

4. Ask Questions and Give Feedback

If you have a question, whether it may be a review on a new restaurant or perhaps a new business book recommendation, don’t hesitate to ask it every now and then. Engaging other group members and connections is a great way to get a conversation started, learn something, and simultaneously boost your LinkedIn presence without selling yourself! And in reciprocation, you should try to offer feedback and advice to fellow connections when they pose a question that you have an answer to. Other ways to give feedback include, ‘liking’ a status or comment.

Following the above will help you to increase your presence on LinkedIn and help you to engage in the local (online) business community in an engaging and meaningful way. Please leave a comment and share your tips for effective LinkedIn networking!

Until next time… stay WISE!

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