Since more than 100 million people are on LinkedIn, chances are, you’re one of them. But are you using it as much as you should be, or in the right ways? Lisa Barone, co-founder of Outspoken Media, contributed a column to Small Business Trends in which she suggested six ways SMBs can benefit from LinkedIn:
Grow your network. While this should be obvious considering everyone on the network is there to connect for business reasons, many people aren’t doing enough of it. What about using LinkedIn to find vendors or industry peers you might partner with?
Do market research. LinkedIn Q&As let you poll your network about anything you want to ask. Why not take advantage of this free audience instead of spending money conducting focus groups or surveying customers?
Find new hires. You can search for people based on key words, years of experience, previous employers and more. From there you can narrow your results by location.
Keep tabs on competitors. Keep an eye on who they’re connecting with, who they’re leaving recommendations for and the projects they mention in updates.
Spot industry trends. You can use the Skills & Expertise search function to look for topics and see how quickly they’re growing compared to related fields, the average age of someone in that field and how large it is.
Build your online reviews. LinkedIn pages rank well so you want as many positive reviews there as possible. Ask customers, vendors, partners, and previous employers.
Read more at Small Business Trends.