Growing your business with social media tools — there is no
shortage of tips and suggestions on how to do it.
I use Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Plurk, Delicious, and a
host of others. But the one that I find myself using the most, right now, is
LinkedIn. The main reason is that I find mostly other business people on it.
I’ve been using LinkedIn for a few years now and while I know they’ve had
challenges (and there are dissatisfied people defecting), I still like it.
So, this post about LinkedIn is to explain my main use to
manage my own contact database and connect with prospects. I do this through the
advanced search option, finding OpenLink Network, and InMail.
Advanced Search. Granted, my life revolves around doing
online research for clients, so I use the Advanced Search feature at just about
every site I use (where it exists) and LinkedIn is no exception. Plus a whole lot
of other techniques for uncovering information for myself and clients.
OpenLink Network. You can search for people who are openlink
networkers specifically. It is a little checkbox with a colorful circle beside it
on the Advanced Search page. I put in a keyword or term and then click that box
– that gives me the people who are open to being contacted without cost or introductions.
InMail – is one of my favorite options. For those times when
you don’t want to ask your network for an introduction, you can go direct. LinkedIn
is smart enough not to give you the name, but for $10, you can send the message
through their system and the receiver can opt to accept it and read it, or not.
You risk your $10, of course, but to reach the right person with a short message
– can’t be beat. CAUTION: You have to use
it wisely and with courtesy. There are tips that individuals can share to say what
they are willing to consider from an InMail.
As a quick aside, I said “right now” above as if I switch
between these different social media outlets a lot. I don’t. I spent the time
to figure out which one would work for me and have worked that decision and
plan into my networking life. I will say that I’ve been slowly building up
Facebook – one as a backup to LinkedIn (not that I expect them to crash or
anything). But for the foreseeable future, I’m a heavy LinkedIn user and will remain
Feel free to share your tips and ideas here, or at my personal blog at Q4 Sales. Thanks!