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Two nights ago I attended a social media panel/networking event, which ended up being rather enjoyable and not just because of the free food and drink. The topic of the night was Pinterest and Facebook, and how to use them for your business.

Once the panel opened up to the floor for questions I noticed that while the night’s discussion veered from Pinterest and Facebook to every other social media channel, no one mentioned LinkedIn.

LinkedIn seems to be like the social media equivalent of the friend invited to every party because you feel like he/she should be there, but then you just never really get around to talking to them….

In the hope of demystifying or at least displaying the value of that friend at the party, here’s a break down of LinkedIn: who’s on it and how do you use it for B2B.

Who’s Using It and How?

I admit, I’m guilty of this myself – until I had to start really thinking about LinkedIn for clients and to make recommendations.

There are three types of people using LinkedIn: entry – level employees, middle management and top level execs. Each group has their own motivations and it’s important to know what they are, so you know how to approach them.

  1. Entry Level- This group uses LinkedIn for networking, connection building and most importantly, job searching.
  2. Middle- Again, networking is big here, but the larger use is establishing and nurturing relationships with colleagues and hunting out valuable connections.
  3. Top Level Executives- For B2B companies, this group is the most important to target.

These individuals use LinkedIn primarily for networking, followed closely by promoting their business. If you’re on this level, take advantage of your communities (industry groups) and if you don’t have one, build one! Reach out to meet up, talk on the phone and educate others about your brand. Engage and Establish Expertise With Your Connections and Community Congratulations. You’ve made hundreds of connection with top level executives in your field and beyond. But what now? The secret to actually benefiting from LinkedIn is to understand how it works. This site is all about establishing yourself as an expert in your industry among like – minded individuals, without over-selling.

Some Tips to Get You Started

Now go connect, listen and engage!

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