Six degrees of separation is used to describe the power of LinkedIn.  In theory, any individual on earth is potentially connected to any other individual on earth, through a chain of six or less links.  In practice, LinkedIn, which is the largest professional network in the world, has the power for you to use your existing connections and to make new connections, which in turn will be used to secure additional connections.  The potential positive impact is enormous; and one that should be sought by all professionals looking to grow their business.

In February of this year, LinkedIn reported that it has more than 150 million members and is growing at an estimated rate of about two new members per second. LinkedIn members come from more than 200 different countries and territories.  Executives from all of the 2011 Fortune 500 companies are on LinkedIn, and more than 2 million companies have LinkedIn company pages.  These huge numbers of professionals and businesses are, through LinkedIn, literally at your finger tips.

 

What does LinkedIn allow you to do?

  • Aside from its enormous reach, perhaps the most significant characteristic of LinkedIn is that it levels the playing field. LinkedIn effectively permits you to compete with larger and more well-established businesses.  You have the ability to tell your company’s story, share interesting content in multi-media formats, highlight specific products or events, engage followers, and establish yourself as experts in your industry.  Professionals, who otherwise may not know about your organization, have access to all of your pertinent information on LinkedIn.
  • LinkedIn members rank more predominantly on Google and other search engines meaning that your membership will greatly enhance your visibility to a global marketplace.
  • LinkedIn capitalizes on what every marketing professional knows is the most valuable tool for generating new business: referrals/word of mouth.  It does so by permitting you to prove your expertise in your industry (see next bullet point), and also through recommendations that your colleagues, customers, business associates, and others can document on your page.
  • LinkedIn helps you to establish yourself and your employees as experts.  By engaging in informative and interesting dialogue and by participating in LinkedIn Groups and LinkedIn Answers, you have the ability to set yourself up as leaders in the industry.
  • While exchanging ideas, information and knowledge with your peers on LinkedIn you are also keeping yourself updated on industry happenings and trends.  Furthermore, you are positioned to keep track of your competition.
  • LinkedIn has been used since it was first established as a resource for employment, both from the perspective of potential employers, and potential employees.  LinkedIn can help you find the very best employees and the very best employers.
  • LinkedIn helps you to maintain the connections you’ve worked so hard to create.  As customers or colleagues change jobs or move, you stay connected.
  • In addition to linking LinkedIn to your website, you can connect all of your social media sites including Twitter and Facebook ensuring maximum impact.

 

Tips for optimizing your LinkedIn Company Page:

  • Put your best face forward.  Make sure your information is current, interesting and engaging.  Don’t make silly type or grammatical errors!
  • Invite people to follow you.  Email your contacts, post on your Facebook, and tweet about it on Twitter.  Place a Follow button on your website.
  • Update your status in a creative and engaging way to help to maximize your visibility. You can do this by asking questions, starting dialogue, posting a call to action and more.
  • Join groups! Groups are considered to be the most powerful feature of LinkedIn, serving as a way to connect you with thousands of like-minded business professionals.  Join all relevant groups and engage in dialogue with them.  Better yet…start groups!  This places your website as the featured site, and your name as the owner, helping to showcase you as an expert in your industry.  Use these to direct traffic to your website.
  • Participate in LinkedIn Answers! By establishing your expertise, you are also establishing yourself as the go-to-person that business professionals will seek out.
  • Used LinkedIn Ads!  Because LinkedIn is comprised of business professionals, your ads are likely to be seen by real decision-makers.
  • Encourage people to make positive recommendations for your business. Even better– do the same for others, without being asked.
  • Use LinkedIn Apps to better showcase your videos, documents, presentations and more.

 

Many professionals have used at least parts of LinkedIn for many years. If you’re not yet doing so, join these savvy business people in this enormous network.  You won’t be sorry!