If you are like me you think of LinkedIn as a place to keep your resumes and maintain contact with past employers and co-workers. In recent months though LinkedIn has transformed their site into a full-blown business-networking site SMBs should really invest time in. As a member of the site you can join groups and get involved in discussions. I am a member of the Small Business Network, Social Media Boot Camp, and HP Business Answers to name a few.
Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are great but LinkedIn may be the best time use for a business owner no matter what the size of your business. LinkedIn claims over 135 million members in 200 countries and one of the largest Internet marketing research companies listed them as the #2 social networking site online.
I found a great article on Small Business Trends offering a few tips to get started.
If you want a simple introduction as to how and why to use LinkedIn check out this user-friendly, 8-minute video by Jim Kukral on SmallBizTrends. Even if you have used the site before this video provides great reminders about how to participant in the site.
The New User Starter Guide is really simple to use and explains setting up your account in getting started in 3 easy steps. The site also provides a short video on Small Business use on the site. Additionally, as small business entrepreneurs, you may find the section explaining benefits to your group particularly helpful. Some of the items covered on this section are making important personnel decisions, filling hard-to-fill positions, and generating awareness for your business.
Recommendations are an amazing tool LinkedIn provides. Check out Elements of a Good LinkedIn Recommendation for tips on what to say and how to ask.