If you’ve been following our LinkedIn series, you now have a profile up and running and some contacts to boot. What now? The vast majority of LinkedIn users aren’t really sure what to do with their profile or with the site after this point. Joining groups for networking is a good start, but there are so many other things that you can do in order to connect with others and drum up some business.
Part Three – Join In and Manage Your Time
Set Time Limits
The key to using LinkedIn effectively, or any social network for that matter, is to define the time you spend there. Participating in discussion boards could easily eat up your whole day if you let it. Set aside time each day or each week to get involved with LinkedIn and you’ll see your results pay off. Develop a checklist of things you want to accomplish in order to make sure that your efforts are focused and your time isn’t wasted.
Why are you on LinkedIn?
Social networking requires a strategy. Having a strategy will help you get the most out of the site. LinkedIn is a good place to meet people, but you’ve got to understand who you want to meet and why you want to meet them. In creating your professional headline you’ve gone a long way toward defining your purpose for being there, but now you need to determine your goals and define activities to meet those goals.
No LinkedIn user is exactly alike. Some are just there to be in control of one of the results that comes up when someone types their name into Google. Others want to be part of their professional community or want to get a job interview with a major company. For a small business owner, the goal is generally to get more traffic to your website and become an authority in your field. LinkedIn can help you achieve both of these goals.
Become a Valuable Resource
Small business owners can make the most out LinkedIn by helping others with answering questions and participating in communities. Following the directions in the last post, you found and joined groups that were relevant to your target market. Focus on three to four groups at first, or even less if the groups are busy.
Your goal for a period of time each day or week (depending on your level of involvement) is to check in with the group message board and participate in the discussion. See yourself as an adviser to this group through the message board. Engage with your target market and build your reputation with them. You’ll be sought out when any members of that group need help.
In the final part of this series we’ll look at other ways you can connect with your target market on the site.
Research Analyst, Cloud Virtual Office
Courtney’s research focuses on tracking emerging business trends and best practices – with an emphasis on how they affect business operations, technology, and virtual office infrastructure.