Let’s face it, LinkedIn is a very underutilized social media network. Most people believe that it’s too hard to make connections, and therefore use it more as a résumé site. There is so much more potential with this professional social media network.
How many of us have created a LinkedIn account and left it dormant for months?
It was my goal recently to attend more LinkedIn webinars and teleseminars to learn more about this mysterious network. I have often thought to myself, “I’m a professional. Why am I not utilizing this site?” I’ve even heard LinkedIn referred to as the “red-headed stepchild” of social media.
Here are some interesting facts that I learned about this often misunderstood network:
LinkedIn is a search engine and has a ton of authority on Google and other popular search engines.
Likely if you Google your name and you have a LinkedIn profile, it will show up on the first page of Google. This demonstrates the ranking authority of LinkedIn on Google.
Here are the top 6 things that I learned about this powerful network:
#1: Boosting Your Search Engine Optimization
There are three areas to add website links to your LinkedIn profile. Instead of displaying “My Blog” & “My Website,” click on Edit and then click on Other. Type in a keyword phrase that describes how people can search to find your business.
For example, I changed my main mortgage website to say Foreclosure Options
I changed “My Blog” to say Social Media Marketing
I changed my Facebook fan page to say Facebook Marketing
What an incredibly easy way to boost your rankings in the search engines! Be sure to optimize your LinkedIn profile as soon as possible before your next client enters your main keyword(s) and finds your competition.
#2: Promoting Your Blog Feed
It is also possible to import your WordPress blog feed to your profile by searching for the WordPress application. This is a quick way for others to scan your blog content at a glance.
There is also another blog application on LinkedIn—Blog Link—which supports TypePad, Movable Type, Vox, WordPress.com, WordPress.org, Blogger, LiveJournal and many more.
Promote your blog and develop your personal brand. Everyone knows blogs are the best way to cultivate your personal brand. Now you can share your thoughts and insights on your blog on your professional home, LinkedIn.
#3: Creating LinkedIn Ad Campaigns
I had no clue that LinkedIn has its own Direct Ads Campaign targeted to professionals. I felt like I found a hidden treasure at the bottom of a huge sea! Because LinkedIn is a professional site, there is less likelihood of views from random people; rather, more from people interested in business-related information. I will definitely be utilizing this advertising feature this year.
Reach a rapidly growing community of over 57 million professionals (average household income: US $108,000), and select your ad’s audience by seniority, industry, job function, company size, and more.
It is possible to write, target, and start your ad in minutes, pay by clicks or impressions and get started with as little as US $50. Be sure to leverage the power of LinkedIn by using your professional brand to put a face to your business.
#4: Utilizing Events to Engage Clients
I really love LinkedIn’s event features because I “plan” to be an event planner in my next life. It’s not required to be the event coordinator to create an event. An event can be created if you have an interest in going to an event or will be an attendee.
Invitations can also be sent to your LinkedIn network, which will give you an opportunity to meet face to face if they decide to attend. The best feature is the ability to view at a glance all of your network’s upcoming events. As an event planner geek, it rocks my world to promote business events online just like I do in my personal hemisphere.
#5: Using Groups to Connect With People
Most people join groups and never come back to participate in them. I can raise my hand and say that I’m guilty of this bad practice too. I’ve started changing and participating in a lot more groups lately. However, STARTING a group is a great way to have access to email and stay in touch with your group as it grows. It does take some focused effort to grow your group but a great place to start is to invite your current network. As the people from your network join your group, this is visible to their networks’ news feeds which can potentially pique new interest.
I’m really amazed at the size of various groups on LinkedIn. Then I remember that professionals really enjoy networking, so I really shouldn’t be so surprised. Let’s take a look at a few groups on LinkedIn:
Social Media Today—18,078 members at the time of this writing
On Startups—Community of Entrepreneurs—123,680 members at the time of this writing
Real Estate Open Networkers—17,795 members at the time of this writing
Can you imagine having access to this many people at your fingertips?
#6: Getting Recommendations to Attract More Clients
Recommendations are one of the unique features of LinkedIn that sets it apart from other social media networks. What better way to really market your business than by having your colleagues and clients share your expertise?
I’m sure your next question is, “How can I obtain recommendations?” The best way is to live by the old adage:
“Give and you shall receive.”
Recommend your peers and they will return the favor. This is one area that I need to work on this year. It doesn’t take that much time, but if we don’t make it a focus, it won’t happen.
So what about you? Do you feel that LinkedIn is the red-headed stepchild of social media? Do you have any plans for this network in 2010? Let us know in the comments.