Over the past year I began using LinkedIn to connect with the true insiders of the industries I market my business and executive coaching service to. What I found was that there are some real strict guidelines you must follow to become viewed at as a “real” value to others, for them to want to connect with you. Many of my coaching clients ask me routinely for what I consider the most important strategies to use on this top social media networking professional site, here are five good tips to start with:
1. Start slow: Check out what other people are doing on LinkedIn. Figure out why you want to use the service and what you wish to accomplish. Is it looking for a job, new business connections, or perhaps becoming an insider in your industry? Figure this out first, then move on. The great thing about it is that you can edit anything you type on your profile page if you change your game plan down the line. Statistically, LinkedIn profiles with photos are seven times more likely to be viewed than those without. Make sure you have an appropriate image.
Then start off by scanning job descriptions or areas of the networking site that interest you. Look for industry websites, and information from professional conference materials to identify your field’s keywords, then sprinkle them throughout your profile.
To build your list of connections, start taking advantage of other social media networks. Find people who blog about your professional interests or use Twitter. Try checking their Twitter streams regularly, retweet their posts, respond to any of their questions and ask for clarifications where appropriate.
You might just be surprised how a few casual tweets or online exchanges can result in a strong relationship. Once you’ve established trust, you are now ready to make a LinkedIn connection and expand your network.
2. Keep the reader in mind when typing out your profile. Short, but concise, paragraphs work best because they are more likely to be read than if they were long. Before you post and publish it, proof-read it out loud. Does it actually read like you want it to? Remember, you are trying to look like a professionals professional. Headline. Remember that your prospects will spend no more than about 10 seconds deciding whether to click through to your profile, and your headline is your make-or-break chance to capture their interest – so make it count! Don’t just list your job title or position, but instead use your headline to say who you are, what sort of person or company you can help, and what you will help them to do. Think about the person you want to find you, then speak to them and describe what you can do for them.
Summary. Once you’ve caught their attention enough for them to visit your profile, use the Summary section to elaborate. Your Summary should build on your headline and describe what you’re passionate about, what your business does, what problems you can solve, and why you’re qualified to solve them. Use the Specialties section of your Summary to give a succinct list of the skills and abilities that set you apart.
Additional Information. Do you have a website? A blog? A Twitter account? If they position you well and reflect your desired image, list them. Given them a name more interesting than “my website” or “my blog” (click “Other” when prompted) to entice your visitors to click. If you’ve received an honor or award or hold membership in groups that enhance your desired image, include them. Be cautious about adding “interests”, and remember you’re addressing a potential client, not a hiring manager. That said, listing one or two interests can give it a more personal touch, if that’s what you’re after.
3. A good technique for gain recommendations is to first give them. Look at your current connections and provide them with a recommendation. Be genuine and keep the fluff stuff out. Follow that up by sending them a message letting them know what you did and ask if they would reciprocate if they feel inclined.
4. When you join a group on LinkedIn make sure you participate. Post questions and answer them too. make discussion and news entries. This adds value and gives you exposure. Check out who the members are which is a great way to identify valuable contacts.
5. Upload a professional photo. Even if you need to use your local photographer, it is well worth it. For $40-$50 you can have get a package of professional photos made. make sure you are dressed in proper business attire. use this photo on all of the social media sites you are a member of because you are your brand. The more professional you make yourself look, the more people will read your profile and want to connect.
If you are out to attract prospective customers, you owe it to yourself and the financial future of your business to learn everything you can about social media.
Become A Research Ninja On Companies In LinkedIn
One of the most useful functions on LinkedIn is the ability to learn more about companies. I know for me, I’ve made countless contacts there to help grow my businesses exponentially. When you click on the COMPANY tab on the toolbar at the top of any LinkedIn page you can search for companies using either keywords or a company name. When you click on a company in the search results, you will get what Linkedin refers to as a company profile.
On the top left of a company’s profile, you will see general company information and the company’s logo. When you click “more” below the summary you should see the specialties section of the company profile. On the lower right hand side of the screen, you will find company statistics, which are either entered by a designated company official or garnered by Linkedin from public information.
Here are some of the items I find useful from company pages on Linkedin when searching around for new contacts and company’s I may want to work with. You can typically access this information by clicking insightful statistics about a (company name) employees located in the right column of the company profile:
- A list of all company employees who are in your network
- The total number of employees who have Linkedin accounts
- Names of new hires at the company
- A list of the company’s current job postings on Linkedin (accessed by clicking the Careers tab at the top of the company’s profile).
