Of course you have heard of it.
In my book, LinkedIn is the most useful social media site for business. There's less jibber jabber; and when used well, can provide real results for you.
As you know good connections and networking are vital for business. LinkedIn can provide this. However having said this, LinkedIn networking is not passive. It's not put up your profile and voila, prospects and job offers falling into your fingers. It's similar to when you go to a meeting or function, you have two choices.
Either shyly stay by yourself, perhaps speak with a person or two. Or roll up your sleeves and dive in, working the room. It is similar with LinkedIn. Wallflowers remain wallflowers. You have to be proactive for great results. Here are a few of my top tips for getting greater benefit from the free version of LinkedIn.
1. Before visiting a new client, prospect or interviewing a prospective employee, read their profile, and check if they have a company LinkedIn profile. You'll get heaps of personal information giving you greater insight into them as an individual. Likewise, before popping out to a networking function - check company profiles for information and a few talking points.
2. Connect with as many people as possible. Why? For access to all their connections, pure gold if you're looking to build relationships within a certain industry or with a job demographic. Much better than cold calling, ask your connections to introduce you through LinkedIn. Although you can normally find a way to connect without introduction. An easy avenue - check out what groups they belong to, join one and you can use the group as the focus of connection.
3. LinkedIn has the most marvellous advanced search capacity, but few use it well. Search by a keyword, such as CEO or Sales Manager. Hone your search by location (down to post code level); company; current or previous position; industry. You can include group members, first and second connections. The Premium service offers a wider search field.
4. Improve your chances of being found in other LinkedIn member searches with these three strategies.
a. Put what you do with your name. My LinkedIn name is Debbie Mayo-Smith Motivational Speaker.
b. Do not write your profile, experience with I's, me's. Instead focus on the reader. Use their terminology, and frame everything with a how you can help them. Use a lot of 'you's'.
c. In your professional headline (the bit after you name) put something that differentiates you from all the others with the same occupation.
d.Completely fill out your profile. It will help you get found in ore search results.
e. Always ask for testimonials to be entered on LinkedIn too.
5. LinkedIn profiles are not only for individuals. Companies have profiles and followers.
6. Use the premium reference checking tool if you are employing someone.
Input the company name and the years the person worked there to search for references. You'll also find other employees who worked at the company during the same time period. You could contact them and ask about your candidate.
7. Looking for a job ?
• Read the Job seekers tips in learning centre.
In fact they offer free monthly 60-minute webinars, where you can learn strategies and best practices that can help you in your job search.
• Use the Jobs Tab. it has your typical job search functions, however the results include listing your network of connections that are or have been employed at that company. Use this to get an inside track.
• Do your own reference check. Search out the staff and company to be sure you're not hired by a bully or the company is a lemon. The company search function will give you more than their website will tell you.
• Try searching for the person who had the job that you're interviewing for. Search by job title and company (be sure to uncheck "Current titles only)."