LinkedIn is a social media platform specifically designed for networking that tax professionals (actually, all professionals) should be utilizing on a daily basis. Think of LinkedIn as an extension of your networking. This isn’t a platform for catching up with friends and posting your family vacation photos – this is your networking hub. This is where you keep up with people you’ve met at networking events, keep abreast of what’s going on in the industry and potentially gain new clients.
Here are some ways you can utilize LinkedIn to help gain new business or get a new job.
Connect With Everyone You Meet
Rather than filing away those business cards you collected at your last networking event, go through the stack and connect with those people on LinkedIn. Once you’re connected, it’s easier to stay in touch because you can now see their activity in your feed.
LinkedIn has a great feature that allows you to write notes for each and every one of your contacts so that you can remember things like where you met, and what your last conversation was. Building relationships with people is one of the core concepts of networking. They may not become a client, but they may refer others to you or there may be someone in their network you have been trying to meet. Connecting to people on LinkedIn gives you the advantage of seeing everyone that person is connected to. It also helps keep you – and that new contact – from being another business card lost in a pile somewhere.
Groups are another great way to network online. Join industry related groups to chat and stay in the loop about things happening in the tax/accounting industry. Join community groups like your local chamber of commerce and other networking organizations you are involved in to stay connected to people in your community. Join eclectic groups where your industry expertise would be insightful to conversations or where you can draw insight from others outside of your industry.
Interacting within different groups on LinkedIn not only helps you network online, but it also keeps your mind sharp by keeping your ear to what’s going on within your professional network.
Do you write a blog? Post it as an update in your LinkedIn feed. Share what you have to say with your connections to bring people back to your website and remind people to stay connected to you. Your posts don’t always have to be self-serving – share interesting articles you find, start a discussion, or share an event you hope to attend.
LinkedIn has a great list of “influencers” that you can follow. These people are very well known in their industry and produce articles exclusively for LinkedIn. Browse the influencer section and follow a few that interest you. If you really want to get the creative juices flowing, follow some people outside of the industry (like marketing or social media people), these people can give you ideas and tips in areas of business that you may not be as well-versed in. Here are a few suggestions:
- Brian Solis – Principle Analyst of the Altimeter Group
- Richard Branson – Serial Entrepreneur
- Walt Bettinger – President and CEO of Charles Schwab
- Naomi Simson – Founder of Red Balloon
These are just some of the many ways LinkedIn can help you grow your business, stay connected to the industry and build relationships with people you meet. How has LinkedIn worked for you? Leave a comment below and don’t forget to join our LinkedIn Group: Tax Business Owners of America.