Linkedin is the leading social media network for business professionals and it boasts some 225 million+ members. You must have been living under a rock over the last 5 years if you have not received an invitation to connect on Linkedin.
Linkedin is a great tool for businesses, no matter the size of your operation. I, like many business people use it as a ‘black book’ where I store all my business contacts, email addresses and phone numbers.
I started using Linkedin about 4 years ago when I ran an advertising agency. I found it amazing that I could connect with decision makers without having to cold call and ask could I get 5 minutes of their time. I used Linkedin to meet people who had connected with me and this resulted in some fairly large sales for my business. At the point when business started rolling in off the back of Linkedin connections I knew there must be other ways I could harness the power of the network.
It was about 6 months after I setup my Linkedin profile that I discovered the hidden gem that is Linkedin groups. I setup the Northern Ireland Business Group
and watched in amazement as it grew to over 500 members in a couple of months. It currently sits at 4,415 (as of June 10th).
I then set about the task of meeting as many members from the group as possible. This resulted in drinking a lot of coffee and meeting some really interesting people. If you take away one thing from this blog then spend 5 minutes today and email a few people who you engage with on Linkedin and arrange to meet them for a coffee. There is no substitution for meeting people offline.
Unfortunately one of the negatives around Linkedin is that certain businesses use it as a way of mass emailing their contacts offering goods and services. I liken this to walking into a party and shouting at the top of your voice so everyone notices but no one wants to talk to you.
To summarise, the easiest way to use Linkedin for your business is to engage in meaningful conversations, meet people in the flesh and genuinely take an interest in what other people are working on. If you do these things then you will notice other people will take an interest in your business and sales will follow.