Friday, November 7

Hello, my name is Katie, and I am…Connected!

Last week I attended a LinkedIn Event for NH High Tech Council, which was co-hosted by Lani Voivod of Epiphanies Inc. and my boss, Kevin Skarritt, who is owner of Acorn Creative.

While working for Acorn Creative I have been submerged in the new frontiers of social media. I personally have an active accounts with LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Ma.gnolia, etc. Okay, so let's say you have accounts with all of these networks, too… You are probably asking yourself…"What do I do now?!" The answer is: CONNECT!

Social media networks, like LinkedIn, are all about connecting with people, and building professional relationships. BUT it doesn't happen overnight – it takes time, patience, and a well-thought out profile. Here are some of the key talking points from last weeks's event that might help you become better connected:

1. Etiquette is first and foremost. Online Etiquette is probably one of the most important. Remember, LinkedIn is a place for professional business people to connect – this is not Facebook or Myspace. Think about this analogy used in the presentation, you should treat LinkedIn like it was a "business cocktail party". You wouldn't meet someone at a cocktail party and instantly hard sell them on your new services. You would find common ground that you could both share stories and ideas about. In fact you shouldn't sell to people at all on LinkedIn, which leads me to the next talking point.

2. LinkedIn is not a place for you to start selling. If you try to sell your products or services, you will very likely get "red flagged". People may think it you are spamming them if you send messages to them selling your services on LinkedIn and then you can get red-flagged – the kiss of death. Three red flags and your account is terminated. Do not sell! End of story.

3. Connect, Connect, Connect! Build relationships! In turn, you will build your report and credibility in your industry, which will create more leads and visibility on the web.

4. How do you start the daunting task of creating your profile? Mirror your resume when you start to create your profile. There are several benefits to do this. First, it will help your sanity because it can be overwhelming. Second, if you use your resume as guidelines, you can expand on that as you build your profile. Third, by including past companies, education, activities, etc. you will increase your connectability. In turn, you will be increasing the odds that more people will see your profile.

5. Include links and key words in your profile. This will increase your search engine results. Be sure to include links in your "Description" to your web site, blog, company, etc.

6. LinkedIn allows you to post or answer questions from other members. So, take 5 or 10 minutes to answer a question post related to your industry. This will lead to more visibility and you will appear to be an expert in your field (even though you know you already are an expert ;)

There are so many benefits to using LinkedIn to empower yourself and your business. Hopefully, these ideas will give you a leg up on how to utilize this powerful tool.

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