Global Connections via LinkedInLinkedIn members have the chance to connect with decision makers, conduct research, display their experience, solicit recommendations, establish themselves as experts in their field, and increase their reach. By seeking out the right connections and asking to be introduced to new connections you can benefit yourself and your business exponentially.

LinkedIn is kind of like an online Chamber of Commerce meeting that is more focused and targeted that you don’t have to get dressed up for. However, while you can create your profile in your PJ’s your LinkedIn profile and activity should be as buttoned up as they come. It’s a network of professionals who want to know you as a professional. They don’t care what your dog is doing or what your kid is doing. They care about what you can do for them to make their business or themselves better.

In order to expand your reach use the tools that LinkedIn provides such as profiles, company pages, and groups. This will give you the opportunity to virtually interact with the most people who may become valuable connections. Unlike other social networks, it’s important to be more choosy about who you connect with. You can help by:

Craft a Compelling Profile

Include a great picture of you and fill out the profile completely from headline to extracurricular activities — as long as they’re business related. Remember to use keywords in every part of the profile that you can. Choose bullets and lists over long sentences, allowing for plenty of white space. Include various forms of information such as links to presentations, PDF’s, videos and more.

Tip: Ask a photography student at a local college to snap your picture. They can make a little extra cash, and you can save money on expensive headshots.

Create a Company Page — If you have a business, create a company page on LinkedIn.com too. This will give you a chance to showcase what your business does without showcasing yourself. You can include Videos, images, text and more to describe and demonstrate what your business does. You can also use paid LinkedIn.com advertising to promote your business page.

Tip: Once you create your company page ask people with whom you’ve worked for recommendations through the “Request Recommendations” link located under Services.

Join Groups Strategically

Groups on LinkedIn offer an extraordinary opportunity to anyone to establish their expertise. Once people see you as an expert in your niche they’ll start asking to connect to you. Within Groups on LinkedIn, once you join, you can contribute to discussions, and start discussions. You can even create your own niche group on LinkedIn in order to go even farther with establishing your expertise.

Tip: Join relevant groups that consist of your target audience for marketing purposes but also include a couple of groups for educational purposes that consist of your competition and peers.

Expanding your network on LinkedIn.com is almost as simple as just asking to be introduced, but do make sure that your profile is perfected before you get too active. You can always update it as you go but make it as complete as possible in order to give the best impression on anyone who looks at it.

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