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Remember that old adage, it’s not what you know – it’s who you know? Well in respect to business networking – this saying rings very true. And one of the most powerful ways to network now in this digital age is via business social media platform; LinkedIn.

Building strong and reliable business connections is critical for success – whether a business owner or employee – your contacts, recommendations and key suppliers are likely to be people and businesses you know, that know you and you have worked with in the past. It’s the power of these positive connections that can give a fledgling business an edge over its competitors. Staying in touch and top of mind with these connections is made easy on business social media, and that’s one of the reasons why LinkedIn in is so valuable.

As a business owner or senior executive, you may be questioning what the real benefits are (if any) of being on LinkedIn. Here we discuss eight reasons why you need to use LinkedIn and why it is the most powerful business social media platform in the world.


  1. You’re being Checked Out

So be visible and professional in a digital sense. Everyone wants to work with people and companies they are comfortable with and are confident will meet their needs. Whether you like it or not, it is almost a given that potential clients and customers have already searched online before engaging with you and your business. LinkedIn can provide your business with a confident professional presence on a respected social media platform, complete with unsolicited recommendations, which goes further than a website, and will help move the potential client closer to a sale.


  1. Build Trust and Reputation

LinkedIn recommendations are highly credible as a visible link is created between the recommendation and the recommender and can only be generated by the recommender.    These personal and business recommendations from happy clients and co-workers are visible for all to view at any time.  This is a particularly important in New Zealand where word of mouth and recommendations are some of the fundamental foundations for a successful business.


  1. Grow your brand recognition beyond your regular networks

Like other social media platforms, LinkedIn allows us to reach beyond our normal circle and expand networks.  There are no physical, industry, or age barriers – you can connect with anyone, anywhere in the world.  It has never been easier to grow your career or business by connecting with potential partners or those in similar industries.

As an online environment, LinkedIn provides a virtual showroom for your point of difference and what you want to be known for.  Promote your brand, products, services, ability and skills to over half of the New Zealand working population.


  1. Create Thought Leadership & tap into a wealth of content

LinkedIn’s content publishing platform LinkedIn Pulse – offers an in depth resource of industry specific content and information that can add real value to your business. Like any online resource you will have to search to find good quality content.   But once you’ve found information that is relevant, notifications can be set up to go into a separate folder in your inbox.

LinkedIn Pulse can also be used to further your reputation as a thought leader – publish your own content which is added to your profile and available for all to read.


  1. Nurture and generate leads

Cold sales calls, spam emails and recorded sales messages are an annoyance in any business, but done well via LinkedIn, can generate you valuable business leads. In a research study conducted in 2014, 80% of all social media business to business leads are from LinkedIn.

Once gained, nurture the business relationship, provide value and service over and over again – develop loyal customers who automatically return.


  1. Get found and hire the best

Hire only the best people and be certain of their credentials and reputation before the first interview.  Over 90% of recruiters will scan your LinkedIn profile as part of the recruitment process – making it a compulsory social media channel for any employee.  Employers and recruiters can see at a glance a prospective employee’s movements and track record so make sure your information is through and up to date.


  1. Connect with like-minded people and stay up to date

The best way to connect with like-minded people on LinkedIn is to join a group that interests you.  This is a great way to reach beyond your usual circle of people and grow your network – you can join up to 50 groups.  Ask for advice, share interesting articles and resources or start a discussion.  And if you can’t find the right group for you, start your own.

Once you’ve connected, LinkedIn is a convenient way to keep up to date with whether colleagues, clients or friends have moved jobs or countries, had a recent success or are celebrating a work anniversary.  Notifications for these events are automatically delivered straight to your inbox without having to set your preferences.


  1. This is the future

With over 1.33 million users in New Zealand to date, there are no other business social media networks that come close to what LinkedIn has to offer.  You are only visible to those who are three degrees of separation away from you or who belong to the same groups.  So, for those of you who are not on LinkedIn or have neglected your profile, log on today and start expanding your network.

NB: This article was published in the EMA “Business Plus” magazine. Enterprises of all types and sizes join the Employers and Manufacturers Association, for opportunities to learn and grow, make valuable business connections and change the world. EMA provides its members with professional advice and training to succeed in many aspects of business.