In the 1000s of years of human existence, there is one business strategy that has remained unchanged and continues to contribute more to commercial growth than any other: Networking. Be it the ancient Silk Route trade that was functional 2000 years ago or the eCommerce industry that has been around for just 20+ years, they all rely on human connections. This is where LinkedIn can play a big role. And there are smart ways in which you can use LinkedIn to grow your business.
Did you know that LinkedIn is older than Facebook and Twitter? Yes, LinkedIn’s website was officially launched in May 2003 (Facebook – Feb 2004, Twitter – July 2006). But despite the increasing competition from 100s of Social Networks that have sprung up in the last 13 years, LinkedIn continues to be robust and is still the No.1 platform to network with Professional and Business contacts.
Interesting Facts about LinkedIn:
Here are some interesting facts from LinkedIn’s website (as on 25th January 2016).
- In the last 3 years, LinkedIn has employed 7100 full-time staff*, at the rate of 6 recruitments per day. [tweetthis remove_hidden_hashtags=”true”]In the last 3 years, LinkedIn has employed 7100 full-time staff, at the rate of 6 recruitments per day! [/tweetthis] (*Their website says they had 2100 full-time staff in 2012, now they have 9200 full-time staff in 30 cities)
- LinkedIn is available in 24 languages. [tweetthis remove_hidden_hashtags=”true”]Did you know that LinkedIn is available in 24 languages? [/tweetthis]
- LinkedIn has 400 million members from 200 countries. [tweetthis remove_hidden_hashtags=”true”]Did you know that LinkedIn has 400 million members from 200 countries? [/tweetthis]
- LinkedIn has 2 new member registrations every second. [tweetthis remove_hidden_hashtags=”true”]Did you know that LinkedIn has 2 new member registrations every second? [/tweetthis]
- LinkedIn’s fastest growing demographic is students and freshers. More than 39 million of them registered in the network. [tweetthis remove_hidden_hashtags=”true”]Did you know that LinkedIn’s fastest growing demographic is students and freshers? [/tweetthis]
- LinkedIn was started out of the living room of the co-founder Reid Hoffman in 2002. [tweetthis remove_hidden_hashtags=”true”]Did you know that LinkedIn was started out of the living room of co-founder Reid Hoffman in 2002? [/tweetthis]
- LinkedIn is the oldest among today’s Top Social Media channels. Their website was officially launched in 2003 before Facebook (2004) and Twitter (2006). [tweetthis remove_hidden_hashtags=”true”]Did you know that LinkedIn is the oldest among today’s Top Social Media channels? [/tweetthis]
4 Smart ways of using LinkedIn to grow your Business
#1 Use LinkedIn to showcase your company, products and services
With 400 million professionals on its network you can use LinkedIn as a platform to showcase your business. Irrespective of the industry, one of the very first actions that serious professionals usually take (may be after visiting your website) is to search for your company on LinkedIn. So, create your presence on LinkedIn by creating an official LinkedIn Company Page. You can provide details about what you do, your products, services, team, culture, etc. Here is a great video from LinkedIn with step-by-step instructions:
#2 Use LinkedIn to hire the right talent for your business
LinkedIn can be a great place to source the right talent. Some of the ways to find the right people are:
- Look for the profiles within your network that might suit your requirement.
- Find 2nd degree connections of your existing connections for a relevant candidate. When you find the right match, ask for an introduction (see next point to learn more about this), send them a connection request and start communicating with them directly.
- Send a direct message to some of your key connections asking them to refer people they may know who have the skill, talent and experience you are looking for. Send a detailed job description in your message.
- Before the interview, review the candidate’s profile, see the work they have done, review recommendation, etc. This could help you filter candidates and save you lots of time, instead of waiting for the interview to find about about them.
- Check out the premium job posting services from LinkedIn. If you have a budget for your recruitment, I recommend you try them out. Here is a list of recruitment solutions offered by LinkedIn.
#3 Use LinkedIn to grow your business network
The bigger your business network, the better it is for your business. You will find that people connect more freely on LinkedIn compared to other social networks like Facebook. That is because they are aware that this is a professional network and it’s fine to have connections with those whom you have not interacted in person. It is like sharing business cards. People are fine with sharing them freely as long as it forms relevant industry connections. This environment created by LinkedIn helps you reach out and connect with the right kind of people that could help your business grow. So go ahead and start networking.
Ask for an introduction: Start by scanning the shared 2nd connections of your existing friends on LinkedIn and make a list of people with whom you wish to connect. Ask your existing connections to ‘make an introduction’ and help you connect with this person.
Here is a step-by-step instruction on how to do it (Source: LinkedIn)
- Go to the profile of a 2nd-degree connection you want to get introduced to.
- Your mutual connections will display on the right of the page.
- If more than one person can make the introduction, choose who you want to make the introduction.
- Click Request an intro. This will take you to a text box where you can explain why you’re asking for an introduction.
- Click Ask for an introduction. This message may get forwarded to the person you want to be introduced to.
If the member isn’t within your network, use the InMail to contact them. Also, if the member is in a shared group with you, you can send a message to them directly.
Connect people with one another: You can be a good samaritan on social media and help others connect with potential prospects or customers on LinkedIn. If you find two people in your network who could benefit by connecting with each other, you could introduce them.
Here is a step-by-step instruction on how to do it (Source: LinkedIn)
- Search for one of the connection’s profiles using the search box at the top of your homepage.
- From results, click their name to view their profile.
- Hover your mouse over the drop down icon in the top section of the profile and select Share profile.
- Enter each recipient’s name in the top box of the compose message page.
- Modify the message to explain how they could benefit from knowing each other.
- Click Send.
#4 Use LinkedIn’s ‘Advanced Search’ to connect with decision makers
One of my favourite features of LinkedIn is its ‘advanced search’ capability.
Imagine being able to connect directly with people in companies from around the world, who make the buying decision about your products or services. Once you connect, you can nurture that online relationship by sharing meaningful content, answering their questions, being helpful, showcasing your expertise and being an influencer. Eventually at the right time, you can reach out to them and explore ways of working together. This is exactly what LinkedIn’s advanced search feature helps you do.
While the ‘regular search’ bar on top of the home page can still produce good results, I strongly recommend that you click the ‘Advanced’ button next to the search box and use it to fine tune your search.
The advanced search feature helps you search based on location, industry, degree of connection with your existing network, school, present company and even past company. With paid membership, you can further drill down your search: finding people based on years of experience, seniority level and date of joining. As a startup or small business, this is an inexpensive and effective way to make the right connections that can help you grow your business.
Hope you find these tips on LinkedIn helpful. Leave your comments below and let me know your thoughts. I appreciate it.
All the best!