The Network For Grown-Ups
LinkedIn lets you maintain a list of your professional contacts. The people in the list are called connections and it is used primarily as a recruiting business tool to find employees, employers, check professional history’s and qualifications. This list of connections can then be used in a number of ways.
• Worldwide LinkedIn has over 70 million members in over 200 countries 
• LinkedIn is the largest networking site for professionals in Australia and New Zealand .
• Australian LinkedIn growth was in double digits over 2009 
• Australia is one of LinkedIn’s top performing countries, particularly when viewed as a
factor of professionals per capita 
We took some time this week to interview Dave Johnson from “Call Dave…”. Dave is a hotshot recruiter in Sydney who strongly endorses LinkedIn for small businesses – here’s what he had to say.
How would you explain what LinkedIn is briefly?
LinkedIn is Facebook for professionals – It is a networking tool that allows you to connect with like-minded professionals. If you use it right it can be very powerful for your business. There are many benefits for small businesses.
• LinkedIn can give you insights into how other people in your industry are doing business.
• By interacting with other businesses about their work you can help improve the way your business works. You can learn from their successes and their mistakes. It is also a great place for you to share your experiences so other people can benefit from your expertise.
• You can extend your brand and establish yourself as a leading professional in the industry.
Why is LinkedIn important to small businesses?
No matter what industry you are in there are similar businesses that have formed groups – people in these groups are from all over the world. To make the most of LinkedIn you need to join these groups and then introduce yourself and your business. For example, “I’m Dave, I’m a recruiter with a business in Sydney. Here in the group you can talk about issues specific to your business or it could be as general as; how can I retain my staff? How do I make them happy? How do I make sure they’re engaged? Or it could be specific to our shared industry.” Johnson says.
The point is that there are networks that you can join up to for free that can really help you grow your business. There is no maintenance once you have set up your profile. You don’t need to constantly update your profile. If you want to engage with the conversation you can. If you are too busy this week it doesn’t matter the group will still be there and you can receive email updates on what’s happening within the group. “In my opinion no one in small business can afford not to be on LinkedIn – it is a really powerful tool.” Johnson says.
How does LinkedIn help you?
“For me LinkedIn has opened up new areas. I contact people who have expertise in areas/industries that I’m not familiar with and I get their advice and opinions. It is a very valuable resource to be able to connect with a professional who can immediately send me feedback on my ideas or questions.
What are a few tips for businesses looking to join LinkedIn?
Aside from participating in group networks, LinkedIn is a great way of connecting with professionals that you usually wouldn’t have any chance of reaching. Get involved as soon as possible because if you don’t you are missing out. LinkedIn is growing rapidly in Australia and you can take advantage of this by making your company stand out.
“I’ve found social media is largely about the honor system. People trust in the professional community and the system in the most part works. I can give recommendations to people and people who trust me will return the favor. You should respect your network and be genuine in your actions. Other businesses and people will recognize this and your business will gain a valuable online reputation.
A big thanks to Dave Johnson from “Call Dave..” – for more information on all things recruiting email Dave at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out his LinkedIn profile here.
Check out the very useful videos below. They cover the basics and also get into some more advanced ways of using LinkedIn. LinkedIn should be seen as another way to generate traffic for your website. If your company profile glows with good reports and professional experience people will try to find more information about you and the first place they will look is your website! Tomorrow brings Social Media Week to end! We will show you how to combine your social media efforts across all platforms to send a consistent and focused message!