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How to use LinkedIn to find business contacts

LinkedIn is an essential part of any business these days. Whether you are in the corporate workforce, run your own business or work from home, if you want to use LinkedIn to make real business contacts it is important to get your profile right. Heres some tips on the right way to use LinkedIn.Jennifer_Brosnan

Get your profile right!
First things first. It’s vital you get your LinkedIn profile right. It’s got to be professional as this is about your branding, credibility and visibility. Potential business contacts will base a decision to link with you on the appearance of your profile. If you need to pay a professional writer or company to get this done then spend the money and do it! It’s also a good idea to get a professional photo taken; wedding photos, holiday snaps or selfies are not a good look! You want a photo that resonates with the industry you are pitching to. Don’t attempt to connect with other people and businesses until you are happy with your profile and ready to go!

Ready to connect.
Once your profile is live, you’re ready to start connecting. Starting out I would be sticking with the Basic free version of LinkedIn, you can upgrade to the premium version later if you like. You can check on the site what it allows you access to, such as how many contacts you can send an introduction email to per month. I get around this by when the question is asked ‘how do you know this person?’ I tick the box that says ‘friend’ otherwise the emails will not be sent because you don’t know their email address.

How and what to ask.
I have made some fantastic business contacts by putting myself out there. Be specific on who you send messages to, don’t just shoot out a whole heap, it’s not about getting likes but making quality business contacts in the industry/field you are in.  I have seen people use LinkedIn asking for work or used as a dating site, this is not its purpose and does not send a professional message. From my experience most people are happy to connect if you initiate contact and around one in every seven will return a message and sometimes we will meet for a coffee. People prefer if you take the time to view their profile and ask them a specific related question when you ask to be connected. I have connected with some high profile people in business because I took the time to view their website or profile and followed up with a question or statement such as ‘I noticed that you said your business took time to build because you had to educate people first’……

Sharing Information.
Don’t be afraid to write a blog on a topic related to your business/industry and post the link on your wall so your business contacts can see this. It gives you credibility and reminds people of what it is that you do. If you write a blog and post the link on LinkedIn you can see the stats on how many people have checked out the link. Sometimes this will create interest and attract people to view your profile further. Also use LinkedIn to post wins, updates and any information you would like to share about your business or self professionally.

LinkedIn is also used as a tool to endorse people for their skills such as business networking, product management, organizational skills. The more endorsements you hold in a particular skill or field the better your credibility and exposure.

Use your judgment on etiquette used on LinkedIn. Don’t continually posts updates about yourself and your business and certainly don’t spam people about your business or services you offer as your account could be closed. I also never try to connect with friends as I see LinkedIn purely as a business tool, Facebook is for friends.

Used correctly LinkedIn is really a fabulous tool to connect with and introduce yourself to others in your industry or field. It can take a little getting used to but it’s a great way to let others know about you and what it is you do. Good luck, you never know who you can link in with and where it could take you!
What are your tips for using LinkedIn? Have you made any real business connections with LinkedIn?

Jennifer Brosnan

Jennifer Brosnan, started Leave it with me in 2012, a Social Media Specialist Service. The business helps small to medium businesses to grow their business online, build positive brand awareness, generate more leads and to ignite and build active audience engagement by sharing, supporting and connecting through social media.

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