It pays to be "linked in..."

Last month I discussed the Social Networking mediums Facebook and Twitter and considered how these communication tools can benefit a business website.
This month I am going to discuss LinkedIn, the business networking tool that can help company owners and representatives manage existing relationships and make new contacts.
LinkedIn – a History
LinkedIn.com was officially founded in the USA and launched in May 2003 when the five founders invited 350 of their most valuable business contacts to join. By June 2003 LinkedIn had more than 4,500 members in its network.
By the end of 2003 LinkedIn had more than 81,000 members and 14 employees – more than half of the members were from outside of the USA.
By the end of 2007 LinkedIn had celebrated the membership of more than 15 million members, of which more than 1m were from the UK.
Today LinkedIn has more than 40m members worldwide and has partnered with Microsoft to automatically feed LinkedIn into Outlook. LinkedIn is the largest business networking website with members in more than 40 countries worldwide.
Practical Uses
Just like Facebook for the social networking scene, LinkedIn provides a framework for its members to find other members and connect with them.
LinkedIn allows you to search for companies and professions, as well as individuals, and its structure supports making connections with individuals that can help you in business, as well as connections with people that you already know.
LinkedIn includes many of the features found in social networking including status updates, group memberships and education history, LinkedIn also synchronises with Twitter.
For businesses networking LinkedIn enables users to upload CVs as well as detailing employment history, employment specialities and strengths and with the ability for contacts to recommend one and other, LinkedIn gives your profile real validity, verified by your contacts.
Because LinkedIn is a business networking tool it is used by individuals who are looking to retain professional contacts, it acts as a rolling CV and business address book.
It is free to set up and takes less than 15 minutes to get your profile up and running. You can modify your security settings to protect your details, prevent people from viewing your contacts and gaining your contact information.
You can build your network through the contacts that you have and you can advertise your services, job vacancies and other information to the people that you are connected with.
LinkedIn has been responsible for the huge success that one of its groups, the Yorkshire Mafia, has had during the past 12 months, resulting in a Yorkshire Mafia conference attended by thousands of Yorkshire based businesses, driven through LinkedIn.
If you own a business or you are keen to build up a network of professional contacts then I recommend you create a profile on www.linkedin.com and begin to see how online business networking can help your company and your career.
If you are based in Yorkshire then look up the group – The Yorkshire Mafia – and see how other likeminded local businesses are using LinkedIn to grow their relationships.
For more information contact andrew@ascensor.co.uk.
Web Realities: According to Wikipedia eight out of every 10 internet searches are done using Google. Google log two billion searches every day, from an estimated 300m people.
Next Month: How Google has taken the world by storm.

Ascensor are a full service website design, ecommerce and search engine marketing company. For a free, noobligation website review contact sales@ascensor.co.uk.

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