Are You Linked In?

We’ve been talking quite a bit about Facebook lately, so let’s turn to another social media site that’s a great resource for business owners and professionals. LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com ) is a great place to network online with people who have the same goals as you … growing their business and expanding their careers.

Similar to Facebook in that you can provide status updates, post photos, share links to videos and websites … LinkedIn is geared toward businesses and professionals. As a pond pro, you understand the importance of networking with others in the landscape industry, and LinkedIn will allow you to do just that.

On Facebook, you’re probably most interested in engaging your customers and finding new customers at the same time. On LinkedIn, you’ll benefit from connecting with other landscape professionals and businesses in your area. You can ask to join any of the groups that interest you on LinkedIn. For example, the California Landscape Contractor’s Association (CLCA) has a group on LinkedIn. Join a group and their many discussions, and soon you’ll find hardscapers or irrigation specialists that can refer customers to you for pond installation. (I happen to belong to a couple marketing and PR groups on LinkedIn and have gotten some great information from others.)

LinkedIn can connect with other sites as well, allowing your LinkedIn profile to become a one-stop shop for pertinent information about you and your business.

As an example, surf on over to my LinkedIn profile at http://www.linkedin.com/in/jenniferzuri and you’ll see that I’ve connected my file sharing account on www.box.net to my LinkedIn profile. I upload my published articles to my Box account, and they’re automatically pulled into my LinkedIn page. This way, anyone visiting my LinkedIn profile can download any of the articles I’ve written and they don’t have to go to another website to do so. I’ve also connected this blog to my LinkedIn account too!

Another great benefit of LinkedIn is its recommendation feature. You can ask one of your LinkedIn connections to recommend work you’ve done. Personal referrals speak volumes to customers considering you for an installation project. In return, be willing to provide a recommendation for someone who’s done the same for you.

A recent social media survey showed that over 85% of employers today look for new hires on LinkedIn. Employers can post job openings on LinkedIn, while perusing potential candidates at the same time. You’ll want to make sure that your profile is always up-to-date with enough information to paint a picture of who you are and what you do. And if you’re a business owner yourself, make sure you utilize LinkedIn to look for quality employees.

Getting started with LinkedIn is easy. Simply log on to www.linkedin.com and follow the steps to set up your free account. The more information you include in your profile, the easier it will be for LinkedIn to recommend people you might want to connect with on the site. The more you get connected, the more you’ll get your name out there, and the more business you’ll be able to find in 2011 and beyond.

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