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13 Strategies to Maximize Your LinkedIn Usage and Effectiveness

Thursday, April 4th, 2013

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,

Affiliate Summit East Presentation Video: How to Maximize Your Presence on LinkedIn by CEO Evan Weber

Monday, March 4th, 2013

Here is the video from Experience Advertising CEO Evan Weber presentation at Affiliate Summit East titles: How to Maximize Your Presence on LinkedIn. Let us know what you think!

My Journey to 5000 Linkedin Connections – And How You Can Get There Too!

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

5000 Linkedin

I couldn’t be more excited to have surpassed 5000 connections on Linkedin, the world’s largest business-oriented social network. It definitely took a lot of work to get here. I’m not an “open networker” or LION, which is someone that joins groups just to exchange connections with people. I gained all of my connections by being an active social networker, attending conferences, exchanging business cards, and sending a lot of invites over the years to people I’ve emailed with. I’m particularly excited because the vast majority of my Linkedin connections are in the Internet marketing industry, which I have been working in since the late 1990’s. This makes me probably the most connected person in the world of Online Marketing, which is definitely a self-imposed title, but one I don’t think too many people that know me would argue with. So how did I get so many Linkedin connections? I’m going to tell you all the tools and strategies I have used over the years to achieve a ton of connections in Linkedin!

1. Invites - Linkedin has great invite tools under the add connections tab in the interface. You can upload .csv files from your email contacts or just paste in a whole list of email address you have from conferences or shows. However, if you send out too many invites that aren’t accepted, your invites can be shut off, so make sure these are at least people you may have met before or exchanged emails with to ensure your invites stay active. Sending invites is a daily thing for me and is a great way to show people you are proactive. When people accept my Linkedin invite I frequently will send them a little note thanking them and seeing how we can work together, but it’s a case-by-case basis and the message has to be specific to who they are to be effective. You  can export your email contacts from Outlook, gmail, etc and then send the invites. They also have a function that accesses your email account and tells you who is already on Linkedin you can invite, which is invaluable. It also tells you who isn’t on Linkedin yet and you can invite them. Great fun I tell you!

2. Rapportive - this tool has really allowed me to send invites easier than ever before. It’s a gmail extension that shows you the person you are emailing with’s social networks, so you can click a button and send them an invite. Invaluable! People are blown away with how fast I follow them on Twitter, Facebook, and send a LinkedIn invite after our first email exchange. Makes me looks like I’m really putting in the effort to connect socially.

3. LinkedIn Groups - not only do I send a lot of invites, I get a lot of invites from posting my articles and content into LinkedIn Groups. You can join up to 50 Linkedin Groups, so when you have a great article to share you can post it into several groups at once with tools like the Addthis Chrome extension. This allows me to syndicate my content onto Linkedin into relevant groups, which gets it read by people in the Online Marketing industry I may potentially want to connect with or want to connect with me.

4. My Linkedin Profile - I’ve tried to make my profile as friendly and out-going as possible. I’ve moved my Linkedin Recommendations to the top of my profile so people see them, since I’ve worked to attain 154 recommendation, they look and read great to my profile viewers. I’ve also mentioned in my profile that I’m open to receiving invites from people on Linkedin. Make sure to check your “Who’s Viewed My Profile” on Linkedin so you can see who came by your profile and reach out to them for a connection request. This is the primary reason I’m a paying Linkedin member, to reach out to people that have view my profile. It works and has gotten my agency clients, so make sure to check that every day and follow-up!

5. My Linkedin Group - I run a Linkedin group called Linked Affiliate that gets 10-20 new sign-ups a day on Linkedin. I’m permitted to email blast all group members every 7 days with a message, so I always include a link to my Linkedin profile in the message and I periodically send an email to specifically invite the group members to connect with me socially. Running a Linkedin group is a great idea to build a presence in your industry, I highly recommend it, but make sure you have a good moderator or it will get over-run with crappy posts and become a nightmare.

6. Other Social Networks - I gain Linkedin connections from my other social networking like on Facebook and Twitter, when I share my Linkedin group’s posts or my own posts in those venues. All group discussions have sharing buttons, so I make sure to share good group discussions on Facebook and Twitter, which brings added traffic and exposure. I occasionally post to connect with me on Linkedin in my other social networks to keep it out there in people’s consciousness.

7. Conferences and Shows - Attending conferences in your industry is a great way to build your Linkedin connections. You can gather as many business cards as possible so you can later send them all Linkedin invites. I use a company called Cloud Contacts, that takes business cards and databases them for you. I also use CardMunch that photographs your business cards with your phone, which Linkedin owns.

