4 Ways to Use LinkedIn that You Probably Never Thought Of

LinkedIn marketingEvery freelancer, solopreneur, and independent professional needs to be on LinkedIn. With over 150 million members, this social network offers excellent marketing opportunities that Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ don't. After all, LinkedIn is the place where people go to find colleagues, to network with other professionals, and to generate leads. Here are those rare LinkedIn opportunities, and how a freelancer or solopreneur could leverage them:

  1. LinkedIn Answers - Looking for a blog post idea, or a way to demonstrate your expertise? Then LinkedIn Answers is the place to go. When you write the blog post, share it on LinkedIn. If you've previously written a post that answers a questions, don't be afraid to share it. Even if you don't have a blog post to share, contributing to the conversation builds referral traffic and your prominence on the site.
  2. LinkedIn Groups - It's not just enough to join the groups. professionals really ought to join in the discussions as well. That's how you put your name out there, and may be even nab a client or two. And make sure you do more than just share links to your services and your blog posts. Actually contributing to the discussions is what will get you the attention. Bonus points if you actually start a few discussion topics, and then thank people for their helpful responses!
  3. Applications - Bet you didn't know that LinkedIn had apps! LinkedIn profiles are quite customizable, allowing you to add sections that you previously didn't know existed. Consider the My Travel app if you do a lot of speaking engagements or conferences, or Reading List by Amazon if you read a ton of books for business.
  4. LinkedIn Company Pages - Even the self-employed can have a LinkedIn company page, and it's highly recommended that you set one up. The only caveat is that you need a company email to set up the page, so Gmails, Hotmails, and Yahoos won't work. Use a company page to showcase promotions, to explain your services, and to highlight company events. It's one of the best ways to generate leads while being an industry leader.
LinkedIn has become that social network at the dance that everyone knows is there but that no one really knows how to relate to and talk to. It's time to strike up a conversation and utilize LinkedIn in ways the competition hasn't! There's much more opportunity here than you may have realized!