Linkedin is a powerful yet underutilized social network. While LinkedIn pales in size vs. Facebook, it can provide significant opportunities for marketers. Unfortunately, many Linkedin users never get further than creating a profile and adding a few friends. Here are 11 tips to get more out of LinkedIn.
1. Import your contacts
How many people you know counts on LinkedIn. The best way to start building your LinkedIn network is to import contacts from your email accounts. It is simple to do and you’ll be surprised at how many people you already know are on LinkedIn. Re-import your contacts from email every few months – you can add new contacts to LinkedIn this way or some of your existing contacts may have joined in the mean time. Keep your contacts up to date.
2. Join a Group
Search for LinkedIn groups that are relevant to you. Chances are there are already LinkedIn groups set up for groups that you already belong to in real life – professional organizations, alumni groups, industry groups, work groups, etc. By joining a group you can increase your visibility and reach within LinkedIn. Search for and join relevant groups to connect with people in your target.
3. Optimize your Profile for Search
Search engine optimization isn’t just for websites and google. What you may not know is that a lot of people search for partners, business contacts, job candidates, etc on LinkedIn. Make sure that your profile, summary and description contain key-words that will help relevant people to find you.
Example: I received a business request from a company in the social media space looking to do business with P&G. They searched for “P&G” and “Social Media” and found that I formerly worked at P&G and am now in the social media training and consulting space.
4. 10 Minutes, Twice a Week
Commit to spending 10 minutes twice a week on LinkedIn. Each time you login add more contacts (the Linkedin “people you may know” is generally pretty effective), participate in groups and answer some questions. Being active on Linkedin matters. LinkedIn sends out summary emails with recent activity as well as group activity to members. Just by being active your name will appear in email summaries of people in your network, increasing your visibility.
5. Find Prospects
LinkedIn can be a great first step to finding specific, targeted individuals. You can search LinkedIn by company, groups, keywords, current & past employer and industry (to name a few). LinkedIn can help you find the right people in the right organization to connect with. In addition, you can see who in your network already knows that person, and how many degrees away the separation might be.
6. Get Introduced
One of the features of LinkedIn is to “get introduced”. If you are trying to connect with a prospect that is not a first connection (i.e. you don’t know them and can’t add them to your network yourself) you can ask someone else in your network to introduce you. In requesting an introduction be sure to outline 1) why you want to be introduced, 2) how you would like to connect with the person, 3) why it is a benefit for the person you want to be introduced to. This can be a great way to expand your network.
7. Answer Questions
LinkedIn has a questions section, where people in the community can post and answer questions. Answering relevant questions can increase your visibility on LinkedIn outside of your network. It also positions you as an expert in the area.
8. Participate in Groups
Don’t just join groups, participate in them. Start or join in discussions, post news items, check out the job boards. By participating in groups you’ll appear in the group digest emails that get sent out to group members. This increases your visibility among members of the group. Be careful about shameless self-promotion – try to post links and discussions that are truly of interest and relevant to the group.
Example: I promoted my recent BootCampDigital training courses in the LinkedIn groups and got a number of participants to attend my training.
9. Use The Apps
LinkedIn Apps are a great way to beef-up your profile. You can use the SlideShare app to post presentations or Blog apps to link your blog posts into your LinkedIn profile. These apps can help showcase your knowledge and expertise and further position you as a leader and expert in your area. You can also use the TripIt app so that people in your network know where you’ll be and when. If you attend industry events this can be a great way to see others in your network that will be there.
10. Update Your Profile
Update your profile often. Keep your LinkedIn profile up-to-date with all relevant information so that people in your network know what you are up to. Also, when you update your profile it shows up in emails to LinkedIn members with activity for the week. This helps keep you top of mind with the people in your network, and helps them know what you are up to. You can also use the status update for smaller updates that you want your network to be aware of.
11. Download your Contacts
Step 1 is to upload your contact, step 11 is to download them. Linkedin is the ONLY social network that allows you to take your contacts with you. You can download names, emails and information of all of your LinkedIn contacts and keep it as a backup. This gives you more flexibility since you actually own your contacts.