Have you ever tried to open a tin with a teaspoon? Well I have, and I should tell you that I pulled it off although it was a difficult, cumbersome and time-consuming process! But let’s face it, the main purpose of the spoon is to eat food and is not really meant for opening tins! In the same way, LinkedIn was actually designed to be a professional networking platform and though is often used as a tool for recruiting new talent, it would be safe to say that it is most efficient performing what it was designed for.
So, what exactly does one do with a professional networking site?
1. You could use it to connect with potential buyers/ clients: I love this about LinkedIn and it is one of the things I do most on this platform. I connect with people that are likely to have a use for my services. I offer value and showcase my expertise. I build a rapport. Usually, that is enough for people who need my services to reach out to me
2. You could use it to find new suppliers: We once had a client whose biggest challenge was finding new suppliers for their rare product ambergris. Using LinkedIn was one of the steps in finding new suppliers. Amazingly, prior to his usage, the ambergris business was conducted offline, where pretty much everyone in the industry knew everyone. Taking it online opened it up to people who earlier faced entry barriers or simply didn’t know whom to approach when they had the wares to sell
3. You could find investors: Money is the fuel that runs a business. When you hit a point when you need to grow the business, but don’t have the moolah for it, LinkedIn can be a great tool to have in your kitty. However, investors don’t go around giving money to just anyone, right? So how do you get them to invest in you? By consistently showcasing your capabilities, building trust, strengthening your reputation. Then, when you connect with the investors offline, there is something you have to build a conversation on
4. You could use it to connect with potential employers, not necessarily just recruiters but potential bosses too. An extension to that is also, connecting with potential employees. I have found some of my team members via LinkedIn, and no, I do not run paid ads for it. I simply use it to spread the word that I am looking and I check out some profiles using keywords. [Bonus take away for you: If you are looking for a job, make sure you are using the right keywords in your headline.]
5. And last but not the least, you could use it for just about every other function of your business. If any function of your business can use networks as an advantage, think LinkedIn! Just remember, if you won’t do it in a professional setting, you should not do it on LinkedIn
If you wish to know how social media (not just LinkedIn) can be used for business, grab a copy of my book ‘Profit with Social Media’