If you’re under the impression that LinkedIn is just another resume building site, you’re probably not taking advantage of the site’s unique structure and tools to develop your personal brand and social network. Use the following three strategies to ensure that you reap the full benefits of having a LinkedIn profile!
Once you’ve created your online resume, uploaded your photo and shared your interests, it’s time to get started building your network! Allow LinkedIn to mine your smartphone and email contacts to quickly connect with your current friends and business associates. Next, conduct a search of your former schools and employers and reconnect with former classmates and co-workers.
After you’ve added several of your contacts, go back through your connections to make certain that none of your connections are missing. Using the LinkedIn tool known as “People You May Know” will help you to locate additional contacts and invite them to connect with you.
Once you have your initial connections, don’t feel shy about asking for recommendations from your connections that have worked or gone to school with you. Having high quality recommendations from clients, supervisors, professors and others can help to cement your reputation as an expert and leader in your field.
As time goes on, don’t forget to regularly update your LinkedIn profile, and when you make new connections in the “real” world, don’t forget to invite them to connect with you on LinkedIn. The more direct, or 1st level, connections that you have on LinkedIn, the higher you will rank for specific keyword searches on the site, which will increase your personal visibility and influence.
LinkedIn isn’t just about getting in contact with others; it’s about building relationships and trust. Use the site to stay up to date and in touch with others. Sharing updates, as well as creating and sharing insightful and interesting content with your connections not only strengthens your bond with others, it is another way to increase your authority in your niche and build your brand. As you build your connections with others, don’t be afraid to ask your connections to introduce you to their own connections, especially if they happen to be key influencers and decision makers in your field.
Scope Out the Competition and Potential Business Partners
In addition to allowing you to connect with others, LinkedIn can provide you with a literal gold mine of information about potential business partners, companies and organisations. Use the company search tool to get the full details on both your competition as well as to help you to identify the key leaders and decision makers in a company and organisation.
Once you’ve identified a key influencer, you can check your connections to see if any contacts can introduce you, or, go ahead and message them directly with your sales proposal. Connecting directly with a decision maker can help you to save time and expense when you are seeking collaboration or sales opportunities.
Don’t Forget Groups
LinkedIn literally has millions of groups where individuals can connect with thought leaders and other professionals in their specific industry. Whether you are seeking a mentor, a solution to a difficult problem, or are searching for your next position, LinkedIn’s group feature allows you to connect with others and share based on your interests and skills. It can be a great way to get new leads or generate interest in your ideas and products.
LinkedIn places a powerful set of networking tools into the hands of every user. If you are still having difficulty using the site, why not get in touch today and let us show you how to improve your LinkedIn profile to increase your results?