What is LinkedIn?

LinkedIn is a business-related social networking site. Launched in 2003, it is mainly used for professional networking. In November 2011, LinkedIn reported it had over 135 million registered users in more than 200 countries.

A basic company page is free of charge as a benefit of your LinkedIn Membership. LinkedIn also offers premium (paid-for) company pages known as Custom Company Profiles that offer you additional features, including adding videos, interactive polls and several customisation options for recruiting.

7 LinkedIn Stats

  • 61% use LinkedIn as their primary professional networking site.

  • 81% of LinkedIn users belong to at least one group.

  • 42% of users update their LinkedIn profile information regularly.

  • 82% are aware there are ads on LinkedIn.

  • 60% of users have clicked on an ad.

  • 90% of users find the site to be useful.

  • 61% do not pay for a premium LinkedIn account.

7 LinkedIn Tips

  • Acquire new customers through online recommendations and word-of-mouth - Satisfied customers are the best source of new customers. Increase your word-of-mouth referrals by asking your happy clients to write you a recommendation, which will be published on your LinkedIn profile and broadcast to their entire LinkedIn network.

  • Keep in touch with people who care most about your business - Sites like LinkedIn help keep your business alive in the minds of the people who care most about your business. LinkedIn is effective for two reasons: the business intent of LinkedIn users and fewer status updates, which means your business stays top of mind. Tip: You can also increase the impact of your status updates by syncing your LinkedIn and Twitter accounts.

  • Build your industry network (online and in person) - Search LinkedIn’s Groups Directory to find industry associations and networks to take part in. For example, if you’re in the event planning or wedding industry, there are over 530 groups. In addition, LinkedIn also publicizes popular events in your industry by calling out local events that your connections are attending. Imagine being able to find industry events that your prospective clients are attending.

  • Keep your friends close and your competition closer - Over 150,000 companies have a company profile on LinkedIn, the “public profile” for companies. These pages surface key stats on companies; recent hires as well as movers and shakers. Not only do company profiles give you unique insight into your competition, they also give you an opportunity to stumble upon potential hires by browsing through company pages.

  • Get answers to tough business questions with a little help from your real friends - Small business owners deal with challenging questions on a slew of topics each day. LinkedIn Answers and Groups let you find answers to those vexing questions quickly by tapping into the wisdom of your network.

  • Network with peers in your industry for repeat business referrals - LinkedIn Groups is a powerful medium to find peers in your respective industries to network with and find complimentary businesses to share referrals with. For example, mortgage brokers can find real estate agents to partner with on relevant groups, and as most small businesses know, these partners are your best source of referrals that can turn into repeat business. With over 2,000 groups dedicated to small business topics, you’re sure to find a relevant group to network.

  • Convince potential customers of your expertise by sharing unique blog content - Small businesses smart enough to create unique content on their expertise (either with a blog or Twitter account) should link to it from their LinkedIn profiles. Or take it one step further by promoting featured blog content to LinkedIn members on the site (e.g., with small text ads). You can specify exactly who will see your ads—executives or VPs—and include a link to your profile so they know who’s behind this content.