Facebook seems like the star of the social networking show these days, doesn't it? It's where people connect and keep in touch with friends and family all over the world, and from a business perspective there's no doubt that it can be a great place to build relationships and gain contacts.
With all of the press surrounding Facebook though, it can be easy to forget that another network out there offers its own advantages: LinkedIn.
Where Facebook keeps people connected with a myriad of social applications, LinkedIn is strictly business, and therein lies the advantage.
LinkedIn may not be as "fun" or "cool" as Facebook, but it isn't meant to be. Instead, LinkedIn contacts are people in the professional world. They are potential customers, clients and employers, all cataloged together in one place, meaning that while Facebook may be the networking hotshot for B2C relationships, Linked in is where B2B thrives, and the research proves it.
According to a study performed by Hubspot, you can actually generate 277% more leads via LinkedIn connections than you can with either Facebook or Twitter.
So how do you use LinkedIn to build connections?
Well, the first and most important step is to complete your profile. Make sure your resume is complete, and reach out to former employers and clients to obtain recommendations.
After those details are taken care of, look into LinkedIn's many available apps. You can upload presentations, automatically share your blog feed, and even display your creative portfolio. The more time and effort you are willing to put in to your profile, the more chances you will have to connect with other professionals who may be interested in your skills and services.
Then, get to work finding all of your connections. These could be former coworkers or employers, people you've connected with at seminars and workshops, or even friend-of-a-friend type relationships. It's important to investigate every available avenue. The larger your network, the more potential viewers you have to market both your skills and your business.
The bottom line is that if you want to succeed in online marketing, you have to fully utilize every tool at your disposal, so while you're keeping up with your Facebook status updates and posting your tweets, don't forget that there's a network out there strictly designed for those all-important professional connections.
Stone Reuning is president and founder of SEO Advantage, Inc., an online marketing firm and website optimization company that helps businesses turn their websites into powerful lead and revenue generation tools.
Beginning with a focus on search engine optimization in 1999, SEO Advantage now brings a full multi-disciplinary approach to each client website. Clients enjoy dominance on Google, Yahoo and Bing through a suite of unique pay-for-performance search engine optimization and online marketing services. Experts in SEO, social media optimization, online reputation management, and website conversions work hand-in-hand with small business owners and client marketing departments providing complete copywriting and creative web design support.
You'll find SEO Advantage referenced in books such as Writing Web-Based Advertising Copy to Get the Sale and the BusinessWeek bestseller The New Rules of Marketing & PR, as well as popular ebooks like The Small Business Blogging Blueprint.
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