Are you effectively using the #1 business social network?
LinkedIn has become the largest social network for business by far and only continues to improve their functionality and their tool sets to make connecting with people, doing business, and finding new jobs easier. LinkedIn is a fabulous business networking tool and should be utilized to the fullest to maximize your business development activities. You should be spending 1-2 hours per day on LinkedIn to get the most out of it.
Here are some quick tips on using LinkedIn effectively and with a purpose:
1. Building LinkedIn Connections
LinkedIn is a free service and you don’t need to upgrade to a paid member to use it effectively. They give you a ton of invites, so start inviting people to connect with that you know. Some of the ways you can build your LinkedIn connections are:
- Mass invites through your email connection with LinkedIn
- Pasting in a list of email addresses you have (don’t buy a list and do this however)
- Using CardMunch mobile app to take pictures of your business cards from tradeshows and then paste them into LinkedIn
- Using their “People you may Know” feature
2. Following Up with Who’s Viewed Your LinkedIn Profile
LinkedIn shows you “who has viewed” your profile. You can then send them a message or connection request and mention you saw that they stopped by your profile. Paid users can see more profile viewer info, so that can help in that regard. When you reach out to connect with the people that have viewed your profile they are always pleasantly surprised since they were just checking you out, and it can be really effective at gaining the connection and business, not to mention there had to be a reason they were checking you out, so you can see what that was about and take it from there.
3. Thanking for Accepting LinkedIn Connection Request
When someone you have invited accepts your connection request you will receive an email that they accepted it. You can send them an a email thanking them for accepting and start the conversation. Similarly, when you accept someone’s connection request you can send them a message thanking them for the connection and telling them what you do and ask when they do, etc.
4. LinkedIn Groups
Joining multiple LinkedIn Groups in your industry or niche will allow you to post your articles and blog posts into those groups, which can be a powerful syndication strategy for your content. But don’t just post company profiles or promotions or it may get you banned from the group. It also increases the number of connection requests you will receive if your content is good. But don’t just look at LinkedIn groups as a place to share your content, there are people asking questions that you may know the answer to, so you can really help people out by jumping into the discussions and helping out, which will make you look like you are a valuable resource and encourage connection requests. Note: you can join up to 50 LinkedIn groups at a time and directly contact up to 500 other group members directly, which is great!
5. LinkedIn Recommendations
LinkedIn recommendations look great on your profile and tend to be really “glowing.” Leave LinkedIn Recommendations for others first proactively and they usually will reciprocate with a recommendation back for you. LinkedIn Recommendations can be really powerful at convincing people you are great to work with because they are usually really positive. Look to edit your LinkedIn profile so your recommendations are shown towards the top and people see them when they check you out.
6. Reaching Out Beyond your Connections
Look through your LinkedIn connections’ contacts and then send “connection requests” through your connections to the people you wish to connect with. This is one great way to do business development through LinkedIn in my opinion and its extremely under-used, so don’t be afraid to send connection requests through your contacts, that’s what LinkedIn is for. Note: be nice, friendly and professional in your connection requests and don’t look at it as a “means to an end” outreach tool, and it will be more effective. You can also use “Inmails” which are given to paid users, which allow you to reach out directly to people you aren’t connected to without the forward request. This is VERY effective and probably the best part about being a paid user.
7. LinkedIn Group Reach Out
Any LinkedIn Group you join you are permitted to contact 500 members of that group even if you aren’t connected to them. This is a great little secret that you can use to do a ton of business development within groups. Be professional and not a means to an end to be most effective.
8. Customizing Your LinkedIn Profile
You can customize your LinkedIn Profile to feature any aspect of your profile higher up on the page. You can add “add-ons’ to your profile from 3rd parties which can really ramp up the functionality of your profile like Slideshare, YouTube, and other places that host your content or presentations. I have dragged my Recommendation up the top so they will be featured.
9. LinkedIn Today
This is a place that you see when you load LinkedIn that features all the latest stories and headlines from your industry. It’s a great place to keep on the cutting edge of your industry, share articles, comment, like, and interact in general with others in your industry. It can also lead to connections with others that are interacting there. It’s a great place to learn new things.
10. LinkedIn Status Updates
LinkedIn has become more like Facebook, so you have to monitor the “status updates” of your connections and then proactively interact with those posts to increase networking and building up good social karma (where people will reciprocate for your links and comments). You can like, share, and comment on your connections updates and build up your credibility with them, they love it when you interact with them there because not many people do this. your connections will usually get an email when you interact with them, so it’s a great way to get or stay in their consciousness.
11. LinkedIn Company Page
You can set-up a Company Profile on LinkedIn that you can build out with content, add staff members, and collect company recommendations which can be powerful at convincing people to work with you. People can follow your company updates and it’s a great place to build up a company presence that gets ranked in the search results.
12. Exporting LinkedIn Connections
You can export your LinkedIn connections to a spreadsheet so you can look at them all at once and send emails to people you want to contact. You can also share your contacts with trusted people that will reciprocate…talk about getting ahead quicker!
13. LinkedIn Endorsements
This is a newer feature, kind of like recommendations, but quicker and easier to create. When you are on any one of your connection’s profiles, it will prompt you to endorse their “skills.” Once you click the button, another window will display 4 more of your connections and you can endorse them as well, then another window…keep it going until it runs out. They will get notified your left them an endorsement and likely leave one for you. This looks great on your profile and builds your credibility.
These are some practical tips for maximizing your LinkedIn time and effort. LinkedIn is a fantastic business networking tool, but most people just don’t use it enough. So I’m on a little bit of a mission to get people using it more like they should be. Thanks for reading and let me know if you have any questions, comments,