Why you should be LinkedIn to Optimize Your Home Business

Online networks  are taking over the universe! Have you checked them out, only to wonder if creating a profile is worth the effort? Having a home business or working from home with your own home based business is the way to go forward in a depressed economic climate. 

If you work from home and have your own home business you you should have a peek at LinkedIn to see how you can enhance aspects of social networking to develop your business with business networking site, LinkedIn.

For those not in the know, LinkedIn is a long-established site that has only recently become the belle of the ball thanks to word of mouth and the massive rise in the usage of social media sites. Whether you see LinkedIn as a social network, a business network or even a contact management system, the site is simply based on the idea of extending your network of business contacts and is quietly becoming a national CV and Business Database.

Your LinkedIn profile is a virtual online connections database, so if you're not on LinkedIn, then you could be missing out on your chance to be found by potential clients.

It doesn't pretend to be MySpace or Facebook. The design is clean, but a little stark and it could use a little more personality in order to make it more engaging but has recently become a powerful tool for helping professionals secure their business connection – so can you afford not to check it out?

Fortunately for those not prone to boasting about their drunken exploits on social media sites (i.e. Facebook), LinkedIn eschews the usual social components like blogs, photos and lists of your favourite movies in favour of online CV's, critiques of your business and other information a potential employer, client or colleague will find useful.

Furthermore, because everyone generally connects with people they trust on LinkedIn, you can have greater faith in the integrity of someone you "meet" through a colleague – who could just turn out to be an important contact in your next career journey.

Become a social media expert
Becoming a social networking expert on LinkedIn and seeing tangible results takes time - there are no quick fixes!  But focusing your efforts effectively can make the process more gratifying and give better results more quickly.

Here are some tips utilising the power of LinkedIn to rapidly build your network:

Customize your URL
Change your LinkedIn URL so your name appears in the link. This will optimize your search engine results. To do this, go to your profile page, go to Accounts & Settings, and click Public Profile under Profile Settings

Plumb Outlook for contacts
You can build your network by adding frequent e-mail contacts and getting your LinkedIn contacts close to your ideal customer profile.

Just download the Outlook Toolbar from the Tools section at the bottom of LinkedIn's site. When you click on the LinkedIn icon, the site's home page opens in Outlook. You can also add contacts from AOL, Gmail, and Yahoo address books.

Customise the standard invitation to connect to peers
Customize it so it is reflects your personality or online brand. Store the text in a file and copy/paste it. Keep different text for different types of people. Keep improving it.

Superconnectors
Connect with some "Superconnectors" (people who are connected to lots of other people) - especially ones in your industry sector.
 
Reconnect
Find current (and ex) colleagues and clients and connect with them. When a colleague or client connects, have a look at their network and see who else they are connected with that you know and connect with them too!

Testify
Write testimonials for people you Like, Trust and Respect. Penning a thoughtful testimony will reflect well on you and increase your visibility. You're also likely to receive one in return.
 
Complete Your Profile
Complete your details fully - take the time to write your profile so that it serves as an on-line CV and contains the key activities and roles in your career.
 
Some of you might wonder why you should join yet another networking group, when there are a ton of online networks already available? Well, my take is that it's all about preference, choice, and what tools you're comfortable with. In other words, there's no silver bullet.

So whether you're actively or passively looking for your next business development process, don't forget to utilise the power and accessibility of social media to research and nurture relationships with the people you want to connect to!

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