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Using LinkedIn to build business: Nine ideas

Most business owners already know or have used LinkedIn, but did you know that it boasts over 161 million users in some 200 different countries?  I am an active user and it is one of the best iPhone apps I have in my arsenal.

LinkedIn is also available in eighteen languages; it has 2,447 full time employees and is the largest professional network on the net.

Despite what many first thought, it isn’t just a place to keep your CV/resume online; it’s a place to connect to other business professionals, to reach and network with like-minded business people and is also great place to grow your business as it puts you in touch with potential clients.

Once you set up a business account or company page, you’ll be surprised how many contacts come out of the woodwork to connect with you – likeminded business contacts that could do your business a world of good.

So you may be asking yourself why you are not more active on this professional site?

Here are some really good reasons to start ‘logging on’ to LinkedIn more often:

1. Stay across what’s on LinkedIn Today

LinkedIn Today is a news feed that’s geared toward professional people, featuring articles available by topic or based on what the hot news from the moment is. This feed is a great way to share information about your organisation and other important happenings with successful business people.

2. Updates on Search status

You can use this tool to search specific topics relevant to your business and have updates sent to you via email when an interesting piece of news that’s relevant to you comes through. It works by helping you to stay up to date with what others in your industry are up to, paving the way for you to take advantage of any opportunities that arise.

3. Skills and Expertise

This new feature is a vital one. It encourages other businesses in similar industries to find you and vice versa and it also assists you to find like-minded groups, allowing for business and personal growth. And, most important, it can help you to locate highly skilled employees in your industry.

Note: Setting your skill sets in your profile are essential if you want this function to work efficiently.

4. Create a Custom Business Page

LinkedIn can help you customise a business page to suit your needs. These pages are where the business world will connect with you, so having a professional profile with relevant links to products and services is essential.

You can post information about new products, job openings and more to attract professionals, which will help you to grow the reach of your business.

5. Join Industry Groups

There are a multitude of professional groups that match your industry and can allow you to connect with others in your industry – or even potential clients and customers.

6. Optimise URL’s:

Upon creating a profile on LinkedIn, you’ll be provided with a lengthy URL, which is changeable. You will be given the option to choose a custom URL to use on your profile and to share links with others.

Changing your URL to something cleaner can help Google bring your name up in a search for that product or industry, plus it looks more professional when people search for your skill set.

7. LinkedIn Signal

This is a pretty amazing tool because it allows you to actually signal in via search and find out who is talking or posting about your favorite topic or business product. LinkedIn allows you to search for updates and subscribe to them as well, which helps you find even more connections in your industry, not to mention customers looking for what you have to offer.

You can even narrow your search for specific areas, items and careers.

8. Expert Advice 

Got a nagging business question? You can use your LinkedIn mailbox to ask questions of many groups and even individuals on industry topics to get answers. This tool also allows you to make contact with professionals you might have yet to connect with.

9. Advertising

With its 161 million users, LinkedIn is a great avenue to advertise your business, product or service. Ads on LinkedIn are similar to Facebook in that they offer advertising on a (CPC) cost per click or impression basis and you can tailor them by job title, industry and company size.

So – get going! LinkedIn is a great venue for building your business and there is no time like the present.

What do you think?

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Fred Schebesta

Fred Schebesta

Fred Schebesta is an Internet business veteran in Australia and is the Director of <a href="http://www.finder.com.au/">Finder.com.au</a>, which was founded in 2006 launching one of Australia's first <a href="http://www.creditcardfinder.com.au/">credit card comparison websites</a>. Following his momentum of success, he continued to launch comparison services for home loans, savings accounts, life insurance and mobile phones. His articles aim to share his professional and personal experiences in entrepreneurship, HR and leadership.

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