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Using LinkedIn to grow your business


The power of Linkedin continues to grow.

If you haven't created a Linkedin account yet I suggest that you do. It is the Facebook for business users (not that Facebook can't be used for business purposes). Linkedin boast a growing community of over 26 million business professionals. This is a powerful and well educated network as their users have an average household income of $109,000 per year.

In the past couple of weeks linkedin.com has released a number of new features that greatly increase its value to business users.

Some of the new features include:

  • Applications
  • Polls
  • Events
  • DirectAds

Applications

The recently launched applications feature show cases how linkedin has teamed up with some of the Internet's premier companies to enable users to improve collaboration, present their work, and gain insights into their interests/industry as well as monitor what people are saying about them.


The current list of applications includes:
Amazon reading list  this a fun and practical application, that allows you to keep on top of what other people in your network and industry are reading, as well as allows you to share with others what you are reading.

Huddle Workspaces  this application is a free service that allows you to collaborate with any of your connections privately and securely

Box.net  this application helps share, exchange and collaborate on documents.

Slideshare – this application allows you to share your presentations with your colleagues and connections on LinkedIn. With the SlideShare application, you can view the presentations of all your connections, find experts for certain industries and topics.

Blog Link  I find this to be a very useful application as it allows you to connect your blog to your LinkedIn profile. Blog Link automatically pulls in the latest blog posts from around your network so you can stay up-to-date on the latest posts from your trusted connections and it shares your blog with your connections.

Company Buzz  I really like this application, as it help you monitor the reputation of your firm, brand, products of personal name by reporting back when and where you have been mentioned in blogs and on twitter.

My Travel by TripIt if you travel a lot and want do more (or meet more people) while traveling this application might be very useful for you. It will allow you to see where your trusted professional network is traveling to and when you will be in the same city as your colleagues. The My Travel application allows you to easily meet up at the next industry event or re-connect with old friends.

Google Presentation  this is another presentation sharing application.
WordPress – The WordPress Application allows you to connect and stay connected with your Linkedin network by syncing your WordPress blog posts with your LinkedIn profile. Once added you can select to filter your posts with a special LinkedIn tag in addition to displaying your personal WordPress icon.

Polls


I really like this feature. It allows you to quickly and easily create a poll with up to five answers. You can have your first poll created and up in less than 60 seconds. One of the really great things about the polling feature is how the results are reported. LinkedIn not only provides the results of the respondents, but also breaks down the results by company size, job function, age, title, and gender. Currently this tool is free, but I'm not sure it is going to stay that way.

Events

The events feature allows you to browse and post up coming events. This is a great way to see what is going on in your industry and in your neighbourhood, as well as to promote your upcoming events. While using this feature I have experienced a number of technical difficulties, particularly around setting the correct start and finish time of the event I was creating. It forces me to enter start and end times that are not correct. I'm sure this will be fixed shortly though. When browsing for an event you can filter by date, location, and type of event, but not by industry. Industry is a field that is available when creating an event, and allows you to select some things like Internet or Hospital & Health Care or Banking… Unfortunately when browsing through the events you can't filter by industry. This means that you have to wade through all of the up coming events in a given area to find what you might be interested in. This could mean browsing 100s of events when you are only interested in the Banking events.

DirectAds


As a LinkedIn user you can now target other LinkedIn users with a text ads. The DirectAds are delivered on the home page of the LinkedIn user in the right hand side bar where big box display ads have been appearing. These ads are sold on a CPM basis and can be targeted by company size, job function, industry, seniority, gender, age, or geography. When targeting your ads you are only allowed to select two of the above categories i.e. company size and gender. Next you can schedule the start of your campaign and the number of days you wish it to run. Next you select your budget; ads are priced at a $10 CPM with an extra $3CPM per targeting category selected. Next you create you text ad just like you would with most PPC providers and then you get your credit card out to pay. I haven't heard anything yet about how effective these campaigns are, but I curious to hear about different peoples experiences.

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