Unlike other social networks, it’s not always intuitive as to how to use LinkedIn effectively. If you have a LinkedIn profile and are scratching your head about what to do next, here are 5 ways entrepreneurs are using LinkedIn as a business tool.
1. Establish Your Credibility
People prefer to do business with those they know, like and trust. If they can’t do that, they would prefer to do business with someone who is known, liked and trusted by a friend or colleague.
LinkedIn can help you with that. By having recommendations and endorsements on your profile, prospects can see that real people think you’re good at what you do.
They can also see which of their connections also recommends you.
This transfer of trust can make the difference between having the opportunity to pitch to someone or them choosing someone else.
2. Better Purchasing
When making a purchase for your business you don’t want to waste your money.
And when you’re a solopreneur this can be challenging because you don’t have someone to discuss the pros and cons of a particular product with.
That’s where LinkedIn comes in.
A few years ago I was looking to purchase some software for my business. I’d done the research and narrowed the field down to two choices. I didn’t have any way to differentiate the two so I asked my LinkedIn network for any comments or advice.
Within 24 hours I had ten thoughtful comments about the two pieces of software. People had put considerable time and effort into answering me. Best of all, I had an 11th response that included a recommendation for a third piece of software that I hadn’t discovered in my research. It better fit my needs and best of all, it was considerably cheaper. By asking my network I saved thousands of dollars
3. Better Hiring
Hiring can be a scary process if you’re not experienced in HR. Making the wrong choice can be downright costly. LinkedIn can help mitigate some of the risks. You can check out a candidate’s LinkedIn profile, review their work experience and look at any recommendations they have received. You can also do a search for people in your network who may have worked with this person in the past. Then you can pick up the phone and get the real scoop on their skills and attitude.
4. Building Relationships
A friend of my commented, “I just got an email from Joe. He must be looking for work.”
These two had worked together a number of years ago and had been good colleagues. However, over the years he’d fallen into a bad habit. He only got in touch when he needed something from her. As a result, she began to feel used. Instead of wanting to help him land a new job, she is annoyed and ducks his call.
Building and maintaining your professional network takes effort. If you don’t nurture your connections when you don’t need them, they won’t be there for you when you do.
LinkedIn can help save you time in the maintenance of your network. You can quickly and easily keep track of former colleagues, keep up-to-date on changes in their careers and congratulate them on promotions or new jobs.
5. Show me the money!
For many people this is the real test of whether LinkedIn is worth their time. And yes, you can get new business from LinkedIn.
You see, we forget that no one cares as much about our business as we do. We need to remind our network, even those closest to us, what exactly it is that we do.
For example, one day I posted on LinkedIn about a workshop I was doing about social media marketing. A few hours later I got an email from one of my connections asking, “Andrea, can you help my business with social media marketing?”
I was floored. This guy was not just a casual connection. We knew each other in real life, belonged to the same networking group and saw each other regularly. Before the email, I would have bet money he knew exactly what I did.
I was wrong.
But by posting a status update about what was happening in my business, I reminded him what I do at just the right moment – when he was looking for help.
The end result, I got $1,000 of new business. Not bad for a minute’s worth of effort.
If you found this article useful and want to learn more about how to successfully use LinkedIn to grow your business, check out my Linked Success Bootcamp.