Whether you are an entrepreneur, business professional, or just a student, LinkedIn can be a powerful social networking tool. Unlike many other social media platforms, LinkedIn primarily focuses on furthering your personal brand as a business professional. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure your personal life is very interesting. But LinkedIn is not the place to share your pictures of your new dog, fluffy, or a 140 character update on that delicious, new meal you tried making.
So, what can using LinkedIn bring to the table for you?
1. Keep Track of a Contact's Information
LinkedIn can serve as a glorified online contact directory. When I meet someone in person, I always try to add them quickly to my LinkedIn account and jot down a hidden note on their profile of where I met them and how I might help them in the future if applicable. Each LinkedIn user profile contains the user's contact information, as well as relevant job info. Best of all, LinkedIn accessible from any device that has internet, and, of course, they have an app for that!
2. Keep in Touch with Your Network
Not only does LinkedIn codify your contacts' information all in one location, but it also serves as a great platform to keep in contact with your network. You can easily send them a quick message about an opportunity of which they may have interest, or just touch base.
3. Share Updates Regarding Professional Topics and Projects
LinkedIn also serves as another arena for you to share updates – there's no shame in sharing your accomplishments or unique projects that you've recently wrapped up. Perhaps that project you just finished is the exact service that one of your connections is currently needing.
4. Easily Make New Connections
If you've met a business professional only once in brief passing in an elevator or at a seminar, you probably aren't going to add them as a friend on Facebook. However, LinkedIn serves as a perfect platform to reach out to those acquaintances on a professional level. It's even a platform that you can reach out to others that you have never met in person!
5. Attract Recruiters
LinkedIn is a goldmine for recruiters. It's an excellent place to search for potential job candidates, and connect with those you think might present an opportunity in the future. That being said, students and job seekers, it's imperative that you keep your profile up-to-date and error free!
6. Consolidate Recommendations and Endorsements
Fellow connections can recommend or endorse you for particular skills and expertise. Likewise, you can return the favor by endorsing or recommending those you have enjoyed working with in the professional setting.
7. Become an Expert
Finally, LinkedIn provides the perfect platform to establish yourself as an expert in your industry. Serving as a resource to your connections, participating in groups and discussions, and sharing updates and useful information all create value for your network. As a value creator, you yourself will be seen as a valuable connection.