LinkedIn Tips for Professional Networking
It's hard to imagine life without Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. But, is there a digital world you might be forgetting, one that might be the most important of all? In other words, are you ‘LinkedIn’?
LinkedIn gains over two new members every second.
With so many other social networks claiming time, it's easy to forget the one that actually focuses on business. The number of users grows higher every year, a reported 467 million in 2016, and LinkedIn has become a standard tool for business professionals around the world. Using LinkedIn effectively starts with these three guiding principles: build your network before you need it, remember quality (not quantity) and think aspirational.
Here are a few ideas to get up to speed if you're guilty of ignoring your LinkedIn account:
1. Search and conquer
Ask yourself what kind of people you need in your network. Potential clients? Business owners? Coworkers? Use the LinkedIn search to find them, then filter down to the second connections — these are the people you share a contact with. You can expand your network in a matter of hours, but ALWAYS tell your new contact why you want to connect when you offer an invitation. Share updates and content from your new contacts to build a relationship.
2. Follow your flock
Similar to Facebook, you can follow pages and profiles. Find groups, businesses, influencers and others who have relevance to your business mission. Endorse the skills of others and they'll likely do the same for you, but make it real-time. Endorsing someone right after you meet with them can help you further your communications while providing a positive experience. Don't forget to connect with your corporate office and even your competitors.
3. Be active — contribute content
Set aside some time each day to actively network, a good rule of thumb is 15-30 minutes. Publish articles, tips, blog posts, interviews and any other long-form content. The content is fully attributed to you and might appear on the newsfeed of your contacts and their networks. Put your articles under the same personalized LinkedIn URL and share the URL in an email newsletter or elsewhere.
LinkedIn Groups are your new BFF. There are approximately 1.5 million groups on LinkedIn; join and participate in industry-related groups to help establish yourself and your agency as a thought-leader. Groups can also help you grow your community of advocates. So, try starting a conversation today.
4. Navigate your way to a growing network
LinkedIn offers a premium feature called LinkedIn Sales Navigator that provides a much richer experience for finding and connecting with others. This feature helps to speed up the process of contacting your network and connecting with new LinkedIn members. For example, the sales navigator provides tags to help you keep track of the number of times you've communicated with each contact.
5. Make it mobile
Install the LinkedIn app on your mobile devices and make a habit of growing your newsfeed, interacting with groups and liking or sharing content. The more you participate, the more visible you are. Don't forget to share your best content on other networks too — it's easy to tweet and share from LinkedIn, and it's a great way to drive people to your agency.
Before you do any of the above, spend some time on your profile. Put up a professional head shot and avoid these mistakes. Fill out your summary, tag your interests and consider a video or audio introduction. Remember — you never get a second chance to make a first impression!
Staci Cretu, Marketing
If you’ve run out of opportunities and prospecting tactics, it might be time to explore a new industry (or venture down the river, if you will).