LinkedIn has different charging structures that are targeted at different types of users. I personally use the Personal (free) account type and so far it has worked well for me. The main advantage of the non-free accounts is they allow you to send InMail – LinkedIn’s own product – that allows you to send messages to people that you are not connected to directly. What I can suggest in that case is to join appropriate groups on LinkedIn. I have discussed this in further detail later on.
Joining LinkedIn is easy. A few details and you are on LinkedIn.
Completing your profile can be a bit time consuming. I would advise, give it an hour a day over a couple of weeks.
Make sure you share sufficient details that make you easily contactable for potential business contacts.
Make sure you don’t share any information that makes you a target for identity theft.
This list is not exhaustive. Just a start.
Click on the “Advanced” link on the home page of LinkedIn. That will take you to the page for finding people on LinkedIn. Usually the basic search is not sufficient. Advanced Search allows you to search people by details such as Industry, Location, etc.
The list of results brings up a number of profiles. Who you can and cannot contact depends on two factors: Are you a direct connection? Do you share a group. In some cases, you may still be able to contact the person. For this, simply look at their profile and check if they have shared a website address where their contact details may be present.
I was looking to introduce someone from Alternative Medicines industry to a friend of mine. I found a profile and, because we shared a group, I was able to contact the person.
When sending a message to anyone on LinkedIn, remember to ask yourself a simple pragmatic question: will you read and respond if you received the message? Be positive. Look at what you have to offer. Don’t look to sell.
Groups are a fantastic way to expand your contact circle. But remember, you can only join 50 groups on LinkedIn. So be choosy about which groups you join. Ask yourself: Does this group have the people who I am looking to connect to? Does this group relate to the geographical area I am looking at? Does this group provide anything of value to my business?
When joining a group, you will be given various options.
You can see what discussions others in that group have posted. You can post discussions related to your own business.
You can view a list of Group Members. From there, you can contact them. Be careful, don’t send SPAM. Respect privacy of other members.
You can start a discussion to: Advertise an event. Advertise an open position. Request for help or advice.
LinkedIn allows you to publish, search and attend events.
LinkedIn Events are an easy way for you to publish your event and manage attendees.
LinkedIn Answers allows you to ask complex questions to Industry Experts.
You can select up to 2 categories for categorising your question. Experts from these categories will respond to you.
LinkedIn has many more applications that you can activate and use on your profile.
Using Social Media for Business Ashish Kulkarni Director, Kulkarni Software