Professional Business Networking on LinkedIn

While similar to Twitter and Facebook in terms of how it works and free access to the social network platform, LinkedIn is a far more formal and professional online hub.

If  Twitter is an open reception, Facebook a neighborhood block party, then LinkedIn would be best described as a business conference room meeting.  The expectation is that participants interact in a professional, less chit-chatty way.

Founded in 2002, LinkedIn offers many unique tools and options not found on other social media sites that make it stand out from the rest. With more than 200 million users, LinkedIn has helped build professional connections and rapport, connect job seekers with hiring organizations, and through its Groups functionality serves as a sort of online association for professionals with similar interests.

The primary way that LinkedIn can help you is by giving your organization exposure to its millions of users.  In addition, LinkedIn offers a plethora of options that will help raise awareness of your organization, such as profiles with custom pages, specific industry-related groups, QandA forums, and the ability to link back to your website and other social networking sites.

LinkedIn provides analytics on who has viewed your profile and based on your current connections will recommend additional connections.  LinkedIn offers advertising that allows you to target your audience and control budget costs through duration of ad runs and a defined daily budget.

LinkedIn allows connections to go further than a simple like and share – it provides a customer recommendation feature that allows people to endorse your products and services.

A simple but often overlooked benefit of LinkedIn is that all contact information is maintained by individual users, that is if their phone number or address changes they will update LinkedIn to reflect those changes which means that contact information on LinkedIn is far more up-to-date than a contact list that you would maintain on your own.