If you’re doing business today, you’re either LinkedIn, or you’re out.

With more than 225 million users worldwide, LinkedIn is the social networking site for professionals. It’s an online platform for industry-specific discussions and for making connections based primarily on professional interests and affiliations.

LinkedIn is a cyber community where thought leaders are born, products and services are promoted, and employees are recruited.

 

When you build a robust LinkedIn account, you can begin sharing content — including blog posts and links to videos, websites, and other relevant resources — that will establish your expertise, raise brand awareness, and grow your community of followers.

Say you own a graphic design firm. With LinkedIn, you can showcase your experience and education on your personal profile. Add a branded Company Page about your business to post company-related news and status updates, share company blog posts, advertise job openings, and connect with your clients and strategic partners.

LinkedIn BasicsMuch like Facebook (but with a business angle), your followers can then “Like,” “Comment” on or “Share” your posts — giving you viral reach and generating valuable referrals and feedback. To establish a strong LinkedIn presence and connect with other thought leaders in your industry, it’s also important for you to “Like,” “Share,” and post thoughtful comments about content shared by those you follow on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn Basics – Get started with LinkedIn

  1. Add a Company Page. Also like Facebook, LinkedIn requires you create something different from a regular user’s account. However, unlike Facebook, you’ll need to have a LinkedIn account to add your company’s page. For more information, go here.
  2. Build your company’s profile. Tell your company’s story, much like you did in the About Us section of your website (link to How to Tell Your Story on Your Website). Make sure you include how you got started.
  3. Add a Products & Services tab to highlight anything you want to show your target audience.
  4. Solicit customer recommendations. Invite customers to recommend your products or services, then cultivate consumer trust by showcasing these endorsements on your Company Page.
  5. Get some followers. Add a “follow” button on your website, include a link to your Company Page in marketing collateral, and ask your employees to complete profiles and spread the word to their networks. Follow your clients and companies with which you do business, relevant professional organizations, your alumni association, even competitors. In many cases, they will follow you back. For tips on attracting followers, go here.
  6. Get chatty. By sharing, posting, and getting your followers involved, your company is more likely to resonate with them. Building relationships on LinkedIn involves consistently publishing relevant content, responding to others’ content, and reaching out to make new connections. This can take time, but it’s an important step to creating a strong online presence. For more information on building relationships on LinkedIn, go here.

So now that you’ve built out your profile, it’s time to attach a personal domain to your LinkedIn presence. Don’t have one yet? Search for one now and see why owning and forwarding a personal domain can make a world of difference.