In a previous blog post I recommend why and how to take advantage of three social networking services: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. I also mentioned that I would write subsequent posts on each of these "Big Three" social networking sites, and the video sharing network YouTube. This third installment of four is dedicated to getting you started with LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is a somewhat less known social network than Facebook. LinkedIn may be
considered more of a business to business (B2B) social network, whereas Facebook
(for business) is generally considered more of a business to consumer (B2C) social network.
LinkedIn is designed for business people and entrepreneurs to establish a professional profile (post your resume or CV) online, to stay in touch with former classmates, colleagues and friends, and to find experts, ideas and opportunities. Many members use this network to collaborate with other like-minded business contacts, and/or to find businesses who offer the products or services they need. Therefore LinkedIn provides a whole new pool of potential new business clients. Again, the good news is that LinkedIn accounts are FREE!
Wikipedia states, in part, “LinkedIn was founded in December 2002 and launched on May 5, 2003. As of June 2012, LinkedIn reports more than 175 million registered users in more than 200 countries and territories.
One purpose of the site is to allow registered users to maintain a list of contact details of people with whom they have some level of relationship, called Connections. Users can invite anyone (whether a site user or not) to become a connection. LinkedIn utilizes a "gated-access approach" (where contact with any professional requires either an existing relationship, or the intervention of a contact of theirs) is intended to build trust among the service's users This list of connections can then be used in a number of ways:
A contact network is built up consisting of their direct connections, the connections of each of their connections (termed second-degree connections) and also the connections of second-degree connections (termed third-degree connections). This can be used to gain an introduction to someone a person wishes to know through a mutual contact.
Users can upload their resume or design their own profile in order to showcase work and community experiences.
It can then be used to find jobs, people and business opportunities recommended by someone in one's contact network.
Employers can list jobs and search for potential candidates.
Job seekers can review the profile of hiring managers and discover which of their existing contacts can introduce them.
Users can post their own photos and view photos of others to aid in identification.
Users can now follow different companies and can get notification about the new joining and offers available.
Users can save (i.e. bookmark) jobs which they would like to apply for."
I can personally recommend HubSpot, a pioneer in inbound marketing strategies, which offers an impressive library of FREE reference materials including webinars, eBooks, blog articles and videos on the topic of how to best use LinkedIn for business/marketing.
You are invited to ask questions and/or to post a comment in the space provided below regarding your experience with using LinkedIn for business or to point out other advantages and disadvantages not mentioned here.
I highly recommend that you increase your business marketing strategies by tapping into the "Big Three" social networking services: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. We will also touch on YouTube, the very popular video sharing Web site, that lets anyone upload short videos for private or public viewing. There are many others, of course, but arguably these are the “top four” web based services, which can help promote your business to your target market. Best of all, they’re FREE!
What exactly is a social networking service?
- Wikipedia (an on-line dictionary) defines social networking services as, “…an on line service, platform, or site that focuses on building and reflecting of social networks or social relations among people, who, for example, share interests and/or activities. A social network service essentially consists of a representation of each user (often a profile), his/her social links, and a variety of additional services. Most social network services are web based and provide means for users to interact over the Internet, including e-mail and instant messaging.
- One popular use for this new technology is social networking between businesses. Companies have found that social networking sites are great ways to build their brand image. According to Jody Nimetz, author of Marketing Jive, “There are five major uses for businesses and social media: to create brand awareness, as an online reputation management tool, for recruiting, to learn about new technologies and competitors, and as a lead generation tool to intercept potential prospects. These companies are able to drive traffic to their own online sites while encouraging their consumers and clients to have discussions on how to improve or change products or services.”
But, isn’t Social Networking just a fad?
The website www.graphicsms.com/blog/877-social-networking-statistics-2010/ lists the following data: (Note: these are the published statistics for 2010)
- 47% of online adults use social networking sites and 73% of teens and young adults are a member of at least one social network.
- The global average time spent on social networking sites is now nearly five and a half hours per month.
- The active US-based social network audience grew roughly 29% from 115 million in February, 2009 to 149 million in February
Facebook: has more than 400+ million active users, with over 1.5 million business pages, with the average user spending more than 55 minutes per day on their site.
Twitter: has 24+ million unique visitors per month, with 50 million tweets per day, and 11 % or 33.8 million US online adults use this service.
LinkedIn: has 60+ million professional members worldwide, including all Fortune 500 companies.
And then, there’s YouTube:
The website http://www.website-monitoring.com/blog/2010/05/17/youtube-facts-and-figures-history-statistics/ lists the following data:
- YouTube exceeds 2 Billion views per day (Nearly double the prime time audience of all 3 major US broadcast networks combined).
- More videos uploaded to YouTube in 60 days, than all 3 major US broadcast networks created in 60 years.
- 24 hours of video are uploaded every minute.
- The average user spends 15 minutes per day on YouTube.
- 70% of the traffic comes from outside the US .
But, isn’t Social Networking a huge “time-suck?”
Yes, you will have to invest time and effort (but importantly – no money) to use these marketing tools effectively. Can you afford to ignore FRE on-line marketing tools when the user statistics are so staggering? Wouldn’t you rather be moving forward with these trends than standing by and wondering what all the “buzz” is about? Today’s business environment is highly competitive and to survive and thrive you need all the help you can get.
I will devote my next four blog posts to providing more depth about each of the "Big Three" Social Networks and YouTube, how they differ and how that will help you to use them to your advantage for your business. Until then, happy social networking!
As always, you're invited to comment on this post below (and any others).