Using LinkedIn for Social Media Marketing

LinkedIn is a business-oriented social networking service. Founded in December 2002 and launched on May 5, 2003, it is mainly used for professional networking.

It’s a place where people in all industries can go to build relationships with their colleagues and demonstrate their experience and expertise. It’s also a place where businesses and organizations can show off their work to prospective clients, customers, and even future employees.

Here are the basic steps for getting started on LinkedIn.
Step 1: Prepare your profile

When you first sign up for your LinkedIn account, you’ll be walked through a number of steps to prepare your profile. If you already have a LinkedIn account, you can make changes or additions to any area of your profile by clicking the “Profile” tab then choosing “Edit My Profile”.

Your LinkedIn Profile is like a supercharged resume that lets you showcase your experience and expertise to the more than 100 million professionals on LinkedIn. When it comes to filling out your experience, take the time to do it just like you would on a normal resume. There are also some features that are more unique to LinkedIn.

Photo and Headline: Your name, photo, and headline are the first thing people see what they find you on LinkedIn. Make sure to use a professional looking headshot for your photo and a headline that accurately reflects your professional experience (e.g. Owner at Name of Your Business). Summary: The summary is your chance to tell prospective customers or clients exactly who you are, what skills and experience you have, and why you are a valuable connection. Additional Information: What LinkedIn calls “Additional Information” is really the area where you can use your profile to link to your other online and social assets. Connect to your business or professional Facebook Page or Twitter handle (not personal), and provide links to your website or blog.

Step 2: Build your network

After you’re finished creating (or updating) your profile, than you’ll be ready to start building your network. LinkedIn connections are different from those on other networks. As a professional-networking site, it is important to connect carefully and be mindful of who you are welcoming into your network.

Who to connect with: Connecting carefully means connecting with people who you know, trust, and value as a professional connection. This generally means people you have worked with as a colleague or a business partner. Connecting with family and friends can also be a good way to expand your network outside of your industry, but again, make sure they are trusted connections.

How to connect: You’ll also want to be careful of the way you send invitations to connect on LinkedIn. Avoid using the default invitation request whenever you can. Include a personalized message. Take the time to explain why you want them to join your network, this shows that you value them as a professional connection, not just as a way to grow your network.
Step 3: Join the conversation

For a lot of users that are new to LinkedIn, starting to build a network is as far as they ever get. Don’t fall into the same trap. Show off your knowledge and expertise by joining the conversation.

What to share: You don’t have to look like a pro right from day one, but get started by sharing interesting articles or news stories you see regarding your industry. If you have any of your own content, like a blog post – sharing it on your profile will help get it in front of people that have a vested interest in your industry and will be more likely to comment or share. What not to share: Pictures of your kids, funny jokes, reality TV news, sports rants, complaints about your boss, what you had for breakfast, what you want for lunch, your favorite type of ice cream … Do you see where I’m going with this? Keep it professional on LinkedIn and leave the personal stuff for your personal Facebook profile.

Step 4: Start exploring

LinkedIn has a lot more to offer than just a way to showcase your talent and stay connected with your colleagues. Take some time to look around and check out these features:

News updates: LinkedIn lets you personalize your preferences to connect you with the top news stories and publications in your industry. LinkedIn Today is your personal news digest and provides great content to share on LinkedIn and on your other social networks. LinkedIn Groups: Groups are discussion forums centered on a topic, which you can use to connect with like-minded peers and learn more about your industry. Under the Groups tab, LinkedIn gives you suggestions for groups you may like, a group directory, and the option to start your own group. LinkedIn Events: One of the hidden gems of LinkedIn is LinkedIn Events. You can find the Events page under the More tab on the LinkedIn homepage. Search by industry, location, or even company to help find professional events in your area.
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