LinkedIn is a great social media platform for networking. It currently has over 610 million members. 97% of B2B marketers are using LinkedIn as a distribution channel for content. It’s the largest professional networking site in the world. It’s a great place for professionals to connect, for job seekers to find employment, and for employers to find new employees. When networking on LinkedIn, keep these eight tips in mind:
1. Complete your profile.
Make sure you have a complete and professional profile. First of all, you want to have a professional photo. Wear professional attire in the photo. You want it to look professional, but you also want to showcase some of your personality in the photo. You want to stand out from everyone else. Create a custom headline, and use the summary section to tell a compelling story about you and your career.
You want your current work situation and work history to be accessible. This may mean you need to encourage your current or previous employers to create LinkedIn company pages. When others are browsing your profile, it will be a lot more useful if they are able to look at the companies you’ve worked at or the company you’re currently working at.
2. When making new connections, craft a personal message.
When you make a new connection, you get a space to write a personal message. Talk about how you are connected (“I enjoyed meeting you at the conference last week”) or find something you like about their profile (“I enjoyed your blog post yesterday”). Introduce yourself as if you are meeting in real life. You want the message to be personal enough that it actually sounds like you are talking to them and not an automatic message they send to every new connection.
3. Discover the common ground you have with your connections.
You probably have a lot in common with many of your connections. Do you have mutual friends? Have you worked at the same location in the past? Do you both enjoy a certain blog? Explore any common ground that you do have and reach out to your connections. You don’t want to just connect with someone; you actually want to talk to them in a personal message. Finding common ground gives you something to help you strike up a conversation and expand your network.
4. Write and ask others for meaningful recommendations.
Taking the time to write a meaningful recommendation gives your connection a lot more value than endorsing a particular skill they may put on their profile. Writing a recommendation for someone shows that you are willing to take the time to help them out, and they will be more likely to help you out when you are in need.
On the other side of the coin, it’s important to have a few meaningful recommendations on your profile. You want to think of these as references. Ask your former co-workers or supervisors to write you recommendations.
5. Post content that is engaging.
Post interesting content about your niche or industry so you can position yourself as a subject matter expert in your field. It’s great to share articles and posts you’ve found on the web, but if you really want to present yourself as a talented thought leader, you may want to write some articles on LinkedIn. Use hashtags with your article and new people may actually find you on the platform as well.
Don’t just rehash the same information. Keep what makes you unique in your content. If you are re-posting something, put your own spin on the information. Differentiate yourself so that you’ll stand out from the crowd.
6. Join LinkedIn groups.
Joining groups is a great thing to do if you want to connect with others in your industry. Find groups that are related to your field. When you join a few active groups, new people will see your profile in your industry. You’ll then be able to connect with them and expand your network.
7. Connect outside of LinkedIn.
It’s great if you can connect on LinkedIn but don’t let it stop there. Once you have interacted with someone on LinkedIn, you may want to connect on a different platform, via email, or via text message. This is a good way to expand your network and build relationships. Having a few close relationships with people you’ve met from LinkedIn may come in handy.
8. Post content consistently.
You want to make sure you are posting consistently and regularly. If you are more active on LinkedIn, people will have more of an incentive to connect and interact with you. Whereas if you only post every now and then, your network on LinkedIn may forget about you.
LinkedIn can be quite the powerful networking tool. You never know what opportunities will come up because of connections you have made on the platform.
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