These are some of the ways I have built up my Linkedin connections over the years. Linkedin will give you up to 2000 invites, so use them fairly wisely, although once you run out you can request more from them. Linkedin really is a great business development tool and a great way to find a new job or find a great new employee, so make sure you maximize your presence there and your number of connections. The more connections you have, the more people will see the content you post there and possibly want to do business with you. I hope you linked my little write-up on how I achieved 5000 Linkedin connections. Yes it took several years, but totally worth it!

12 LinkedIn Tips to Increase Your Business Networking

Friday, August 12th, 2011

LinkedIn is a fabulous business networking tool and should be utilized to the fullest to maximize your business development activities. Here are some quick tips on using LinkedIn effectively and with a purpose:

1. 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 invting people to connect that you know!

2. LinkedIn shows you who has viewed your profile. You can then send them a message or connection request and mention you saw they stopped by your profile. Paid users can see more profile viewer info, so that can help in that regard.

3. When someone you have invited accepts your connection request you will receive an email, send them an 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. Joining multiple LinkedIn Groups in your Industry 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 post company profiles or promotions or it may get you banned from the group. It also increases to the number of connection requests you will receive if your content is good.

5. Leave LinkedIn Recommendations for others first proactively and they usually will reciprocate with a Recommendation for you. LinkedIn Recommendations can be really powerful at convincing people you are great to work with because they are usually really positive.

6. Look through your LinkedIn connections’ contacts and then send “connection requests” through your connections to the people you wish to connect with. This is the best 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, thats 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.

7. 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.

8. 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. I have dragged my Recommendation up the top so they will be featured.

9. You can connect your Twitter account to your LinkedIn Profile so your tweets get posted on your LinkedIn profile. You can also connect other services as well.

10. 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).

11. 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.

12. You can export your LinkedIn connections to a spreadsheet so you can look at them all at once and send email to people you want to contact. You can also share your contacts with trusted people that will reciprocate…talk about getting ahead quickly!

These are a few tips for maximizing your LinkedIn time and efforts. 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 missions to get people using it more like it should be. Thanks for reading and let me know if you have any questions, comments, or more ideas! thx!

7 Great Ways to Maximize Your LinkedIn Social Networking

Friday, August 12th, 2011

LinkedIn in a social network that focuses on connecting people for business. I think that it’s an invaluable tool, so I wanted to write some of my favorite aspects of LinkedIn and how I think it can be used expand your business connections, grow your business, and be a valuable resource for information for you. I have built up over 2500 LinkedIn connections over the years in the Online Marketing industry so I have a good frame of reference on their system and how to leverage it. Uhg, there are so many social networks to be a part but where should you actually spend your valuable time that you want to maximize with your online networking activities. LinkedIn really is the best place to do “business development,” business networking, or putting partnerships together with other companies. There definitely is a certain amount of “couth” one should use when using LinkedIn because one of the main ways to connect with people is through people you are already connected to. But there is definitely an tremendous opportunity to build your business and professional network through LinkedIn if you work it properly. Here are some of the aspects I think are valuable when using LinkedIn:

1. Connecting with People – LinkedIn actually lets you import all your Outlook contacts directly into their invite tools, and will tell you who is already on LinkedIn and send them all an invite. They also support contact importing from: hotmail.com, gmail.com, yahoo.com, and aol.com. This is a great advantage but some people don’t use these email services anymore, but for those who do it’s amazing. I haven’t seen how myself how to connected LinkedIn with Facebook and Twitter to see who is on each, but someone out there may know or it will be added soon. Go ahead and send out a bunch of LinkedIn invites and you will build your LinkedIn connections quickly. You can also paste an email address into a box in their site and it will see if they are on LinkedIn already. Get comfortable with sending LinkedIn invites to everyone you email with and have some business relations with.

2. Using Your Connections – Once you connect with someone on LinkedIn, you will be able to see who they are connected with…fun! And even more exciting is that you can reach out to those connections by sending your connection a “request to forward” email, which are almost always passed through, although they have the right to not do so if they don’t think it will be a fit. When approaching people through LinkedIn you have be very nice, professional, and have a partnership idea in mind, don’t just say, “Hey Bill…you want to parter with my company??” You have to be a lot smoother than that and don’t always look at it like a means to an end, actually try to make solid friendships and relationships with your connections and the people you are reaching out to. I call LinkedIn “the greatest, most under-utilized business networking tool on the planet” because for as many people as I’m connected to, I get so few forward requests, so people aren’t trying to connect through me enough. So, step up your forward requests people and you will do a ton of business!

