It’s FREE–So Use LinkedIn to Grow Your Business
Wondering how to use LinkedIn to grow your business? Have you been using it for job searches? Or perhaps you used it for job searches in the past. And now you’re wondering what to do with it, now that you’ve got your own business? Can it help you at all?
You’d better believe it.
So here are a few ways to use LinkedIn to grow your business.
Use LinkedIn to Grow Your Business: 1. Recruiting
Well, of course! Maybe this is something of a no-brainer. But the business social network is naturally meant for not just job hunters but those who have jobs to offer.
Take advantage of advanced search and whittle down to location, company, and degree of connection to you. Company connections will only show up if the person is currently working there, so if they have moved on, those people will not be a part of your advanced search results.
However, the LinkedIn advanced search feature still works just fine for most purposes. If you are looking to recruit for your company and don’t want to pay for someone to relocate, searching is not difficult.
You could conceivably start with your location and then add current companies from your competition. Looking for classmates is a bit trickier although not impossible. Your best bet is to search for your school.
Writing Your Job Posting for Search
Yes, really! See, it makes a great deal of sense to check out your competitors’ job listings for ideas of how to phrase your own. Although they did not necessarily perform research, they still have an idea of what they might want in an employee. The chances are good that it won’t be a 100% fit. But it may be over 50%. And that’s not bad.
What if their job descriptions stink, or they aren’t hiring? Checking out the other side of the fence is still helpful – just look at their company listing. Beyond checking out your competition, do some creative Googling, too. Which terms yield the most appropriate results?
What are you looking for? Here, a story might illustrate the point better.
Let’s say you are in the film making business. And you want to hire someone to take care of the equipment. Consider all of the ways you could word your ad. Do you use the term movie, film, cinema, motion picture, or something else? What do you call the equipment? Is it cameras, or do you use the model numbers?
And another thing – the person who takes care of all of the equipment on a film is called a grip. You probably want to use this term of art, to assure you get someone who knows at least a little bit about what they’re doing.
If you’re making documentaries, maybe the term is film. If you make westerns, maybe it’s motion picture. You get the idea. No matter what, you have got to speak the language.
Use LinkedIn to Grow Your Business: 2. Open Yourself Up to Connecting with Most People
It can be very easy to silo yourself off from people who are outside your area of expertise or your particular geographic location. However, that’s not a good idea. Instead, accept most invitations to connect.Why? Because you never know who has something, and you never know where you can help. Obviously, though, if your new connection spams you, then feel free to report them. You don’t have to take that.
A Quick Story About Networking Back in the Day
Long before the internet was a thing, networking used to be more about calling or meeting people in person. And it still is! But back in the Stone Age, one piece of advice given to pretty much everyone was to talk with their hairdresser or barber about employment. This advice rang true no matter what someone’s profession was.
Hence you could be a doctor or a lawyer and still get advice to talk to your hairdresser about openings. This is because people tend to chat with their hair cutters and a great cross-section of people goes to salons and barbers.
That population has no limitations by profession, education, language, race, gender, country of origin, age, or any of the other divisions people set between themselves and others.
A similar theory is in play here. So what if you own a trucking company and a realtor wants to connect with you? Do so! That person might know people you need to connect with. And you might need a realtor. And for them, you will know people.
Use LinkedIn to Grow Your Business: 3. It’s a Two-Way Street
If you only go into LinkedIn (or any other social media platform, for that matter) looking for what’s in it for you, then you’ll never get anywhere. Instead, this needs to be a mutually beneficial collaboration. Your realtor connection might want to know if you know your neighbors well.
You can certainly say yes without violating their privacy. Or your chef connection might ask if you’ve seen any signs for new restaurants opening up in your area.
When we help each other, then LinkedIn and any other social media platform starts to attain its fullest potential. It stops being a nonstop advertisement-fest and turns more into a social place where people connect.
But Don’t Pretend it’s Something it’s Not
LinkedIn isn’t Facebook or Twitter, and it’s not trying to be. Hence your LinkedIn connections probably don’t want to see pictures of the new puppy, no matter how adorable. Instead, it makes a lot more sense to just think of them like business people you might meet at a convention.
They will not necessarily have the same background and interests as you. And they won’t always agree with you on politics or other hot topics.
They won’t always be in the same profession as you, either. But they are also at the convention, also looking around, fiddling nervously with their nametags and looking to make more than small talk. Connecting should go beyond just a business card swap.
Use LinkedIn to Grow Your Business: 4. Make Great Connections
I just got done (in #2) telling you to connect with everyone. Yet now I’m telling you to go for quality. Well, which one is it? The answer is: it’s both. A great volume of connections gives you a much bigger quantity of secondary and tertiary connections. And quality connections give you some more ‘bang’ for your connection ‘buck’, as it were.
For the person you’re looking to connect to, do they have at least 150 or so connections, a professional profile image, and at least something about their career history? Then they have taken LinkedIn seriously. If not, then they might not have. Of course this is assuming you don’t know them personally.
The Case for Quality
You’ve only got so many hours in a day, so don’t try to connect with people who are infrequent users of the service. That is, unless you know them and/or they are someone who could truly help you in your career. And even then, you might do better trying to reach out to them in some other way.
Use LinkedIn to Grow Your Business: 5. Follow Thought Leaders
Consider a word about thought leaders. So is there someone in your industry who is known as an inventor, a creative mind, a risk taker, or at least a newsmaker? Then you might want to be following them and trying to connect with them.
Go Local or Stay in Your Industry
Everyone gets to see the usual suspects when it comes to thought leaders. So these are people like Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, and the like. And while these people are thought leaders, they are being followed by everyone and her brother.
Connecting to them probably won’t give you a lot of interpersonal interconnectivity. That is, if you can at all, beyond just reading their contributions. But connecting to your industry’s thought leadership just might.
In addition, connecting to industry thought leaders has the potential of leading directly to even more help. Local thought leaders might be persuaded to attend events – or even contribute to their success.
Industry thought leaders could be the kind of people you need to meet at conventions. You know, the real kind, not just hypothetical conventions. And of course you’d probably listen more closely to what they might have to say.
Knowing them via LinkedIn means you have a conversational opening.
Use LinkedIn to Grow Your Business Today
LinkedIn is more serious than Twitter or Facebook and people on it are looking for business conversations and connections. They are not looking for personal conversations. But note that those do happen.
And they are generally not looking for friendships although friendships do grow organically. But that doesn’t mean you can’t connect on a personal level and develop a collaborative respect and relationship. Of course you can!
But for God’s sake, please don’t try to use it as a dating site.