8 ways to put LinkedIn to work for your blog

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If you’re like a lot of bloggers, you’ve already got a LinkedIn account but probably don’t know quite what to do with it. Sure, you know you can build relationships through Facebook and find topic ideas on Twitter, but what of LinkedIn? Are there ways you can use this social network to benefit your blog? The good news is yes — although LinkedIn is a highly under-utilised tool for bloggers, it’s also a powerful one, drawing more than 100-million members and useful for developing blog content, making connections, strengthening relationships and more.

Here are eight tips for putting LinkedIn to work for your blog!

1. Use questions
Through LinkedIn Answers, you’ve got access to a full supply of content ideas: just peruse the questions being asked by your target audience. So say you’re a company that makes GPS tracking devices for trucks, for example. LinkedIn Answers would reveal the desire for tracking to benefit safety records, the need for tracking that works in rural areas, questions about merging GPS with cell phones and more. You can take those ideas and spin them into blog posts that speak directly to things your potential clients are wondering about.

2. Pay attention (and show it)
One of the best things you can do to build connections is to listen, whether you’re online or off. Pay attention to what your contacts are posting, in their status updates, in questions, in recent projects, and show them you care through responding, answering their questions, giving them interesting links, etc.

3. Post relevant updates
Use your status updates to post information your contacts will find helpful or interesting. Don’t just automate your Twitter feed, which can come across as repetitive and like too much information.

4. Connect with people you know
The best way to make friends is to be one — reach out to those you’ve done work with and write recommendations for the ones you can vouch for. Good recommendations strengthen your relationships and give you a reputation for generosity.

5. Join groups and talk to people
LinkedIn Groups encourage discussion among the huge networks of business professionals active on the site; they are crucial for learning, making connections, getting ideas and more. To start, search for groups that interest you and are related to your industry. If you’re a technology company focused on engineering and marketing products like digital multiplexers, for example, you might search for groups dealing with transmission solutions or audio/video markets. There’s also an entire LinkedIn Group devoted to bloggers. Join the right groups and engage in the dialogue, joining active conversations before starting your own.

6. Connect blog posts with your profile
Help connections link you with your blog by integrating your posts with your profile. If your blog is hosted via WordPress, add the WordPress application to your profile to show either the most recent posts or all posts tagged with “LinkedIn.” Likewise, you can share post links in your status box, with short descriptions to entice followers to click through.

7. Strengthen your brand
Part of building your brand involves having strong profiles on various social networking sites. To create a strong presence on LinkedIn, design your headline, profile, photo and other info to complement and, when appropriate, draw back to your blog. This reinforces your site’s message in another online location, thereby strengthening your influence.

8. Be active
One of the most overlooked parts of using LinkedIn is keeping up with it. Don’t forget about your profile and leave it neglected for months — actively participate in groups and discussions, network with connections, write and receive recommendations, etc.

What do you think? Could any of these tips make LinkedIn more valuable for you in your blogging efforts? What other strategies have you seen to be helpful?

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