Working Mom 3.0: Build your online presence
When you're a stay-at-home working mom, it's critical -- and challenging -- to stay connected to business colleagues and industry peers. In this issue of Working Mom 3.0, writer Stephanie Taylor Christensen explores how working moms can boost their presence on LinkedIn to build their career further -- without ever leaving home.
Time to network
Before you had the dual responsibility of work and family, there was time (and energy) to attend business mixers and industry gatherings. But when your family needs your attention (and when don't they?), the priority of business networking starts to slip. For moms who work from home while raising kids, "free time" narrows the window even further. Not only do time constraints and limited child care resources make it difficult to attend many "happy hour" mixers, you barely have time to keep up with co-workers and peers who work on a very opposite "9 to 5" schedule. But ties to the business community are critical when you're a stay-at-home working mom — both to stay on the business radar and to build your personal brand.
Though there are many great social networking tools, LinkedIn is a powerful resource dedicated strictly to business purposes. For stay-at-home working moms willing to spend some time learning its ins and outs, it presents an opportunity to easily stay connected in your industry, deepen business relationships and build an online reputation as an expert — all from the comfort of your child-filled home! Here's how you can copycat brands with a stellar Linked In presence to become an even more successful stay-at-home working mom.
Get people talking
Mashable recognizes Hewlett-Packard for its smart use of the LinkedIn "products and services" tool, and the word of mouth, feedback and referral that it generates. If you're a blogger, entrepreneur or consultant, you can replicate their actions by making recommendations of brands, groups and human connections, and requesting they do the same in return.
Make it easy to be found
A LinkedIn profile is great for keeping tabs on all your business connections — but it's much better when it can lead to a new client or business opportunity. Make certain your profile features your own website, where people can easily find your company, blog or online portfolio, and clearly state that you are open to new proposals and potential business relationships. Then add a highly visible, easy-to-use link where they can reach you by email.
Start a group
If your business or niche represents or caters to a specific demographic or user group, start a group for the audience on LinkedIn. By monitoring the community actively, you position yourself as an industry leader and subject matter expert, which does wonders for building your brand and networks — and testifying to your social media savvy with clients.