- New titles of company employees who have updated their Linkedin accounts to reflect recent promotions
- Names of peopple who have recently departed from the company
- A list of geographical areas the employees of the company call home
- A list of the employees who have the most recommendations
- A list of the other company profiles people are viewing
- Information on where employees worked before and after their employment with the company
On a company’s profile page you can also find graphs that include statistics Linkedin has generated about the company’s employees like:
- Job function composotion (eg – percentage of employees doing general and administrative work, research and development).
- Years of work experience
- Highest educational degrees acquired
- Most common universities attended
Talk about information overload right? Yes, it could be but I like to skim thru it all really quick. When you realize what type of information is available to you about the company as a whole and about its past and present employees and how you may be connected to them, you can begin to put together a strategy for using the information to accomplish any goals you may have.
When you have identified a company in which you have an interest in, Linkedin gives you the opportunity to receive notifications of any changes to that company’s profile pages. This can be done by clicking “Follow” (Company name) located next to the star on the right side of the page. You will then receive notifications on changes to the page as part of your network updates. I like to call this “stalking” to keep track of my targets.
Join LinkedIn Groups! It’s Powerful!
Social networking is all about people coming together, oh yea and if you are marketer like me, you can never have too many contacts. The groups function on Linkedin is powerful. So powerful, every moderator from the Grind is involved heavily with at least 30-40 at a time! Groups are one of the most effective tools of Linkedin for interacting with people in your industry, region or specialty. If you want my opinion, outside of your profile, Groups are the second most important feature of Linkedin.
Groups are simple to join and you can belong to as many as 50 at a time. Here are some good reasons why you should be using Linkedin Groups:
- You will be found – (DUH!)
- You will find other people with similar affiliations and interests.
- Joining groups in which your customers, vendors, supplies and others hang out in is a way to connect, answer questions and share resources, expertise and events.
- You will find job opportunities, because every group has a tab for available positions at members companies
- You can become an expert/authority figure by answering questions and posting information of interest for the entire group to see
- In groups, people talk about events they are involved in, and this may help you to find activities of interest to you
- You can promote an event you are hosting to a group of people with the same interests as you
- You can search within groups and communicate with members to whom you are not officially connected with
Need More Reasons To Join Groups?
1. Learn from your network
There is nowhere on the web but LinkedIn were senior professionals from every walk of life congregate and network. If you want access to industry gurus, academic thought leaders, or business leaders, LinkedIn is the place to go. Groups offer an exceptional opportunity to reach out to the people that you want to talk to most.
Starting or joining a group gives you the exact right context and setting to engage in focused dialogue and networking. LinkedIn groups are the cocktail parties or reading clubs to the vast stadiums of people that social media has become. I am confident in saying that you will find no greater learning experience than by participating in and moderating group discussions.
2. Discover your passion
You may not want to be at the front of an audience. You may not want to deal with thousands of people or position yourself as any kind of industry or professional expert. But I can tell you, LinkedIn groups is not about that.
Instead, they give you the chance to dive into what you are most passionate about professionally and explore your areas of interest with your peers and experts by your side. You can learn something new and meet someone new every day; groups are your chance to be a student again.
3. Engage with your community
If you have a company blog or perhaps have set up your own website, you know how you sometimes feel like you are talking to an empty room. LinkedIn is no empty room. By forming a tightly knit member community and then actively participating in the discussions, group managers enjoy unprecedented access into professional fields and experts.
As a group moderator, you can pick out choice discussions to feature and call attention to members in order to form relationships with your members. It’s easy to start or feature discussions, and then comment and engage with your community.
4. Develop a focused audience
A new member joins LinkedIn every second. Membership has grown to over 100 million members. With features like LinkedIn Today however, people are now seeing LinkedIn not just as an online resume, but as a place to find content and engage in discussion.
LinkedIn groups lets you tap into the one true platform for daily professional conversation. Not only can you experience rapid membership growth because of this traffic, but more importantly, you can also develop a focused member base.
5. Deliver high quality, curated content
If you start a group that you are passionate about, that will show through in your group management. LinkedIn’s made it easier than ever with new group moderation tools to monitor membership and discussion.
One of the most important ways to give back to a group is to share industry articles and interesting LinkedIn group discussions. LinkedIn’s group announcement feature and the ability to pick a daily manager’s choice allows you to easily share your relevant content with the group. It’s a great way to participate with your members and get feedback.
All the leads you can handle, from nearly every faucet of every Industry in the world! You’ve got the blueprint, now make it happen!