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How LinkedIn Can Help Entrepreneurs

written by: •edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 7/3/2013

LinkedIn can be a great way to increase your visibility and make lasting connections with others for your entrepreneurial ventures. If you are going out on your own, you will definitely want to take advantage of LinkedIn's most valuable features. Using LinkedIn to promote your business isn't hard!

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    picture LinkedIn is the most popular business social networking website, featuring many tools to connect, find jobs, communicate, and network with others. Not only can you find jobs through LinkedIn contacts, but you can use LinkedIn to promote your business. Every entrepreneur should spend some time creating and updating a LinkedIn profile. This way, prospective clients and customers can see who you and your business are before purchasing services or goods.

    LinkedIn is a great way to help your website lift in the Google PageRanks. Before performing outsourcing work for a company, you can check out the different things that company has done - and even make connections with prospective clients.

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    Tip One: Complete Your Profile

    First tip: fill out your profile completely. Make sure you list any current work and past work. List your education and any affiliated websites. Fill out your summary completely. Be sure to discuss your business, your products or services, and your ideal client or customer. Even with this information, your profile will read as incomplete. You must finally also work on getting recommendations from former clients, colleagues, or professors. This will add credibility to your profile and to your business.

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    Tip Two: Connect!

    Once you have your profile up and running, connect with everyone you know who is using LinkedIn. You can search for people individually, but a handy way to connect is by using one of the tools for uploading your contacts from Outlook or your webmail programs. It's not enough to just add people as connections on LinkedIn. You should also plan to communicate with your connections. A simple "How are things?" can help you when you do ask for a recommendation.

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    Tip Three: Groups!

    Don't be afraid to join groups that are relevant to your market. For example, a writer would join writing groups - and groups related to the topics written about. (For example, I belong to project management groups as well as writing groups.) Also, don't forget to join groups located in your own area. A well-attended mixer can be a great place to market your latest product or service. You must participate in the groups though. By responding to and creating helpful discussions, you can increase your visibility and the level of respect others hold for you.

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    Tip Four: Answer Questions!

    To help visibility on LinkedIn, and to establish yourself as an expert in your area, take advantage of LinkedIn's answers. You can answer different questions on a variety of subjects from the simple to the complex. By answering questions, you can make new connections, and receive ratings on the quality of your answers. You can also post questions on this forum in order to receive helpful answers.

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    Tip Five: Give Recommendations

    In addition to asking for recommendations, recommend others. It is good to give before you ask to receive. It also shows that you work well with others - an outstanding quality for entrepreneurs. When you take time to recommend others, you are also taking time to demonstrate that you are an individual who can see good qualities in other people. One caveat to this: only recommend individuals you would recommend in real life. That means, only recommend those who you are in a position to recommend.

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    Tip Six: Research Your Clients

    Finally, one of the greatest benefits of LinkedIn is that it puts clients and companies at the palm of your hand. Perform a preliminary search on anyone you might do business with. You can search by industry. For example, a copywriter may wish to search for graphic designers in her area to team up with for projects. You can also search by company. If you want to land a particular company as a client, you can see who works there. You'd be surprised, sometimes you are only a few degrees away from a much-coveted client. Don't be afraid to make the connection.