When it comes to promoting your nightclub or bar on social media, odds are that Facebook and Twitter are the first two social networks that come to mind. As well they should. However, let’s not forget about LinkedIn. With more than 250 million users, LinkedIn dominates the professional networking space.
I know what you’re thinking. LinkedIn, being more formal than Facebook and Twitter, isn’t the social network that’s going to have patrons lining up outside your door. Well, think again. Since participants on the social network are always putting their best professional foot forward, engaging this audience can help you build your brand, widen your network and gain valuable insight into the latest industry news and trends.
What you should keep in mind, however, is that LinkedIn is not the place to overtly promote your business. Rather, it’s a place to further establish your professional credibility, identify and vet qualified staff, and form mutually beneficial partnerships with professionals that are in similar and complementary positions to yours.
Given the tremendous value that LinkedIn provides its members, here are eight recommendations for making the most of your time on the network.
1. When creating or updating your profile, use a professional photo and straightforward language to describe your responsibilities and career highlights. Also, if your name is hard to pronounce, consider spelling it out phonetically in the summary section.
2. Personalize your requests to connect with other members. Resist the temptation to hit send on that automated “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn” message. Instead, write a brief, personal note reminding the connection how you know each other before asking them to join your network.
3. Don’t try to connect with strangers. Not only is this bad social media etiquette, it can get you on the radar of LinkedIn management – and not in a good way. If there’s a person you’d like to connect with and you have a mutual friend, ask your friend for an introduction.
4. Endorse your connections. When LinkedIn presents connections in your network and asks if they are proficient in a specific skill, simply click the Endorse button. Alternatively, you can scroll down to the skills and expertise section of a connection’s profile to endorse their skills. It takes less than a second to endorse a colleague and it will inspire them to reciprocate.
5. Add connections regularly. You’ll find the more you use LinkedIn, the more useful it becomes. They even make it easy to build your network by presenting profiles of people you’re likely to know.
6. Join and participate in the groups by initiating discussions, answering questions and sharing insight.
7. Okay, this one is worth repeating -- avoid promotional messages about your business. Remember, LinkedIn is all about forming authentic connections, helping colleagues network, and learning. Additionally, the site keeps an eye out for businesses looking to freely market themselves and many groups will remove a participant for promotional posts.
8. Connect your Twitter feed with your LinkedIn profile so your contacts will know what you’re up to. While you should be judicious in what tweets appear on LinkedIn, you’ll ideally want to share news about recent hires and promotions, events, and the insights you’ve shared on the LinkedIn groups.
Adding another social network to your to-do list may initially sound like a lot of work. Yet you’ll find that once your profile is complete, you can keep up with LinkedIn by dedicating just a few minutes a week to it.