LinkedIn has morphed into a valuable social network for business professionals individually, as well as for companies. What had once been considered more of a "recruiting" or "HR" forum, has evolved into a platform for executives to network, initiate business, as well as share ideas and professional experiences.
In order to maximize this social network, it is important to remember that the focus remains on the individual and what they can contribute, rather than the "entity" or business. As such, enhancing your LinkedIn profile is key for credibility and to leverage all that's offered. It is also valuable from an SEO standpoint, as profiles get indexed by Google in search rankings, and can help secure additional presence for your name.
Once you have an account, factors to consider for enhancing your personal profile on LinkedIn include:
- Identifying by company name as much employment history as possible to help expand your "connections", by leveraging old contacts and colleagues more easily.
- Adding your alma maters – this is always a great way to "connect" and establish dialogue with others.
- Joining existing Groups where you can add value to the conversation and offer insight to other members, while expanding your networking reach in that area. It's also a way to identify and network with those who share commonalities with you (employers – past or present, affiliations, geographic regions, etc).
- Encouraging your clients and contacts to "connect with you", even when outside of the LinkedIn site (mention it in email signature line, on website or powerpoints). Think of it as your roaming business card and portable rolodex.
- As you grow your "connections", interact with them through the variety of mediums available with the third party applications available on LinkedIn (wordpress, tripit, slideshare, etc.).
On July 15, 2008, LinkedIn unveiled a modest advertising portal for companies to take advantage of targeting their global users on this network.
Currently they have 65+ million users, each with unique, self-defined profiles. Given some of their recent ad campaign enhancements (in particular, ad rotation has proven to be successful to increase Click Through Rates), it has become a very viable form of advertising for many companies.
Given the highly specific demographic targeting options offered, the ROI in these campaigns has rivaled those of the top tier engines!
View a recent LinkedIn DirectAds case study of a client who achieved great results from the ability to market their organization to users who have profiles similar to that of their existing members.