This article is contributed by Carlo Pandian.
While many businesses, professionals and freelancers have a LinkedIn profile not all of them are using LinkedIn to its full potential. It’s an often overlooked social media and marketing tool, so if your LinkedIn profile is nothing more than a glorified resume or CV it may be worth another look.
Unlike Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn is professionally focused. It doesn’t seem quite as light-hearted or as much fun as its more well-known competitors. Yet this is perhaps where its secret strength lies. LinkedIn is not a site that is cluttered with tricks and gimmicks. The site is a lesson in understatement, but what it does bring is a sense of professionalism, authority and simple reliability. Perhaps, because it is often under-used for marketing purposes it retains this sense of authority, and that is no bad thing.
Getting Noticed On LinkedIn
The first and obvious task with LinkedIn is to complete your profile fully. This is a small investment in time and it creates a professional backdrop to your efforts. There’s no need for purple prose here, sticking to the ‘less is more’ look of the site may well be the best approach. Be precise, be factual and keep things easy to scan read.
There’s a high quality Question and Answer section on LinkedIn, which is beneficial in two ways for businesses. It’s simply a good, often very reliable, source of information. There is a sensible range of categories where you can find answers to questions that range from the decidedly specific like – “We are looking to partner with India-based NGOs that focus on diabetes care, know any?” through to more general questions, along the lines of “Can anyone recommend online accounting software?” As a resource for the self-employed this is incredible. Nobody can be an expert in all fields and as a free source of information this is considerably better than the increasingly flawed Wikipedia. With LinkedIn you get real people asking and answering real and relevant questions.
The Question and Answer section can offer a rather nifty little marketing tool as well. Like the rest of the site it offers an understated, apparently non-self-promotional, technique for getting your name out there. Simply by answering questions on this section you can create an audience that not only is looking for the answers you can provide, but may be looking for the products you provide. As with all things content based, relevance and quality are the key issues here. By taking the time to be clear, sensible and relevant and by researching the ‘right’ questions to answer you can stand to grow a LinkedIn audience and build traffic to your site. There’s no harm in linking your answers here to Twitter or other social networking sites, either!
LinkedIn also allows you the chance to recommend and be recommended by suppliers and clients. It’s a simple old fashioned testimonial format and it works particularly well on a site like this. I’ve seen numerous websites with ‘customer testimonials’ which, as a writer, I’m well aware could be as fictional as the “Lord of the Rings”. On LinkedIn, testimonials can be verifiable if they are from other users, or at least there is a sense that the recommender exists independently, beyond the imagination of those being recommended.
While it may not have the bells and whistles that are so easily found on many social networking sites, LinkedIn offers valuable resources and ways to promote your business. It shouldn’t be the complete focus of your marketing efforts, and like the site these should be designed in an elegant and understated manner. As a host for effective and quality content, LinkedIn has a lot to offer businesses of any size.
Author Bio: Carlo Pandian blogs about small business issues, covering everything from how best to use social media in SME’s to tutorials for QuickBooks online. When he’s not online Carlo enjoys travelling the world and sampling foreign cuisine.
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