Man camouflaged against wallLinkedIn could be one of the greatest platforms-of-change inbusiness today, but we all have a responsibility to be activeparticipants and help shape that transformation. (Image:Shutterstock)

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I know many brokers struggle with whether they should beactive on LinkedIn. Most have a strong sensethat they should, but question how or if it can actually help grow business.

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When you think of business growth, your first thought is likelynew revenue. That's the growth we all need inorder to survive. However, we all need professional growth, too.Active engagement on LinkedIn can drive both, but don't expect toshow up online today and have new business tomorrow. Think ofonline engagement as professional growth opportunities taking placeamong a fertile environment of prospects.

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Kevin Trokey is founding partnerand
coach at St. Louis-based Q4intelligence.

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Related: Establishing recognition & trust withLinkedIn

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I see social media—LinkedIn specifically—as the greatestplatform-of-change in business today. We all have a responsibilityto be active participants and help shape that transformation.Social media is a place to challenge traditional thinking but alsoto allow our own thinking to be challenged. It leads us tore-evaluate what we think and to gain new perspective.

But, where is the ROI?

Networking on social media isn't much different from traditionalnetworking. Rarely do you go to an event and leave with a newclient, but you can't set the actions in motion if you don't showup.

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Choose the right event—On social media, thismeans joining relevant discussion groups and connecting with theright folks. Over time, you become familiar with one another, earntrust, and maybe, eventually do business together.

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Hint: Find groups that focus on issues that: 1. will buildyour business acumen; 2. drive professional/technical growth; 3.are top-of-mind for prospects.

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Frequency—The cool thing about onlinenetworking is you don't have to show up at the same time as yourtarget audience. Your article, comment or invitation to connectwill be waiting for that prospect the next time they're online.

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Hint: Set aside 15 minutes a day to build a habit of simplyshowing up.

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Introductions—Develop and execute a strategy toregularly connect to the right people.

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Hint: Set a weekly goal to send X connection invitations.Include industry thought leaders, potential prospects, communityleaders and others who influence your prospects.

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Engagement—It doesn't do you any good to makean introduction and never have a conversation. This meanscommenting on ideas shared by others, sharing your own ideas, orsharing other's ideas you agree with.

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Hint: Start by setting a daily goal of liking something youread, leaving a brief comment and sharing something youread.

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Be interesting—Anyone only interested inthemselves and their own agenda will never be interesting to anyoneelse. The more you bring an interesting perspective to aconversation, the more interesting you will be to others.

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Hint: The more you read, the more ideas you will have toshare. Share your opinion on those ideas rather than simply sharingthe idea itself.

How do I “do” social?

The LinkedIn business world really isn't that much differentfrom the one you've always known; it's simply more convenient.

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I show up consistently (a handful of times a day) and speak asopenly and honestly as I can. I say what I feel needs to be said,but do my best to be respectful and fair along the way.

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