The View from 30 Feet
Business Networking on LinkedIn
by Matt Hlavin
Business gurus often talk about the view from 30,000 feet – the big picture that provides a look at overall operations. Perhaps, however, the focus should be on the view from 30 feet – a close-up of specific processes and procedures that make an impact now.
LinkedIn is a business-focused social networking site with a primary purpose of helping users network professionally. The number of people utilizing LinkedIn today has grown significantly over the past year – now at more than 259 million users. By optimizing this resource and the tools and features it has to offer to the fullest extent, I have found great success.
LinkedIn is not only about professionals looking to build their network and advance careers. There is so much more to gain. I use LinkedIn to stay updated on current trends and news in the industry. Staying updated on this information is very pertinent in today’s economy as you never know if this will give you further insight into a new opportunity and open more doors for your business.
Another way I currently use LinkedIn is by joining groups. Within groups, users not only are able to post articles, but also can create discussions and polls for insight and perspectives on economics and behaviors in the marketplace.
Clients also want to work with people who are excellent at what they do. Those who have a passion for and knowledge of their industry – and share that via a site like LinkedIn – often have an edge over competitors that are not as visible.
To get the most out of LinkedIn you need to be strategic in how you use it. LinkedIn is a great prospecting and research tool, whether it is to research companies or people. You can gain an abundant amount of information from users’ LinkedIn profile pages or company pages. This provides you with data you may be looking for prior to walking into a sales meeting or a conference.
Companies also are increasingly using LinkedIn as a recruitment tool. Jobs can be posted within particular groups, and individuals can be approached if they display characteristics that may be useful for filling the position. We have implemented LinkedIn at Thogus, rp+m and JALEX Medical as a method for finding the right candidates for open positions.
While there is no right or wrong way out there for how LinkedIn should be used, it is a good start to help you expand your network. LinkedIn provides a transparent way for you to see how people are connected to one another so that you can build strong relationships with clients, suppliers and partners.
Overall, LinkedIn has allowed Thogus to differentiate ourselves from our competitors and create more brand awareness by specifically targeting our audience. I have used it to build my own network of professional relationships so I can keep an eye on the trends that affect my company.