Social media and networking combined, LinkedIn is an excellent tool to help build relationships with business people in different areas.
As an entrepreneur, I am always looking for new, inexpensive ways to get my name known as well as the chance to meet new people. LinkedIn, although new to me has quickly created a large, loyal following. Designed as a social networking website to help facilitate relationships, LinkedIn has over 150 million members. There are also over 1 million groups on the site ranging from entrepreneurial help to class mates from old high schools. There are a number of benefits of using LinkedIn for both yourself and your business.
You can do a search on the internet for the benefits of using LinkedIn for your business, it seems like there are thousands of sites that offer their version of helpful news. I've read a countless number of them before I even created an account; I wanted to know that there was value in this for me. I won't go through them but I recommend taking the time to do some research for yourself and your business.
LinkedIn is the hub for businesses and business people. I would say most members have the same goals in mind, to get noticed by other businesses and people. The structure of LinkedIn is much more similar to the business world then say Twitter, which is a quick quote about what is on your mind at any given time. For those that are shy or introverted, LinkedIn allows us the opportunity to speak with someone who we would otherwise be scored to speak with. I've developed relationships with people that I would not have been able to do without LinkedIn.
The LinkedIn groups are definitely a positive that I cannot express how helpful they will be to your business. Imagine having the opinions of 273,000 people (number of members in Entrepreneur group I am in) at your fingertips. There are countless articles on this group that have really helped, from low cost advertising ideas to how to brand yourself, I fully recommend any entrepreneur or small business on LinkedIn to join the group.
To make LinkedIn work for you though, is that you have to use it, but use it wisely. Sure, you could sign up, join 50 groups and add 500 people, but if you don't use it from there it's pointless. Ask questions of your list, “Does anyone know a good place to eat in Sudbury while I am there for an accounting conference?” it's that simple. You may not gain clients, but you are attempting to interact with your connections and also reminding everyone of the business line you are in, in my case accounting. It may just give you the opportunity to create a connection and begin building a relationship that could garner some business for you.
Whether or not you join, LinkedIn is not going anywhere. The number of members is rapidly increasing and it could give your business one more chance to succeed, isn't that what all of us entrepreneurs are striving for anyway.
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Troy McLaughlin, BBA CA for local2 sault ste. marie
June 20th, 2012 at 1:03pm