Small Business Basics | Are You LinkedIn or Out?

During the past eighteen months, the popularity of social media has exploded. Hundreds of millions of consumers have begun ‘liking’ Facebook, tweeting on Twitter and we’re all becoming ‘LinkedIn’ to the new knowledge economy. Amongst my colleagues at Cisco we’ve seen a noticeable change and we’ve all begun testing new apps, sites and blogs; Twitter has seen the competitive streak in us all come out as we try and up our followers!

With all the recent talk of Twitter and Facebook, it’s easy to forget the oldest, and one of the most useful social media tools that has quietly been arming itself for the challenge ahead. LinkedIn was founded in 2003 and now has in excess of 50 million active users. Users spread across a range of demographics and in the last twelve months, it’s become an invaluable tool for savvy small businesses looking to market themselves to a wider audience. In fact, the number of ways LinkedIn can be used is quite varied.

We recently asked our followers on Twitter how they use LinkedIn and we got some interesting responses. Varying from a social network for ‘adults’, networking tool, job board and several stated as a discussion forum, it would appear that LinkedIn is just about whatever you want it to be.

“How does this relate to me and my business?” you might ask. Well, LinkedIn is a huge resource for small businesses and enables you to connect with organisations outside your normal circles. Where else can you directly message potential clients, find new staff and have a peer network of several million, all in one place? If you’re not on LinkedIn, this should give you plenty of reason to get involved and create a presence for your business on the site.

In my next post, I’ll explain how to get the most from LinkedIn, and show you that while the Internet is constantly changing, one thing remains true;“it’s not what you know, it’s who you know”.



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