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I have to confess that linkedIn is my favourite social media "squeeze". It started back in 2003 which makes it one of the oldest of the major platforms It has now grown to having 225 million members by May 2013 and operates on over 200 countries and in 19 Languages. In the UK it has over 11 million members.
The key to understanding its positioning in the general social media space, is to understand that it is a professional networking site. The subject of Posts are therefore professional and business and not personal.
It is widely acknowledged to be the best site for small business development- especially those businesses in the B2B sector. B2C businesses may well find the other platforms more effective.
The main elements of LinkedIn
Business Development and LinkedIn
As noted above LinkedIn is regarded as the best platform for business development for small businesses ( for detailed evidence see the slide set above)- especially for B2B businesses.
However within this there are large disparities with a relatively few businesses being very successful and the majority not being successful at all!
Detailed research on why this disparity exists explains this difference by the depth and nature of engagement achieved on LinkedIn
Successful businesses treat LI as strategic and put significant resources into developing relationships on linkedIn and not merely adding connections. Numbers of connections are not indicators of success- but depth ofrelationships appers to be critical.
Stripped down to its basics LI is composed of three key entities:
3. Groups and Connections
The slide presentation to the right contains further information on how to complete and use these entities in some depth and the Resource Documents (below) contain numerous "how to" type articles and guides on how to fully exploit the features of LinkedIn.
There are three main reasons for joining LinkedIn and completing the necessary information:
Personal career development.
Recruiting the best people.
Developing new opportunities for your business.
Of these the third- business development - is the main reason for small businesses to actively participate in LinkedIn. This is the least well understood and is covered in most depth in the slides.
Developing relationships can be seen as a three stage process as follows:-
Stage1: Establishing a presence
Stage2: Identifying key prospects and leads
Stage3 :Relationship development (lead nurturing)
The current best ways to achieve this are outlined in the Slide Set (above) and the detail is covered in the Resource Papers ( to the left).
Resource Documents (Downloadable)