Like all of the other social media tools out there, LinkedIn is a way of creating and nurturing relationships. It’s a way of allowing you to be approachable, visible and helpful to those in your circle of influence.
With more than 135 million people and over 7 million companies, there is definitely potential. But like any other social site, you have to use it to gain potential.
As a photographer, its easy to write off LinkedIn as a business site – how can it help you reach consumers? Yet that’s the wrong approach.
Think of LinkedIn as your base or foundation, and build from there.
It’s a great way of having content about you and your business, make it findable in Google, and then build from there.
To start, you have to have a great profile and a great company page. Don’t just build them like you would a resume or a business summary. Instead focus in on keywords and how you will be findable in the search engines.
LinkedIn isn’t about “chit chat” and conversations. Instead it’s a place for research, learning, and finding out who your viable prospects are. It’s a place to do research and learn more about the people you would like to do business with.
You can use the advance search section to research in depth your potential customers. From people, groups and company pages, you can define specific skills and industries you are looking for and immediately come up with potentials. You can also begin by choosing viable groups within your industry and begin following trails to find people worth connecting to.
LinkedIn may be a place to connect with a client or two, yet its also a great place to connect with other business owners that could be potential power partners. A wedding photographer can connect with caterers and planners. A commercial photographer can connect with business owners and ad agencies. Don’t think one time clients. Instead, think about who you can connect with that will refer you again and again.
Always remember that what you are doing on LinkedIn is connecting. And how you are looking for people is in turn how people will be looking for you. The more substance you put into your profile and company page, the more results you will have.
Once your profile and page are complete, use LinkedIn as you network as well.
Check out LinkedIn’s Card Munch app.
Card Munch allows you to scrape business cards while you are out networking and immediately be connected up with their LinkedIn profile. It gives you a glimpse into who they are, who they are connected to, their credentials and so much more. It also allows you to store your contacts in Rolodex fashion, which means you can quickly stay organized wherever you go.
Use other apps like Slideshare to incorporate movement and depth to your profile. You can make a simple Powerpoint presentation to share information on your products and services. Or incorporate a more sophisticated presentation if you speak on a regular basis. With video and other tools in place, the sky is the limit for how sophisticated you can make your presentations.
Don’t forget to tell people what to do. In today’s society we’re all too busy to do things unless we have a little motivation. Invite current clients to list recommendations and testimonials on your page. Provide simple email requests, and even make suggestions about what to write. The less people have to think, the more action they will take.
This is also a great place to share your tips, ideas and posts. The great thing about social media is its easy to connect different pieces together. Use RSS to connect your blog posts up with your profile. As long as you post regularly, you’ll have fresh content going into your LinkedIn profile all the time. Need some ideas on what to share? Head over and check out LinkedIn’s Today – a news feature on LinkedIn that shares the top stories of the day.