I started using LinkedIn several years ago at the suggestion of my son, with no profile, no connections, no status updates and no recommendations. Over 1,700 connections, 50 recommendations, and countless updates later, I have come to use LinkedIn for several key benefits. First of all, LinkedIn allows me to find out about people with whom I am meeting or intend to contact. I can learn where they went to school, something about their career path, and other pertinent data. This can be extremely beneficial as a research tool and being informed in advance about the person and their company. Another benefit is getting introductions based on second level connections. Let’s say I want to meet the Administrator at a major law firm, and don’t know where to begin. I simply search the law firm and will immediately see everyone from that firm who is on LinkedIn. I then look for anyone I am connected (1st Level) who might know that person. The more connections I have, the higher the probability that I will have some type of connection to the firm. If I know my connection well enough, I can send a LinkedIn message and ask if they will make the introduction. It’s very powerful, and that power increases with the number of connections. The most fundamental tactics of LinkedIn are t0 write a detailed profile and make a lot of connections.
Another great benefit of LinkedIn is writing updates of your activities and posting articles or blog posts you have written. This can dramatically increase the traffic to your blog or web site. I suggest posting on a regular basis. Make your posts valuable to others, and not merely what you are doing. Information, articles, and humor will all attract attention. There is little doubt that LinkedIn is the premier business social media tool today. It should be used in concert with Twitter, Facebook, You Tube and other medium to improve your SEO. Be aware that the true value of social media inheres in the engagement of others. Respond in a meaningful way to what others in your “groups” post. Be active, continue to increase your connections, learn about them, and engage them on a consistent basis. LinkedIn offers great potential to raise your virtual profile in a significant way. But you have to be active and strategic in order to derive the various benefits of the site. Talk to others who have used the site productively to gain insights into other useful tactics that will enhance your visibility.