I once wrote a post where I talked about why business people need to be on LinkedIn. It wasn’t a bad article, but I didn’t go into any kind of detail as to why people should be there.

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Most of the people on LinkedIn are either looking for jobs or parking their name there “just in case”. While that’s all and good, if you’re an entrepreneur, business owner, or salesperson, you also need to establish a viable presence. Even though LinkedIn’s becoming the business version of Facebook, you still need to be there. I’m going to give you 3 quick things you should do when you get there.

The first thing you need to do is fill out your profile, which includes adding an image. Many people, me being one, hates connecting with someone they don’t know if there’s no image with the account. What they really hate is connecting with someone who hasn’t completed their profile, at least most of it; that includes business profiles. It’s actually very easy to do because they give you a step by step that’s easy to follow.

The mistake most people do is type in everything exactly how their resume reads, and that’s not the best way to go about it. For instance, my profile page doesn’t look much like a resume, and I don’t initially tell people I’m a health care finance consultant. Instead, under my name I promote myself by saying “I help hospitals maximize revenue and increase cash while helping managers become better leaders.” Doesn’t that say more than just claiming to be another consultant?

You can boost up your LinkedIn profile with videos and links to your blog posts or other articles. They’ve reduced the number of each within the last couple of weeks, which has irked me to no end, but I still have the most important stuff there so I’ll get over it. Although I don’t up and connect with everyone who asks me to connect with them, if you want to take a look at my profile page, here you go.

The second thing you need to do is join at least one group in a field that would work best for you. Many people might say you need to join a group that does what you do, and that’s not a bad move, but it’s not always your best move.

Your best move is to join a local group where you have the opportunity to meet people that could one day use your services, or at the very least network with in some way locally. It’s always great when there’s the possibility of meeting some of them in person.

With that said, it’s possible that the work you do isn’t mostly local; that’s one of my problem in working with hospitals. If you never do work locally, then going with a group of people that do what you do, or are in your industry moves up to the first spot.

I’m a member of 6 groups at the present time; one local, three related to health care, one related to motivation and the last related to learning how to market yourself. In other words, 3 specifically for business, one for local networking, one for learning and one to help keep my mind focused on positive things. I also share articles in 4 of these groups; if group moderators allow you to do that, it’s all good.

The third thing you need to do is reach out to a few people. This can be done in two ways.

LinkedIn has a search function, so you can either search for people in your area or people in an industry that you might want to talk to. It’s hard to do if you don’t know anyone, but if you’re like most business people, you already have some kind of contact list that you work with.

Take that list and look up some of those people; you’ll probably find some of them. If you have an email address it works great; if not, you can still find a way to connect with some people. You can search by position if you’re looking to connect with people at a certain level, those who might hire you or at least talk to you.

However, having an email address lets you connect with people quicker, and once you’ve connected with them you get to look at who they’re connected to, which also helps you out. The only thing I stay away from is allowing LinkedIn to have my address book; that’s never happening!

Those are 3 wn and dirty ideas, but they’ll get you started. I believe anyone in business needs to be on LinkedIn, but if you’re not doing anything with it you’re wasting a great opportunity.

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