A recent LinkedIn release pegs the number of professionals connected on LinkedIn at an unbelievable 175 million members worldwide, 15 million of whom are self-employed professionals. More than 75% of these professionals are spread across 10 countries around the world. The leading countries (with regards to number of professionals) are the United States, United Kingdom, India, The Netherlands and Canada.
Small business professionals leverage LinkedIn in a myriad of creative ways. Not only do they leverage the site to make critical hires, but they also use LinkedIn Groups like “mini conferences” where they can learn more about various subjects such as advertising and public relations. We’ve also heard of small business professionals relying on their networks to find trusted vendors, partners and even funding for their companies.
Here are some ideas of what you can do with LinkedIn, irrespective of the size of your business:
- Boost Your Sales While Making Connections Seamlessly. LinkedIn, by itself, comes with the power of social media sharing and connections. You could grow your network just by staying active on the network. At the basic level, you can create direct connections and then referred connections through your extended network. LinkedIn’s Premium accounts also offer you “InMail” with which you could reach out to anyone in the world. Marketo — a leading Revenue Performance Management Company – reports that InMails offer a high hit rate and perform astonishingly better than regular email. On the sales side, “Sales Navigator” – an outbound sales tool provided by LinkedIn to its premium members – pulls in accurate data, seamless integration, and real-time information about prospects (or decision makers in companies).
- Establish Credibility for superior engagement. Members with regular updates (that offer value to others versus self-promotions) are probably the most valuable offering that LinkedIn provides for companies looking to sell, hire, or perhaps just engage. As individuals and key employees answer questions on LinkedIn Answers, participate in groups, and share valuable information, the platform runs off a knowledge centric, value-added platform working to benefit of every member’s efforts.
- Hire People and develop systems to work the recruiting systems. Did you know that at least 24% of most entry-level candidates, 8% of middle management executives, and 9% of top-level executives look for jobs on LinkedIn (thanks to an info graphic from Lab42 , reproduced by Mashable)? If the numbers are anything to go by, you have a better likelihood in finding the best, most apt talent for your organization through LinkedIn as against the usual recruitment practices? Additionally, you’ll also get a deeper insight as to the type of person your potential hire is by reviewing updates, responses, and usual participation on LinkedIn. Further, LinkedIn Recruitment services program promotes your job listings to candidates who match the profile and demographics you suggest. Stacy Lyons, Corporate Recruiter at Bronto Software, reports that 7 of their last 8 hires came straight off LinkedIn.
- Get Endorsements and Recommendations about your Brand, products, and Services. Every recommendation and endorsement that appears for your services, products, or the brand is an “earned” on. While there ways to grow your Facebook page fans and Twitter followers, LinkedIn is more of a closed network and these endorsements, shout outs, or recommendations don’t come in just because you went out of your way to do the same for others. All love on LinkedIn is voluntary.
LinkedIn can be a very powerful tool, if you explore the ways to use it to your advantage. How are you using LinkedIn? Does it work for your business?