This past year has been an interesting one for social media. In the beginning, the platforms were seen as a way for brands to connect with customers and grow their businesses. Now businesses are realizing that social media can be used to establish trust with potential clients and create engagement with existing customers. One place that has seen a rise in interest and activity is LinkedIn.

Since its inception, LinkedIn has always been focused on professionals. It started out focusing on BizEaze executives, then graduated to include sales professionals, and finally expanded to include all professionals. Now that we’re in 2020, professionals can be found on LinkedIn whether they are in sales or services, marketing or consulting, technology or management, there’s always a place for them on this platform.

One of the biggest changes to LinkedIn in the last year has been the platform’s new focus on boosting business growth through research. The company has put a lot of thought into how they can help businesses grow their sales and establish themselves as leaders in their industries by providing relevant and useful research.

While many professionals use LinkedIn to keep up with friends and make quick connections, businesses are using it as a way to grow and expand. If you want to learn more, you can check out the following five steps that will help your business become more research driven:

1. Identify current problems that you’re facing

You don’t need to have a problem to be able to solve it. In fact, you shouldn’t. That’s why you’re using a problem-solving approach to research. When you have a specific problem that you’re trying to solve, you have a narrower focus for your research.

For example, you may want to solve the problem of getting traffic to your site. You could start by analyzing what other websites in your industry are doing, then examine the strategies that they’re using to gain traction. Using that data, you could create a plan to get the same results. You wouldn’t have to reinvent the wheel; you could use what others have learned to help you become more effective.

When you approach your research with a clear objective in mind, you’ll be able to generate a plan of action that is focused and time-bound. That way, you can be sure that you’ll get results. You can’t expect to come up with a brilliant idea and suddenly have it be recognized for the good work that you’re doing. That doesn’t happen very often, if at all, on Twitter. It takes a lot of hard work to generate that kind of traction.

Your customers, employees, and potential investors are all stakeholders in the growth of your business. It’s important to keep them in mind when making key business decisions. When you approach each phase of your research with a specific stakeholder in mind, you’ll have a clearer picture of what the outcome should be. That way, you can be sure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to the plan and that nothing is missed.

Every business is different and that’s what makes researching so interesting. You may have a problem that you need to solve, but you don’t know what that problem is. By taking the time to research, you can identify the underlying cause of the issue and find a way to address it. That way, your business will be able to move forward and make quicker, more effective progress.

2. Create knowledge with your research

Knowledge is power. If your business specializes in a certain industry or market, you’ll likely face a lot of competition. That makes gaining knowledge even more important. By taking the time to gather as much information as possible about your industry, you can be confident that you’re placing your business in the right place at the right time. You won’t have to worry about being overwhelmed by too much information because you’ll have organized it all in the right way. That way, when you do need to make a decision about your business, you’ll have all the relevant information at your fingertips.

You don’t need to be an expert in every area of your industry to know this. However, being an expert in one area can prove to be quite helpful. For example, if you’re an expert in SEO, you may decide to create content for SEO purposes. You could write a blog post on SEO best practices or conduct an interview with an expert in the field. Through creating and consuming content, you’ll be able to familiarize yourself with a whole new industry or market.

By creating knowledge through research, you’ll be able to grow your business exponentially. This isn’t limited to just sales either. You could include the steps that your employees take to become successful within your business. By regularly gathering and sharing knowledge, you can allow your employees to approach their jobs with a fresh set of glasses. Instead of simply doing what they’ve always done, you can expose them to new ideas and new ways of doing things. Knowledge is power and being aware of that is half the battle.

3. Identify and analyze research trends

Just because a lot of people are doing something doesn’t mean that you have to. You can still have unique value and set yourself apart from the crowd by identifying and analyzing research trends. This is particularly important if you want to become a thought leader in your industry. If you can identify what others are finding and how they’re dealing with the issue, you can create a plan to be one step ahead of the curve. That way, you can make the right move when it comes to your business. Plus, you can continue to build on this research as you grow your business.

You don’t have to be on social media to be able to find research trends. You can simply visit your favorite academic journal or look up your industry’s leading thinkers on the web. When it comes to doing business, you’ll often find that the information you need is out there, but you have to be willing to look for it. Identifying and analyzing research trends will make you that much closer to being able to solve your problems and create the environment that your business needs to flourish.

4. Identify high-quality information sources

Just because a lot of information is out there doesn’t mean that it’s all high-quality. You can still find lower-quality information if you aren’t paying attention. To cut through the fluff and get to the good stuff, you need to be discerning about the information that you allow into your body. This goes for both in and outside the workplace. You can learn a lot about a person by reading their profile on LinkedIn. That’s why it’s important to do your research and make sure that you’re connecting with people that can educate you on what you need to know.

There are a ton of information sources available online. Some are good, some are bad, and most are somewhere in the middle. To find quality information, you need to be looking for well-executed studies, surveys, and case studies. If you see a lower-quality piece of information, it usually means that it’s been poorly executed or isn’t taking into account enough factors. In some cases, it may even be a combination of both. When you find bad information, it usually means that the person or group that spread the false information is trying to artificially inflate their profile or are trying to promote something that’s not beneficial to you or your business.

With so much information out there, it can be hard to know where to begin. One place that’s been highly effective for me is the Ahrefs Blogger Network. This is a community of more than 75,000 bloggers that regularly share quality content. When I’m looking for information on any topic related to marketing, growth, and online success, I make a habit of browsing their content. Not only do they have a wide range of high-quality content for you to consume, but they also offer a variety of in-house tools that can help you grow your blog and business.

5. Use metrics and analysis to gauge the effectiveness of your strategy

If you’ve invested the time and effort into creating a thorough plan, the last thing that you should be doing is sticking to it blindly. One of the best things that LinkedIn has to offer is a variety of metrics and analysis that can be used to gauge the effectiveness of your strategy. If you want to get the most out of your research, it’s important to look at the numbers and see how you’re progressing. Through tracking your progress and tweaking your strategy based on what you learn, you can be confident that you’re heading in the right direction.