When it debuted, LinkedIn was known strictly as a venue for job-seekers to connect with potential employers.
Although the site is still used for this purpose, there are other types of people you should be connecting with:
It is extremely important to stay on top of everything and everyone in your industry. LinkedIn is an excellent resource to keep track of who’s who and who’s where.
If you work for a smaller technology company, don’t be afraid to reach out to key players in the larger tech world. Seeing what they’re up to, in an appropriate business setting, is beneficial in many ways.
Using social media to pitch journalists is not a new concept, but the use of LinkedIn has been underused. LinkedIn can be used to keep track of journalists’ whereabouts, titles, and interests. It might not be the best avenue to pitch through, because most people don’t visit the site as regularly as they do their Twitter account or email inbox.
LinkedIn can be best used to “court” relationships in the media. If the person is a top contact at the outlet in which you hope to obtain coverage, it can be helpful to reach out to them and connect. If they accept (which they probably will), you have an inside look at their new positions, contacts, and updates.
Some professionals create their own website to attach to their emails so contacts can learn more about them and feel more connected. If you don’t feel comfortable enough to do so on your own, there are several website design companies that you can contact.
LinkedIn is a great way to stay connected with anyone that you meet through business. Whether with a colleague, journalist, competitor, or friend, LinkedIn is a professional atmosphere in which it is appropriate to connect.
If someone on your flight gives you his or her business card in hopes of working with you, it’s not likely you would send that person a friend request via Facebook. LinkedIn is known as a professional site, making it appropriate to connect with others.
If you work for a PR agency, you might use LinkedIn to keep up with prospective clients, or clients could be using the site to research consultants. If so, it will be important for them to find you and be impressed with your company’s page.
[FREE DOWNLOAD: Timeless secrets for rocket-powered writing]
If you have made connections with leading professionals, media contacts, and business resources, it can only help to build your reputation and professionalism on LinkedIn. You can also use the site to seek out entrepreneurs or smaller businesses that might need your services.
The key to LinkedIn is not to fear using it. As long as you keep your tone professional, reaching out to others in your field will help you build your circle, credibility, contact list, and reputation. As a PR professional, not using this valuable resource to keep you in the know and build relationships is hurting your potential progress.
The good news is you can start using it right now.