As we enter the final weeks of 2011, it’s time to think about how to position yourself to leverage new business opportunities in the New Year.
Whether you’re B2C or B2B, the first few weeks of the year hold tremendous potential for your organization: with the holidays over and the kids back in school, people are ready to get down to business. And a lot of them will be turning to LinkedIn for the vendors and partners they need to get things moving.
So to make sure you’re well-positioned to be the first name that comes up when those opportunities arise, I suggest you spend some quality time with a few of the less-obvious capabilities of the social network that’s all business, all the time.
1. Completing your Skills profile
The Skills section of your Profile is a treasure trove of search keyword placement opportunities. Many, many people use LinkedIn as a virtual Rolodex, and when they go searching for what they need, the contents of your Skills field can help direct those searches straight to you.
2. Searching for your keywords in Answers
LinkedIn Answers continues to be one of the network’s best-kept secrets, and that’s good news for you. Once a week, do a search to find out who’s asking about topics related to your business, and when you find one, offer your expertise freely.
You’ll not only establish yourself as a subject matter expert to the asker and other responders; you’ll also build some trust and goodwill. (Just remember that this is a place to help others, not to market your business, so go easy on the promotional lingo.)
3. Posting updates on your Company page
While many people think of LinkedIn as static (post your profile and wait for something to happen), it’s actually a vibrant hub of conversation, and just recently, LinkedIn enabled status updates on Company Pages. So, just like you post updates on your company’s Facebook Page, you can also post on LinkedIn under your company name:
It requires a bit of a setup (less than 2 minutes), and the updates work just like regular LinkedIn updates. Great way to engage your LinkedIn audience!
4. Adding volunteer work to your Profile
When it comes to networking, sometimes the work you don’t get paid for is just as valuable as what you do for paying customers. LinkedIn acknowledged this fact a couple of months ago by adding a Volunteer field to personal profiles. Not only will you demonstrate your community-mindedness to anyone who sees your Profile, but you just might discover that you share common interests with a few of the VIPs on your prospecting list.
5. Paying attention to your Update emails
You know the emails I’m talking about, right? The ones announcing that Bob Smith updated his Experience, Susie Jones added new Skills, etc. Pay attention to these emails and you just might stumble upon a new opportunity.
True story: Once I received a LinkedIn Update that showed a freelancing friend of mine had moved into a full-time position. I dashed off a message (through LinkedIn) congratulating her on the new gig, and she quickly responded asking me if I’d be interested in adopting some of her freelance clients. Right place, right time—boom.
So, how are you using LinkedIn to position yourself for new opportunities in the New Year? Tell us about it in the comments—we’d love to hear from you!