If you are reading this, you’ve probably already heard of LinkedIn and have an idea on how important establishing a presence on the top professional networking site is.
You’re also probably wondering how you can get LinkedIn connections and market your business.
Let’s face it – with over 161 million users in over 200 countries it’s no wonder LinkedIn is getting the attention of small businesses and B2B professionals everywhere.
What makes LinkedIn such a marketers dream is that everyone is there to do business: people are looking for new clients, looking for vendors, looking for connections, and looking for recommendations.
So, whatever it is that you’re looking for to help your business, we have put together a great resource guide on how to quickly get started on LinkedIn today!
Getting Started on LinkedIn
Here we’ve created a simple checklist on making the most out of your personal profile. An impressive profile goes a long way in helping you get LinkedIn Connections.
You’ll need to start a profile first before you are able to add your company (if it isn’t already listed on LinkedIn).
1. First Things First – Build an Awesome Personal Profile
Remember, you only get one chance to make a first impression.
If you’re using LinkedIn to generate new leads or get more business you definitely don’t want to skimp on creating a unique profile. This means uploading the perfect picture, adding your education, your experience, and your skills.
You want your profile to immediately communicate what your strengths are what you have to offer.
2. Make Sure to Include Links to Your Website, Blog, and Other Important Links
LinkedIn allows (3) link entries. Most common choices are your company website, blog, and RSS feed, but remember to be creative.
You want to direct traffic to the sites that are most important to your business. Don’t forget to add your company Twitter as well!
Tip: Want to include more links than just a few?
Bookmarking sites like about.me and ItsMyURLs.com allow you to place all your website and social networking links on one convenient page.
Why not include a link to one of these sites so people can connect with you across all of your social networking profiles.
It’s also a great way to showcase other websites you are involved in that are outside your core LinkedIn focus.
3. Integrate, Integrate, Integrate
LinkedIn now offers applications on its platform that allows you to connect your accounts from different services and include them in your profile.
This is a great way to spice up your page with some extra content and really WOW people viewing your profile (and this is what’s going to help you get LinkedIn Connections).
These applications allow you to feature things like a portfolio, PowerPoint presentation (using SlideShare or Google Docs), or a link to your blog comments feed.
Tip: Here’s a cool hack to make your profile stand out – adding video.
You can embed video in Google Docs and create a presentation that is simply your YouTube video. This can be a customer testimonial, a personal welcome, or anything else you can think of to capture your audience (and potential customers) attention.
4. Set-Up Your Company Page on LinkedIn
Next, what you want to do is get your company listed on LinkedIn.
It’s as simple as clicking on the ‘Add a company’ link. After that, add your logo and a compelling summary and you’re all set! Just be sure you’ve completed your profile first.
Using LinkedIn to Get Traffic to Your Website and Grow Your Business
Now that we’ve established a presence on LinkedIn it’s time to start using the site to network and build traffic to your site.
There are a few things you’re going to want to do and we’ve listed them below:
5. Start Joining LinkedIn Groups in Your Industry
Networking groups on LinkedIn are excellent ways to introduce yourself to people in your industry, discover potential clients and customers, and share your knowledge.
Networking groups are an easy way to get LinkedIn Connections. To find groups in your niche simply select ‘Groups’ in the search bar and type away. Enter a key term and a list of Groups will be displayed.
Then, just follow the link and join. It’s that simple.
Tip: Is your company creating content or blogging?
LinkedIn can be a great source of traffic to your blogs. When you write a new blog post remember to share the link with the groups you’re a part of. Also, post an update on your profile and company page.
This lets you tap into new traffic that can be valuable for growing your reader base (and gaining new clients).
6. Ask to Connect.
Are you looking for more connections?
Connections are important on LinkedIn and add credibility to your profile. Your connections are the people in your network. If you are new to LinkedIn you’re probably trying to get LinkedIn Connections.
It’s actually really easy.
There are a number of services that will help you get real LinkedIn connections, but it’s really just a matter of asking people to connect.
You can also include in your summary or profile video that you are interested in connecting with everyone.
Here’s some advice: connect with everyone you can. More connections means more leads.
7. Host an Event
Want to take the conversation offline and meet more people face to face?
LinkedIn allows you to create a business networking event in your city. You can promote the event through the Event application and partner with other group owners.
Being the host and organizer of an event can definitely help you bring more attention to your business. Just make sure you shake everyone’s hand when they enter the event, collect their business cards, and connect as many people together as possible.
This is a great way to get face-to-face leads!
8. Ask your Customers for Recommendations
If you’re already in business, chances are you have a few customers who love your work and wouldn’t hesitate to give you a testimonial.
Why not make it a LinkedIn Recommendation?
Recommendations go a long way in establishing you as an expert in your line of work. Peer reviews are great forms of advertisement.
When a potential client can see that others have already recommended your work they’ll be more responsive to working with you themselves.
You should also recommend people. It’s called karma. When you help others with their business they are more likely to return the favor.
And those quality recommendations on your profile could very well be the reason someone decides to contact you.
9. Let People Know You’re on LinkedIn.
An often overlooked way of getting more connections on LinkedIn is simply letting people know you can be found on the site.
Let your customers know, your colleagues, your friends.
And, of course, be sure to include links on your website, so people can check you out and connect.
How are you using LinkedIn for your business? What are you doing to get LinkedIn connections? Let us know in the comments!
P.S If you are on LinkedIn don’t forget to follow HowEntrepreneur.com!