3. LinkedIn Groups – I absolutely love LinkedIn Groups for a few reasons. Firstly, if you start them about a topic with a decent amount of interest in a particular industry like say “Internet Marketing”, “Affiliate Marketing”, “SEO” or whatever it may be, people searching for Groups on LinkedIn will find them and join them. I have been running a Group called Linked Affiliate for the last 2 years and it’s up to 5700 members and gets 4-5 new joins a day. So, it’s a great way to build a focused group of professionals in a certain industry. Another great feature with Groups is they let you email blast your entire member base once every 7 days through their mailing system. It can only be a text email, but the web addresses and email addresses hyperlink in the email so you can link to sites. If you run a Group of decent size you will have to “moderate” it by actively managing the posts, responding to people, and posting new topics, to really maximize the activity in the Group. LinkedIn recently made all the Group discussion topics spiderable by the search engines, so that content gets into search which is great. I use an outsourced moderator to make sure my Group stays spam-free and active, which is key to running a good Group.

4. Syndicating Content into Groups – As a LinkedIn user you have the opportunity to join 50 Groups, which is a decent amount, which they will probably raise. One of the nice things about being a group member is you can start topics and comment on other topics just like a forum. You can also Like and Star people’s topics to interact easier, although this is a work in progress and will probably get better. LinkedIn Groups can be a great way to syndicate your blog or article content because through tools like Addthis and Sharethis you can “share” your posts into as many LinkedIn Groups that you are a member of. However, don’t share in Groups that aren’t relevant to your topic, otherwise it’s spammy and may get you kicked out of that Group. Also, when you share into Groups, it goes into the daily email updates that gets sent to Group members which brings more syndication and traffic. The last point about Groups is that you can actually reach out to up to 500 other Group members even if you aren’t connected with them on LinkedIn. But again do it with a strategy and purpose and you will be effective.

5. LinkedIn Recommendations – Getting LinkedIn Recommendations from your LinkedIn connections is a great way to build up your good reputation as a professional. People tend to leave really good recommendations for each other, so they look really impressive to people checking out your LinkedIn profile. You can build up your Recommendations by leaving them for other people first, then they are emailed and given the opportunity to leave you one back. I have 130 Recommendations which has taking forever to build up, working it now and then, but they are really impressive and it works in my favor with new business and people in general wanting to work with me and my company. So definitely make sure to work to increase your Recommendations and you can start by leaving ones for other people you think highly of.

6. Status Updates – LinkedIn has recently made people’s status updates visible like Facebook’s, with similar sharing options, but it’s still need work. But you can definitely do a lot of interacting within the status updates and build the relationship with your connections. They also send an email with a list of your connection’s status updates and if they changed companies or profile information which is a great opportunity to comment back on the site, which they are notified about. They more you pro-actively interact and comment with your connections, the more they will return the favor, which their connections may see.

7. Company Profile – LinkedIn recently rolled out Company Profiles which is a great feature! you can really build it out with all your staff, company details, services you offer, and Recommendations for your company (which are separate from personal Recommendations). Here is a great LinkedIn blog post about Company Profiles that will explain most of what needs to be said about it. I think it’s a must though personally for your business.

These are some ways to maximize your time and effectiveness on LinkedIn. It really is a tremendous business networking tool and should be focused on if you are interested in doing any kind of business development or expanding your company. I didn’t even go into Jobs, but LinkedIn is a great place to find companies to work for and if you have a nice LinkedIn Profile if may just get you hired over someone with just a resume. You can also find jobs through connections that may know a company hiring. So from a job finding outlook its a great tool. I hope you enjoyed my little article on LinkedIn and some strategies to maximize it. Let me know what you think and I look forward to hearing from you!

Experience Advertising CEO Evan Weber to Speak at Affiliate Summit East 2011 – LinkedIn Session

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

Hey all! Amazing news! I was selected to as a speaker at Affiliate Summit East NYC this year. This is a great honor and privilege to be sure. I will do my best to bring all the knowledge and tips I can pack into my hour session. I will be speaking about how to maximize your LinkedIn presence for business. As most of you know, LinkedIn is the largest business-oriented social network and just went IPO for a billions of dollars in valuation. The company has a ton of momentum behind them and now the have the cash to become an even more amazing site. I will be discussing how to maximize your LinkedIn presence and grow your business. Topics to include: maximizing your profile, making connections, business development strategies, groups, recommendations, and advertising.

Here is the Facebook Event page that you can RSVP to. You have to register to attend Affiliate Summit to get in the door. I look forward to seeing all of you there! And you know I will bring it! :)