There is so much chatter about social media and especially about Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. However, I have found the most powerful and easy-to-use social media outlet is LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is designed as a business-to-business tool. It is intuitive and allows me to talk directly to others who are my ideal target market or could be a strategic partner for me. As with all media outlets, you want to be in the right place.
Assuming that LinkedIn is the right place, you need to complete your profile and make sure you keep it current. You must include a photograph. I will never link to anyone who does not have a photograph.
Once you have established an account, this is where the magic starts. You can create or join groups that are complementary to what you do or to people in whom you might be interested.
It's a fabulous place to post an article you have written or an article that you read and that might be of interest to your group. You can also track who is looking at your LinkedIn profile. I check this daily, and if I am interested in the person, I send them a personalized invite to connect with me. I explain why I would like to connect with them and, of course, include in the note what the benefits their connection with me offers. I am disciplined about responding within one day to notes that I receive. I also offer to introduce some of my connections to others. LinkedIn is about helping your connections.
Since LinkedIn is all about business, don't post personal information on this outlet. It's critical to make sure you keep all correspondence professional. Be careful to only post once per day. Otherwise, your connections will get "connection fatigue." Never ask someone you don't know well to give you a testimonial. It is wise never to be negative or criticize a group or a person via Linkedin.
These are the basics of LinkedIn. There are a number of "advanced" features. However, you don't have to be a LinkedIn geek to use this powerful tool. Simply be disciplined about it and enjoy the tool. Take 10 minutes every day to discover who is there and what you might be able to do together.
Kathy McShane is managing director of Ladies Who Launch, Connecticut. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or ladieswholaunch.com.outhwestct.