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Posted on 04.20.2011

Getting the Real Power Out of LinkedIn

Want to discover why LinkedIn is becoming one of the most powerful networking tools in business today? This is part two in our series of posts on best practices for tapping into LinkedIn's network of more than 100 million professionals. Nashville PR and Communications Increase your connections and grow your network: We all know that a large part of being successful in business is a product of who you know. So as you meet people throughout your networking activities in real life, be sure to reach out to them on LinkedIn as well. As you increase your connections on LinkedIn, you also increase your potential networking ability on LinkedIn. So if you are looking to connect with a potential customer or representative of a certain business, it will be easier to get through to them using LinkedIn if you have some connections in common. Plus, people are likely to have a higher comfort level and interest in working with you if they see you know the same people. Let's take a look at an example. Say that I know that the CEO of a large hospital company is looking to hire a PR and communications firm. I do a search for that CEO's name and see the term 2nd next to her name in the LinkedIn search results. This means that the CEO I'm trying to connect with is friends with one of my connections. In other words, she is second in my network (as opposed to my actual connections who are first). So I shoot over an email to my friend asking for an introduction to the CEO. Another option would be to contact my friend directly through LinkedIn's messaging system. My friend says, "Sure thing, I just had lunch with her last week!" Now I've got a trusted introduction to a business connection all thanks to the power of LinkedIn. On LinkedIn, you can literally see and tap into all your connections’ connections! Another added benefit of increasing your connections is that LinkedIn gives more value to a profile with large amounts of connections. This higher value results in a greater chance of popping up in the top of search results for your chosen keywords. Remember though that LinkedIn is not a place to spam people. Many people think it is taboo to connect with someone you haven’t personally met. If you believe otherwise and want to connect with someone who you haven’t met, be sure to briefly introduce yourself in the connect message and include a short reason why you believe this connection will benefit you both. Use Answers and Groups to bring awareness to your expertise and present yourself as a thought leader on specific subjects. There is a huge conversation happening on LinkedIn inside the groups and answers section. If you want to be seen as an expert for your business and get discovered inside LinkedIn, you need to get in on those conversations. One way is to sign-up for specific groups that relate to your business. If you are looking for new business, and most people are, you should sign up for groups where you believe your customers will be active. You can search groups using the search feature and remember that groups with larger memberships show up at the top of the list. You are limited to signing up to 50 groups (and you should sign up and take advantage of all 50). When joining new groups, take some time to read through previous discussion and comments. You should always listen before speaking! You want to get a feel for what is appropriate before adding your opinions and information to the discussion. Once you are comfortable that it is the group for you, go ahead and begin adding your comments and expert discussion topics. Public relations You can also browse through questions being posted on LinkedIn using the search field and selecting the Answers category. Answering questions is a great way to establish yourself as an expert on a certain subject. You should use groups and answers to provide information that relates to your expertise and business. This may come from posting your informative (not sales) blog posts or providing an answer to a question based on your unique knowledge. As users read your content, they begin to see you as the authority and will remember you when they need your specific services. So as LinkedIn continues to grow, using the techniques above will ensure your business grows with it. Have you had any success with LinkedIn? We'd love to hear about it in the comments.

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