How to Use LinkedIn right

Linkedin is important for business. You’d be forgiven to spend all day on it, if you had to. According to Craig Smith of Expanded Ramblings, more than 332 million people use LinkedIn. More than 2 members sign up every second. Of those 332 million, 107 million are from the U.S and the social network spans 200 countries and territories with more than 187 million unique visitors. Over 40% of LinkedIn members check LinkedIn daily.

It is a social network, yet professional. Whenever we sign up for a social network, we tend to forget that the purpose is to connect and communicate. It has so much potential that many professionals found jobs, made connections, and social selling is the best way to get leads and make new profitable connections. If all you did was to have a LinkedIn account, you obviously aren’t getting much. The good news is that even with a basic, free account, you’d do a lot. Here are a few ideas and tips to get you started:

Make your profile professional

It’s a first step and it’s imperative that you get it right. Follow Cat Knarr’s Secrets to build a stunning LinkedIn profile on Huffington Post. Make sure those headlines pop.
Your profile should focus on what you can do for others. It’s about how you can solve problems for others. Apart from the fact that people would like to connect with you for having same professional interests, they’d also like to connect with you because you are the expert in what you do. At least, that’s the primary motive of your profile.

Do not leave out anything

Add your major work experiences over the years. However, everyone will. You will stand apart with add-ons like volunteer experience, seminars/workshops attended, additional certifications, workshops conducted, events organized etc. These things will give you an edge over others.

Do write your experiences but it “outward focused”. In the sense that you’d have to write it in a way where you are talking to your audience and about how you’d solve their problems with all that experience under your belt.
Keep it brief. Keep it smart.

Put up links, files, attachments, or anything else (visuals are highly recommended) to go into your profile.
Connect with any non-profit organizations and display them on your profile.
List out certifications, degrees, awards – LinkedIn allows you to put these up for a reason.

Connect with the right people

After you have made an account and added your profile, next logical step should be to connect with people. Find your old classmates, your colleagues and your acquaintances and connect with them. Recommend them and get recommended as often as you can for your skills and experience.

But that’s not all. Use a tool like Rapportive or Connect6 and find more people to connect with. The more people you know, the better it is for you.

Remember that “to connect” doesn’t mean you’d send a “connect request” and let it go. You’d have to take active interest in these people. Follow them everywhere, support their causes, like their published articles, subscribe to their newsletters, etc. You get the idea?

Communicate, Keep in touch, and rattle up old connections

  • Communicate with your contacts on regular basis. Wish them New Year, birthday and so on. It can take five minutes of your time, but you are extending a courtesy, which people never forget.
    They are more likely to stay in touch with you and talk to you, once you make a habit of communicating. More they talk to you; more are they likely to tell you about other opportunities they might have come across. But then,Don’t get so hung up on old connections that you don’t make any new ones.
  • Not all of your connects will be responsive or active. Just do your drill and keep yourself active. Work with others who are just as active ( or more) than you are.

Join Groups

Don’t just join groups for the sake of it. Make your presence felt. Ever saw the little bar to your right when you are signed into a group? It tells you where you stand. Are you just getting started? Are you making an impact?

You can do this by sharing beneficial information in form of videos or articles. Start a discussion or participate in one and appreciate others if they happen to share something useful, you are here to make contacts. Melonie Dodaro of Social Media Examiner puts it well:

“If you want to make it into the top contributors box, make it a point to post regularly and share content that’s relevant to the group. Take the time to read and engage thoughtfully with other posts and group members.”

Be visible

By following the steps aforementioned, you will be visible on the network. More visibility increases the chances of more people connecting with you. Your professional achievements, interests and additional activities are more likely to attract employers on the lookout for versatile employees willing to join their team.

Being visible in the right way, would mean:

  • Participating in LinkedIn groups but never trying to pitch or sell.
  • It’s all right to be opinionated but if you aren’t a Seth Godin or a Gary Vaynerchuck, it’s best to leave balanced comments. Strong opinions could sometimes lead to unforeseen flame wars and you really don’t want that on a network like LinkedIn.
  • If you already have access to LinkedIn Publishing Platform, make a plan to write regularly. If you don’t have access yet, apply t
    o get one.

Don’t bother people

Being visible does not mean you have to pester people into joining your professional network. If you have requested someone to add you you’re your professional network, be patient. They may not know you or remember you.

Moreover, if someone has refused to accept your request, do not keep sending the request. Be very professional about it. Time it. Send your reminders at regular – but well-spaced – intervals.
Professionalism is the key on LinkedIn. People are not looking to waste time with anyone they can’t connect, resonate with, or gain from.

Crisp and concise information, respectful communication, positive participation in groups should be enough to keep you visible and take your social quotient up by few notches.
How are you using LinkedIn for your business?