4 Reasons to Use LinkedIn

I have a confession to make.

Up until six months ago, I considered LinkedIn to be somewhere to store my resume and social networks like Facebook as a great place to share pictures with friends and family. Twitter and Google+ weren’t even on my radar, and the only blogging I did was for personal reasons.

Today you can find me on  Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and I’m learning my way around on Google+.  I’m blogging on a mostly regular basis, participating in groups on both LinkedIn and Facebook, and I’ve dipped my toe in the Google+ Community arena. My appreciation for the synergies between search engine optimization and social media marketing has skyrocketed.

Why the change of heart you ask?

"Blog Traffic Graph"As they say, seeing is believing.  As I began to actively participate in the various networks some interesting things started to happen.

The number of visits to my website and blog went from non-existent to steady and social shares were happening.  With visits originating from states and countries that I’ve never lived in and 50% coming from a social network, there was no more denying the reality.  Promoting content through social media does indeed drive traffic.

What was even more interesting was what started happening in the rest of my world.  After lurking in a few groups and trying to figure out what they were all about, someone started a discussion about what makes someone a social media expert.  As a social media newbie, I was hesitant about posting a comment but decided to give it a try.  That one little comment led to a connection with a social media marketer in Texas.

"Multiracial Hands Making a Circle" Collaborating through Social MediaTwitter and Facebook have led me to connections from Canada to California.  My inbox has exploded with resources on everything from what’s the best way to use LinkedIn to tips on time management and just about everything in between.  It seems like every time I have a question, one or more of my new connections is right there with an answer.

Collaborating phone calls about what works and what doesn’t when it comes to promoting a business, using social media, search engine optimization are now a weekly occurrence. Now instead of learning at a snails pace and trying to sort through thousands of Google search results to find an answer, the resources and tips are literally hand delivered.

What’s really interesting about this is that many people would look at these exchanges as threatening.  We all have businesses that provide similar services and we’re sharing “trade secrets” that might make one of us more successful.  GASP!

As it turns out, I’m not the only believer in the notion that there’s more than enough business to go around and the more we share the more we learn.  The more information we withhold the less we grow.

Wait a minute, isn’t this post supposed to why you should use LinkedIn (and Twitter, Facebook, Google+) to promote your business?

Yep, it is.

4 Reasons to Use LinkedIn

(and every other social network that makes sense for your business)
  1. Share your knowledge – give until it hurts and then give some more. You’ll find the more you give the more you’ll receive and before you know it, giving away stuff for free is fun and rewarding (and people begin to think of you as a subject matter expert).
  2. Ask for help  – the world is full of generous, knowledgeable people who are more than willing to help (they love reason number 1).  There’s no need to reinvent the wheel or struggle to find an answer.
  3. Participate – Find groups that you can add value to and that you can also learn from.  Engage with your contacts and exchange valuable information (without an expectation of getting something in return).  Get to know people in your network and take an interest in what they do. You’ll be amazed at what you can learn that will help you with your business.
  4. Promote your connections – Share their great updates, comment on their posts, and connect them with others that could benefit from the the relationship. Not only will your fans and followers appreciate the variety of information, your connections will reciprocate.

Being social is about so much more than fans and followers, tweets and posts.  Yes it’s about marketing and promoting your business but it’s also about building relationships and making connections with people you may have never met otherwise.

Networking and great relationships lead to qualified leads, which is a sure fire way to grow your business and build your brand.

Has this prompted you to think about social media marketing in a different way?