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LinkedIn 101: Build Your Business Network

By Tara Alvey

Social networks are not an optional channel for businesses anymore; they are a must have, and for small businesses, LinkedIn is one of the most important. LinkedIn allows you to provide authenticity and credibility to you and your business. LinkedIn users come with a professional mindset, so go ahead, market yourself and your business—they are interested in hearing from you!

What is LinkedIn?
LinkedIn currently houses over 364 million users, and continues to steadily increase this number with as many as 2 users added per second, according to Smart Business Trends. This fast-growing social media site is designed with professionals, job-seekers, and businesses in mind.

Why Use LinkedIn?
LinkedIn is a heightened source of networking that you can do in your pajamas in your living room (though we wouldn’t recommend sharing this level of detail with your LinkedIn community). One can join groups, collect information, uncover events in the area, and add one’s own professional contributions to the fold.

All members of this website who get what LinkedIn is trying to do are there for the same reason: creating a business network. You won’t find this type of condensed business-focused environment on any other “big dog” social media website.

Explore News Updates and Events
LinkedIn is a great way to stay up-to-date with industry happenings in your area and around the world.

In the News Updates category of the site, you can personalize your preferences to connect you to top news stories in your industry, displayed in LinkedIn Today as a news digest. This can be a great resource to you in building your own content, or for redistribution on LinkedIn (and other social networks).

You can also take advantage of LinkedIn Events, which allows you to search for events based on industry, location, and company to find events you may like to attend for further networking.

Join professional groups
LinkedIn groups are pretty amazing. They put like-minded people – such as those from the same industry, niche or geographic location, or even those sharing the same interests and skills – in a single place. With so many people sharing ideas, thoughts, opinions, views, news and stuff in a single place, these professional groups can be of immense benefit. Groups also make it easy to voice your own opinions or views, seek help, discuss and talk or make conversation with people who share your interests or are from the same industry.

Have people endorse you and write you recommendations
On LinkedIn, people in your network can endorse you for particular skills that you may have. These endorsements allow LinkedIn to determine how to rank certain individuals in it’s search results – for instance people with a lot of endorsements for a particular skillset will rank higher when someone searches for those keywords. In addition, your current and ex-colleagues can also leave you recommendations on your profile.

To get started utilizing LinkedIn for your business, give FORTHGEAR a call. We have social media specialists standing by waiting to help you start creating and building your business network today!

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