5 ways LinkedIn can drive your business

By Tim McAdow

Integrity Insurance

Are you unsure where LinkedIn will fit in your business development plans? Do you believe it is just a resume posting and job search tool? Can LinkedIn make an impact on your personal or professional bottom line?

When set up and managed properly, LinkedIn will generate positive results for your personal and professional brands. Sure, it may lead to a new job opportunity, but you are much more likely to make a business connection that results in a sale or to link with someone who could become the next member of your team.

Here are five of many ways that LinkedIn can drive your business:

1. Connecting with old friends in influential places.

Not long ago, I was trying to get a C-level appointment with a large prospect. I wasn't making much progress in those efforts. Suddenly one day I received a connection invite from a colleague from over 20 years ago. As I accepted his request, I noticed he was an executive at the prospect I was targeting. After a 30 minute call, I had an appointment in the C-Level suite.

2. Use LinkedIn for pre-call research.

Don't just visit a company’s website before that sales call. Go out to LinkedIn and do a search on their company to see if you recognize any team members that have a work history with that organization. Sometimes you will be able to reach out to one of your contacts who is connected with someone inside the target organization.

Prior to an appointment, check out the profile of the person you are meeting. Once I noticed on a prospect's profile that they had a biking interest — something we shared in common. Guess what we talked about for 15 minutes? This can work for personal lines as well. Check LinkedIn before that appointment, because you might have something in common.

3. Join groups that align with your interests.

Groups are a great way to connect with the LinkedIn community. You can sign up for daily or weekly email summaries of the discussion activity. Often something that you might be wondering about or grappling with is shared in one of those group networks.

Posting a question is a great way to engage with the LinkedIn users. Remember, with a shared interest often comes a shared opportunity.

4. Post updates on your profile.

If you come across an interesting article, post it to your status update. If you were interested in it, your connections will likely be interested as well. Sharing information is part of why people link in the first place. Maybe something you share will solve a friend, colleague or customer's problem.

5. Update your headline to be more that just your current job title.

What are you passionate about, where do your interests lie and what is your expertise? All of those are great enhancements for your profile headline.

If all you want to do is share your experience and background then yes, for you LinkedIn is a glorified resume host. If you want to build your personal and professional brand, then leverage all that LinkedIn has to offer and engage.