There are 2.4 million Caribbean professionals on linkedin.com now, here’s why you should care.

Well, let’s start with the fundamentals.

LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network on the Internet with more than 500 million members in over 200 countries and territories. Bought for USD$26 billion by Microsoft last year, it is the site where professionals are signing up to join at a rate of more than two new members per second. Additionally, there are more than 40 million students and recent college graduates on LinkedIn; in fact there are LinkedIn’s fastest-growing demographic.  It provides you with an opportunity to connect with professionals and engage with them on a personal level. And further, over 80% of B2B leads generated from social media come from LinkedIn.

Now Let’s look at the Caribbean numbers.

There are 2,434,900 Caribbean professionals on Linked in at the moment.

The top 5 most LINKEDIN Caribbean Countries are:

1. Puerto Rico                             600,000+LinkedIn members

2. Jamaica                                  370,000+ LinkedIn members

3. Trinidad                                 320,000+ LinkedIn members

4. Haiti                                        150,000+ LinkedIn members

5. Bahamas                                 110,000+ LinkedIn members

Caribbean Professionals on LINKEDIN

Anguilla                                               10,000+    LinkedIn members

Antigua n Barbuda                            27,000+ LinkedIn members

Aruba                                                   39,000+ LinkedIn members

Bahamas                                              110,000+ LinkedIn members

Bermuda                                            43,000+ LinkedIn members

Belize                                                  46,900+ LinkedIn members

Barbados                                           83,000+LinkedIn members

Cayman                                             33,000+LinkedIn members

Dominica                                          15,000+ LinkedIn members

Grenada                                            23,000+ LinkedIn members

Guadelope                                        71,000+  LinkedIn members

Guyana                                             51,000+ LinkedIn members

Haiti                                                 150,000+ LinkedIn members

Jamaica                                          370,000+ LinkedIn members

Martinique                                     58,000+LinkedIn members

Montserrat                                     2,000+ LinkedIn members

Puerto Rico                                   600,000+LinkedIn members

St Vincent & The Grenadines    18,000+ LinkedIn members

St Kitts                                            13,000+ LinkedIn members

St Lucia                                          33,000+LinkedIn members

Suriname                                       57,000+ LinkedIn members

Turks & Caicos                            14,000+ LinkedIn members

Trinidad &Tobago                       320,000+ LinkedIn members

US Virgin Islands                        44,000+ LinkedIn members

UK Virgin Islands                      13,000+ LinkedIn members

Source: linkedin.com

What does that mean for you a Caribbean Professional + Entrepreneur?

The next best thing to face-to-face networking and building relationships to further your career and grow your business — is Linkedin. It’s the ultimate in online networking platform. This is how technology, access to the internet and people, opens doors and connections that makes building our networks and businesses better and certainly a bit faster. Remember you are only as great as your network and the nature of your network determines.

That said, you can only get great results come from not only understanding how it works technically, but why it works. LinkedIn is a professional platform — not a social platform.  That’s important to know so you use it right and get the best results.

People connecting with each other, making referrals, introductions and recommendations …well that’s nothing new really in business or the Caribbean. The difference today however, is that the networking world has become much BIGGER, because of the web and social media. This is why LinkedIn used strategically can help you make those smart, qualified connections to boost you personal and company brand.

LinkedIn could be said to be the playground for professional decision makers and that your LinkedIn profile is now the hybrid of resumes, websites, Facebook and blog pages — pretty much the most complete presentation of who you are and what you are up to … professionally — when used right. And that’s a really good thing.

But you have to be clear on you intention for Linkedin.

So here are 4 Strategies to building a bigger network on Linkedin

1. Make your Profile as complete as possible as it’s a representation of who you are and what you are up to
– Develop your profile, put up a professional head shot, link your blog and company website.

2. Determine with whom you should be trying to connect.
– Start by connecting with everyone you know and whose business card you get.
– Make a target list of who you want to meet-companies and people. Leverage that knowledge to send smart and thought messages that resonate. Being spammy and salesy from the first message is never a good tactic.

3. Share Content and Consistently.
– Share articles, videos, podcasts that you are reading. watching and listening to. It drives traffic to your profile, company page and website, which means that your personal and company brand stays top of mind and you get to start interesting conversations and you can show your industry expertise.

4. Join Groups and Create Your Own Group.
– Groups are the fastest way to make hundreds of connections and then engage with them.
– Use the search feature and keywords to find and join groups based on your industry, expertise, interests and who you want to connect with.
– Create a group based on your industry, expertise and interests
– Think being a part of and creating community as one of the key ways to make some of the best connections.

Have questions, leave it in the comments below.