When many people hear the term “social media,” they think of an online network for people to stay in touch with family members, share vacation photos, or discuss pop culture with friends. LinkedIn is different; LinkedIn is designed for professionals, giving you a way to make connections that can enhance your business and career. It is an online networking tool.
Here are three of the best ways to gain value from the site:
As an independent consultant, any opportunity to market your skills and experience is extremely valuable. Since LinkedIn is a place for professionals to connect, it’s a perfect place to put your knowledge and expertise on display. LinkedIn profiles are laid out much like a traditional resume – users list their educational background, certifications, awards and work experience to show what they’ve accomplished. While it’s often suggested that resumes be brief and to-the-point summations of professional accomplishments, the format of LinkedIn profiles encourages more detailed descriptions, giving colleagues and potential clients a more complete look at your experience. By highlighting your professional background, as well as areas of specialization, you’re able to market yourself to a larger and more targeted audience.
For any professional, an extensive business network can be priceless. This is especially true for independent consultants who must acquire loyal or numerous clients in order for their business to succeed. A strong presence on LinkedIn can help them do just that. Adding colleagues, partners, and clients to your LinkedIn contacts will keep your entire network updated on the status of your business, news and information you have to share, and recent accomplishments.
LinkedIn Groups are another great way to add to your professional network. By joining a group of colleagues in your industry, you not only are put in touch with the latest industry updates, but you can learn valuable tips and information while connecting and sharing experiences with others in your field.
One of the most powerful and valuable features LinkedIn offers is the ability to receive recommendations from your connections and to recommend others. Having colleagues, coworkers, and past clients recommend your services is incredibly valuable in proving your worth to potential clients. Having quotes ready that proclaim your value tells anyone who views your profile that you are a highly recommended professional, and gives social proof that you are, in fact, who you say you are.
Giving recommendations to others can also benefit you. By doing so, you not only show others that you are courteous and professional, but your name and a link to your profile will show up on the profiles of those who you recommend, extending your reach and visibility.
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