This article was contributed to TechCabal by Noel K. Tshiani, founder of the Congo Business Network.

Entrepreneurial activities are growing yearly in many African countries, from Nigeria and Egypt to Kenya and South Africa. 

In French-speaking countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, and Senegal, various initiatives are being taken by governments, embassies, and corporations to build incubators, accelerators, and investment funds that can work with entrepreneurs who are building startups. 

African entrepreneurs who want to develop strong and visible brands in the country where they do business—as well as find investors, business partners, and clients abroad—need to develop skills in using LinkedIn, which is today the top social media for decision-makers in business.

LinkedIn has 850 million users and 59 million companies on its platform, according to the latest published data from its Economic Graph. In the African continent, for example, South Africa has about 9 million LinkedIn users. Egypt, Nigeria, and Kenya follow behind with about 6 million, 5 million, and 2 million users, respectively. 

As it can be seen from the statistics mentioned above, the majority of LinkedIn users in Africa are concentrated in countries where English is the official language or the primary language used in the professional environment.

The most basic thing that entrepreneurs in Africa can do to make the most use of LinkedIn starts by taking a professional headshot and uploading it to a personal account. Next, by reacting to the posts of others and by publishing content that aligns with your professional interests, it will be easier to build a network of contacts with like-minded entrepreneurs from around the world.

It is also useful to have a customized cover page that clearly shows your skills and interests in the business world. For entrepreneurs who can read, speak, and write in English and French, having a LinkedIn profile in both languages will increase your chances of being discovered by people in the United States, Canada, or in other English-speaking countries in Europe.

I started taking LinkedIn seriously in early 2017 when I had less than 500 connections on the platform. Today, I am connected with over 15,000 professionals and entrepreneurs in Canada, the United States, Europe, and Africa on LinkedIn.

I have discovered various opportunities on LinkedIn, found clients, and became visible in a way that would not have been possible on other social media platforms. LinkedIn has made it a lot easier for posts to reach many people you are connected with directly and those you are not connected with at all. Organic reach increases especially if you create content regularly.

African entrepreneurs cannot leave their branding, marketing, or communication strategies to stand a chance in today’s highly competitive business environment. 

Mastering LinkedIn is a required skill, now more than ever, for African startups that are ambitious and that can distinguish themselves by making their expertise and solutions in the marketplace known, not only at the local level but also at the international dimension too.

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