Is your green business LinkedIn? Well, maybe it should be. LinkedIn is one of the fastest growing social networks on the web, adding new users at the rate of one each second. Billing themselves as “the world’s largest professional network,” at last count, they were up to over 90 million users across 200 countries. So how is it different from Facebook and other social networking tools you’re already using? LinkedIn is geared towards businesses and professionals. The latter group uses it for networking, connecting with colleagues, exchanging knowledge and ideas and keeping up to date on jobs and other business opportunities. As a business, there are number of different ways you can use it for self-promotion, to find new talent, create an online community and or manage your own employees.
Still not sure where to start? Here are eleven of the best tools and applications to help you leverage the power of LinkedIn for your green business.
1. LinkedIn Profile
Just like your Facebook profile, your company’s LinkedIn profile page is the first thing users will see when searching for your business. Be sure that your profile is complete, which helps convey information to users as well as increase your profile’s search engine rankings. Be sure to keep your company’s profile up to date. LinkedIn has an update feature similar to status updates in Facebook that lets you share information.
Connections are the primary reason to sign up for LinkedIn in the first place. But who are connections? They can be employees, customers, consultants, experts, colleagues and a whole host of others who are interested in what your business is doing. Be sure to create and foster a community of people that are interested in and engaged about what you and your company are doing.
Groups are a great way to find new connections or to organize and engage with your current connections. Groups may form around industries, such as green businesses, specific positions, such as project manager, business operations, such as sales or marketing, or a whole host of other things. Be sure to find groups that fit both your business and its objectives, or, if you’re having trouble finding on, start your own. You can also start groups within your company.
Tweet is an easy to set up application that links your company’s Twitter feed to its LinkedIn profile. Not only will tweets display your most recent tweets, it also lets you reply and re-tweet right from your profile.
5. BlogLink or WordPress
Similar to Tweet, the BlogLink and WordPress applications let you add your blog feed to your LinkedIn profile. BlogLink supports multiple blogging platforms, while WordPress is strictly for WordPress bloggers.
Polls is your own personal market research application. It lets you find answers to your most pressing business questions by polling both your connections and the professional community at large. It also allows you to share your Poll across Facebook and Twitter, or you can embed it into your website or blog.
The Events application helps you find conferences, seminars and other professional events and see which of your professional connections might be attending. You can also use it to keep in touch and share information after the event is over.
8. Company Buzz
Company Buzz lets you eavesdrop on what people are saying about you or your company across other social networks and the blogosphere. With it you can identify and track trends over time, use it to predict what might be coming next, or respond to customer comments and concerns.
SlideShare is an application for sharing presentations and other professional documents across your LinkedIn network. It supports documents in multiple formats and you can even embed YouTube videos into presentations and add audio.
10. Projects and Teamspaces
The Projects and Teamspaces application lets you take document sharing one step further. The application lets you create workgroups and teams across your connections where you can share documents, assign tasks and manage communications for any business application you can think of.
Last, but certainly not least, are ads. LinkedIn has a number of opportunities for you to promote your business through text or display ads. They also feature recommendation ads, which are based on recommendations by your own connections. If your company is looking for new talent, try the recruitment ads that you can specifically tailor to users with particular skills and experiences.