Demystifying LinkedIn to Promote Your Business

From Christina Motley:

LinkedIn, the most widely used business-oriented social networking site, was founded in December 2002,  launched in May 2003 with $4.7 million in capital, and turned over $100 million in 2008. Especially effective for professional networking, LinkedIn offers businesses the opportunity to get their unique messages in front of more than 50 million registered users, across more than 200 countries worldwide.

Christina Motley's LinkedIn Profile Yet, LinkedIn remains a mystery to many.  Business professionals are invited by colleagues to join LinkedIn and they create profiles.  Then the questions begin:  Now what?  How and what do I do with LinkedIn?

For me, LinkedIn is invaluable. It has helped me:

  • Build an online presence.
  • Brand myself as a marketing expert and job seeker.
  • Find jobs not listed elsewhere.
  • Connect with fellow Virginia Tech Hokies.
  • Solicit additional references.
  • Keep an online résumé in front of others.
  • Get new work posted online.
  • Attract recruiters.

To begin to use LinkedIn, I established and completed my profile 100% and selected a unique URL

Now I:

  • Update my status at least 1-2 times per week
  • Add new connections weekly, building my professional network
  • Ask others for recommendations frequently, keeping this section fresh and growing.
  • Join industry-specific groups of interest. As I find new groups, I join them, again building my network.
  • Start new discussions (for example, "How to successfully publicize a blog" and "Coaching software helps coaches worldwide") within the LinkedIn groups of which I am a member to establish myself as a thought leader and participate regularly in on-going discussions.
  • Post anything I publish (for example, an article, a blog post) as a link and as a discussion topic for all relevant groups.

I hope learning how I use LinkedIn may help other business professionals transform LinkedIn from a mystery into an effective marketing tool to generate profitable business results.

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Christina Motley is an award-winning writer, editor, marketing, public relations and communications professional. She is currently writing for Handshake 2.0, City Magazine and the Blue Ridge Business Journal. You're invited to follow her on Twitter @christinamotley.

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