Using Social Networking to Build Professional Relationships – part 4

Here's the fourth and final part of the article that I wrote and was published in the January issue of CBA Retailers & Resources

Networking – Keep up with your customers so you
know what their immediate needs and hot buttons are. Stay in touch with
suppliers and keep informed of specials and provide them with feedback so they
know what is happening on the frontlines.

Groups – Join a
group.
You can join as many as 50 LinkedIn groups. Use these groups to
increase your knowledge through the expertise of others. When you join,
introduce yourself and your services. Consider starting a group around your
company’s core competencies and let your voice and expertise be heard. There
are some excellent groups dedicated to Christian professionals on LinkedIn that
offer business wisdom as well as encouraging fellowship. A few groups that you
might want to check out include: Christian Business Leaders Network, Christian
Professionals and Christian Retail 3.0 (full disclosure: I manage this group).

Questions and Answers
– This is a great area of the site that pulls on the brainpower of others
to help you identify solutions and gain insight. Be a part of the community by
diving into the Q&A area of LinkedIn. Offering insightful answers builds
your value and raises awareness of your expertise. You can also tap into the
expertise of others by posing your own questions.

Publish your LinkedIn
URL
– One of the easiest but often most overlooked tactic is posting your
LinkedIn URL. An example of a LinkedIn URL would be – www.linkedin.com/cmrainey. Make
sure you are publishing your LinkedIn URL on all your marketing collateral,
including business cards, email signature, email newsletters, web sites and
brochures, so prospects learn more about you and can easily connect.

LinkedIn Recommendations
Nothing builds trust and confidence like a recommendation and testimonies
from happy customers.  Offer
recommendations of others and then ask them to reciprocate.

LinkedIn eMail – Use
the email function within LinkedIn to notify your connections about business
news, store events or product releases within your LinkedIn network.

These are only a sampling of the tools that LinkedIn has to
offer so take some time to discover all that the website has to offer. Compare
LinkedIn with the others listed above and see which one works best for you. But,
whichever social networking site you choose just Let 2010 be the year that you
engage with social networks to build your professional relationships and
increase your business.

If you don’t know of anyone to connect with on LinkedIn and
need someone to start with hit me up at www.linkedin.com/cmrainey. Let’s
connect!

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