Yeah, I'm on LinkedIn. But I have no idea why.

This is what almost everyone I talk to says about LinkedIn. 'Yeah, I'm on it. I accept all of the connection requests I get! But other than that, I don't remember the last time I logged in.'

This is NOT a good use of the Social Media Platform. I can tell you that with CERTAINTY.

LinkedIn is the world's largest professional network available. Your personal profile serves as a standing resume. Your COMPANY profile (yes, a company page is available on LinkedIn as well) reveals the people behind the Brand - it shows the HUMAN side of your business. It is a powerful tool to network with other professionals in your industry as well as turn cold calls into warm ones. It is a great platform to prospect, get recommendations from other leading professionals and learn about what others are saying both about your industry and your Brand

I'm going to share with you a little story about a client of mine. We will call him Eric. Eric's company provides a very specialized service that can assist individuals who want to quit smoking. Eric has been looking to promote his product to Human Resource and Wellness Directors as part of the Wellness Programs that a lot of companies participate in. When asked what companies he would like to target first he gave me some of the major manufacturing companies in our area. Luckily, we were sitting in front of his computer and had just finished our discussion on LinkedIn (it was very similar to the one mentioned above). I suggested he do a targeted search for one of the companies that he was interested in pursuing. We placed the company name in the 'search' field (note that on the left of the search bar you can choose whether you search for a company, person, job and other options). After finding the company within LinkedIn we can see who we know - or are connected with - that is associated with that company in some way. In this particular case Eric didn't have any direct connections with anyone associated with this company but he did know one individual that was connected to one of the employees. He clicked on the employees name and was given a couple of options (shown on the right hand side of the screen) - to either send an e-mail, get introduced through a common connection or save the profile for future use. He chose to get an introduction to this prospect through LinkedIn. Since requesting this introduction he has spoken to both this employee and their HR department, sent over his information and scheduled an initial meeting!

This is a great story for many reasons. It saved my client time and money on putting together information to drop off on their doorstep or in the mail (most likely to end up in the trash). It turned a cold call into a warm introduction from a friend. And all of this was FREE!

This is only ONE of the benefits you can utilize LinkedIn for. You can also use it for market research, prospecting, lead generation and job searches. You can see who has viewed your profile, make and receive recommendations and educate yourself on both your competition and your prospects.

If you would like more information on LinkedIn please don't hesitate to contact me at tami@brandyourselfconsulting.com. Or better yet, connect with me on LinkedIn! Brand Yourself Consulting does offer Social Media Coaching sessions if you are interested in some one-on-one time as well.