LinkedIn may not be the most exciting or fun social network out there, but it’s an amazing tool for businesses – if you master it and make full use of its features you can really help your business in the long run. I personally use LinkedIn quite often for business reasons (what else, after all?) and I found it has lots of amazing benefits. LinkedIn is great for:
The trick with LinkedIn is to know all the little secrets so you can make full use of the popular social network. It has lots of interesting features that not everybody knows about and they launch new ones at a very rapid rate, probably due to their perpetually increasing number of users, so it can be very hard to keep up and know which features to use to get the most out of LinkedIn. This has been bugging me lately so I decided to make a to-the-point list with LinkedIn’s most relevant features for businesses.
I thought it best to start with LinkedIn’s latest feature, as there hasn’t been a lot of talk regarding it and it’s a pretty useful feature. LinkedIn now allow their members to mention their connections and companies in their updates, which is very similar to Facebook’s “mention” feature. All you have to do is start typing the name of the connection or company in the status update box or in a comment field and then select the name you want – and then that person or company will be notified of the mention. It might not sound like much, but it’s a very useful feature, as it allows you to easily start a conversation with someone. Most people don’t check their feed regularly and read through all status updates, so the fact that they are notified that gives you a much better chance that they will see your update and ultimately, comment on it. Since there is so much noise on LinkedIn, this new (and great!) feature gives you a great advantage and an amazing opportunity to build a relationship with any of your connections.
It’s also worth mentioning that you aren’t necessarily limited to your existing connections. You can also mention other users that are commenting on a post on the LinkedIn Home Page – so you can use this feature to also meet some new people and make some new connections that might have been harder to make otherwise. The guys at LinkedIn are also promising that sometime in the near future users will be able to mention their colleagues even beyond the LinkedIn Homepage.
LinkedIn have also been working on their Search algorithm and tried to include some extra features to make the whole process better and more efficient. The “search” feature shouldn’t be looked over, as it can really help professionals and their businesses. And with the new features, it’s even more useful. By using LinkedIn Search to its full potential and spending just a little extra time with it, you can discover new people and companies to connect with that you can later build relationships with and even get some leads out of it.
With the new LinkedIn Search, you will get more suggestions: auto-complete can give you some extra ideas when searching for someone, but more importantly, their “suggested searches” feature can help you discover more connections and more companies. For example, you can enter a job title and you’ll get example search queries related to that title of people, jobs and top results.
Their algorithm is also better: basically, the more you search for things, the better it will understand you and your needs and over time you will get better and better results.
Another new feature is that you can now save searches and get automated alerts whenever something new pops up in that search – great for saving time!
Have you considered setting up a LinkedIn Company Page yet? At the moment LinkedIn reports about 2.8 million Company Pages and HP is the first to cross the 1 million followers line. So if you have a business – why not start a Company Page of your own? It’s a very useful feature that will allow you to reach more people, get more engagement and raise your brand awareness.
This great LinkedIn feature allows you not only to make new connections, but also to make the best connections possible. With Get Introduced you can search your connections’ connections by keyword and if you find someone that you would like to be connected to, all you have to do is get the initial connection to introduce the two of you. This way you can make great strategic connections that can really help your business.
The LinkedIn Homepage can be quite overwhelming and it can get very hard to get to the information you actually care about. Fortunately, there’s LinkedIn Signal: a great feature that allows you to search through conversations, updates, etc. so you can instantly find out what you actually want to find out, without having to go through mountains of unnecessary information. What’s great about LinkedIn Signal is that you’re not limited to searching just with keywords, but you can also use locations and topics and add up to ten filters. With Signal you can also keep up with your connections’ updates in real time and get a feel for when they are active on LinkedIn, which gives you a window to approach them.
Joining groups is a must if you want to make the most out of LinkedIn. And not just joining – but also participating regularly. Groups are great tools for meeting new people, establishing relevant connections, getting leads and for establishing yourself as an expert and go-to guy (or gal!) in your field. But joining just one group isn’t enough: the more, the merrier! And the more people you get to meet! With LinkedIn’ Groups You May Like feature, LinkedIn gives you the most relevant groups for you, by looking at the attributes you have in common with other members in groups. Which can be a little scary, but also incredibly useful!
LinkedIn Recommendations are, well, what they sound like: LinkedIn basically allows its users to recommend each other so that other users can see that endorsement. It’s quite a useful tool, as if you get lots of recommendations your profile will be that much better and more appealing to others. So, if you haven’t already, start recommending people that you admire and wait for others to recommend you as well.
With the Common Interests feature you can see everything that you have in common with another user: groups you’ve joined, skills, causes and interests. Make sure you add all of your interests, skills etc. and join as many relevant groups as you can (the keyword here is relevant!) as many people might decide whether to connect with you or not based on your common interests. The great thing about this feature is that you can now very carefully examine potential connections that could turn into potential clients. And with this feature you also get a great in – knowing what the two of you have in common can give you all the necessary information you need to be able to reach out and spark a conversation with them.
It’s no secret how important visuals are and LinkedIn has definitely caught on to that when they launched the “new LinkedIn”. Everybody has noticed how much more image-centric LinkedIn is now, but not everyone knows of the Rich Media Tool. With it, you can now add different types of media, such as video and presentations, to your Summary, Experience and Education fields. This is a great feature that allows you to get that extra edge over the competition: the better your profile looks and the more interactive it is, the better!
With the Sharing Bookmarklet, LinkedIn gets, well, more social! All you have to do is go here and drag and drop the button on your browser toolbar. Once you have the bookmarklet you can start sharing webpages with your connections even if you’re not on LinkedIn. It makes it very easy to share anything you might find on the web in just seconds.
And, as a bonus, I thought I’d also mention LinkedIn Advertising:
As mentioned earlier, LinkedIn gives you the option to advertise on their website. And, if you cater to professionals or businesses, then it should be perfect for you. LinkedIn advertising is pretty good as there are quite a few users (over 200 million) and, unlike Facebook, Twitter and other major social networks, everybody knows that a majority of its users are business men and women. Another great thing is that ad campaigns are highly targeted (similarly to Facebook) and they can be very cheap: you can start from as little as $10 a day. This is great news as you can at least try it out and see how it works before you throw in all your budget for an ad campaign.
So here they are, the top 11 features to help you get the most out of your business using LinkedIn! What are some of the features you use on LinkedIn? Are there any that I haven’t mentioned? Please do let me know in your comments!