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By August 14, 2013

Leveraging LinkedIn for Business: How to Create a Network for Growth

LinkedIn is about more than creating an online professional or business presence.

linkedin-network-for-growth-feature2It’s about connecting. And with more than 200 million members and counting on the social media network, the opportunity to connect with like-minded professionals has never been more available.

Many professionals and business owners know that LinkedIn is a valuable resource, but not all of them are using LinkedIn to actively build their industry network and reach new prospects and leads. You need more than a compelling personal profile and company page to leverage the power of LinkedIn. You need to create value-add connections that will expose you, your brand, and your message to influencers and decision makers.

Fun FactFun Fact

Did you know that one of the best ways to get found on LinkedIn is to strategically build up your own network of connections? LinkedIn values both the depth and breadth of your network when prioritizing your name in search results and recommended connections. This means that every new connection is an opportunity to enhance your visibility with your target audience.

Who should you connect with?Who Should You Connect With?

It’s simple. Connect with people that you have a real reason to connect with.

For starters, connect with anyone that you know and respect in the business world. If that sounds daunting then you can start with your co-workers, former co-workers, fellow college alums, clients, and connections you’ve made through volunteer activities. It’s also valuable to connect with people that work in your industry or in an industry that’s relevant to your own business like vendors, complimentary service providers and of course prospects.

You may know the drill – when you invite a person to connect, LinkedIn will prompt you to clarify how you know the individual. And while it’s tempting to send an invite with the default message (“I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn”), stop and take the time to include a personalized note and reason for why you’d like to connect. Explain who you are and why you’re interested in connecting.

For each new connection, your network exposure grows exponentially. Every person in your network has the opportunity to interact with your personal profile and company page, and amplify your presence through their own network. Enter the power of LinkedIn.

AmplificationAmplification

Nothing impacts peoples’ perceptions and behavior like the recommendation of a trusted friend, colleague, or family member. When you post content to your personal profile or your company page, your connections can “like”, share, or comment on your updates, which “amplifies” your message to their entire first-degree networks. And as they amplify your posts across LinkedIn, you have the chance to build relationships with even more members who discover you through the recommendation of a close contact.

Wide & DeepWide & Deep

To get started with creating a wide and deep network, you first have to make sure that your presence on LinkedIn is strong and attractive to new connections. That means optimizing your personal profile and company page, and actively updating, discussing, and sharing valuable content that your network will find interesting and informative. Also consider sharing articles and ideas with connections that you know will take a specific interest – the more personalized and targeted your network interactions, the stronger your presence within your network!

You’ll find that as you grow the quality and quantity of your LinkedIn connections, you’ll hit a tipping point when you’ll receive requests to connect from the type of people that will benefit you and your business objectives. Just remember that not all invitations to connect are beneficial for your personal and business objectives. It can be tempting to accept all invites, but scrutiny pays off, especially if you want to keep your network rich and fruitful.

Share the GoodShare the Good

At Kinesis, we look for opportunities to “Share the Good” in everything we do. You might consider introducing two people within your LinkedIn network that could benefit from knowing one another, or who may simply share common interests, ideologies, or needs. You never know how your efforts to help out another will come back around – and with an efficient and powerful tool like LinkedIn, it makes it easy to share the good.

Interested in learning more about how to leverage social media for business growth? Follow Kinesis on LinkedIn to stay up to date with our latest marketing insights.

ABOUT Kat Kocurek

Kat brings a diverse background and professional portfolio to her Strategist role at Kinesis, where she contributes content and concepts to guide client marketing efforts and growth. Kat is always happy to connect and “nerd out” over all things business – you can find her on LinkedIn!

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