5 Strategies to Maximize Your Success on LinkedIn
LinkedIn has been building professional networks across the globe since 2002. Now, they boast over 330 million users.
Their slogan, ‘Relationships Matter,’ captures the essence of the service and reminds users that the ultimate goal for everyone should be to seek relevant, meaningful connections.
And to do that, your approach matters… a lot.
Here are 5 strategies you need to adopt to maximize your chances of success on LinkedIn:
1. Show & Sell
How much time have you really spent on your LinkedIn profile?
According to Forbes.com, 35% of users access their LinkedIn accounts on a daily basis. That’s a ton of potential clients and colleagues perusing their network, looking to make valuable new contacts.
So what will they see when they click your name? How are you showing others what you’re all about? How are you selling them your credibility?
First and foremost, your profile needs a photo of you! Like all other social media bios, people are more likely to connect with someone they can see. Whether it’s a professional headshot featuring a warm and inviting smile, or a picture of you doing something you love, an image alone can draw connections in.
Your profile also needs to communicate who you are and what you’re all about.
I’m talking about top-to-bottom thoroughness – a summary, your experience, education, volunteer and project work, social media handles and contact info. Leave no stone unturned, but more importantly, show as many sides of yourself as possible.
(And, no, just copying and pasting your resume into the different fields isn’t going to cut it.)
2. Speak Up
With approximately 2 million active groups on LinkedIn, there’s something for everyone to discuss.
So start talking!
The easiest way to draw attention to yourself is to spend time joining groups either in your field (where you will be armed with existing experience and knowledge) or in other relevant areas of interest. Many are moderated by like-minded professionals who are often more than happy to help you connect with current members, guide you towards useful resources and generally provide support to the entire community.
Whenever possible, you should start thought-provoking discussions.
Bring up current industry trends, common dilemmas that most members likely face, or even seek answers to questions you may legitimately have. Not ready to start a conversation? No problem, comment on the updates and posts submitted by others.
Failing to engage with other LinkedIn users – especially those in groups that are right up your alley – is like standing still on the dance floor… it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.
A great way to bolster your network and prove to your connections that you’re serious about LinkedIn’s potential is by sharing meaningful, practical content.
Whether it’s articles, infographics, links to websites, media files such as podcasts or webinars… spreading great ideas and useful knowledge shows that you’re thinking of others. It humanizes the LinkedIn experience and in a way, says “we’re on the same page and I feel like this will help you.”
Who doesn’t want to connect and engage with someone that looks out for them?
In some cases, sharing other LinkedIn user content can result in connections with the creator themselves, which may even lead to collaboration or further networking opportunities.
4. Soak It In
LinkedIn offers you a dizzying array of channels, ‘Influencers,’ and companies to follow and integrate into your homepage. In reality, there’s not enough time in the day to be in tune with all of it.
But the fact that Pulse, (which is typically located under the Interests heading), offers a fully-customizable content dashboard which you can tailor to your needs and interests, is invaluable.
Set up strategically – your homepage will greet you with the latest from the thinkers and organizations you trust the most. This will save you time, allow you to remain up-to-speed on breaking content (which you should be sharing, of course!), and equip you with timely information you can use in your day-to-day with clients and colleagues.
5. Spread The Love
Providing recommendations for your colleagues and LinkedIn connections can carry real weight and help them paint a clearer picture of their abilities and experience.
You should spend some time each week, month, etc., and identify someone in your network who you want to recognize for their efforts or expertise. Write truthfully, of course, dig deep to showcase the very best of the person.
Hey, if you’re lucky, someone may even write a recommendation for you!
And if you do receive one, it’s natural to either a) want to reciprocate and offer a recommendation of your own or b) feel obligated to. But you should be mindful about how (and when) you go about it… the fact is that the “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine” LinkedIn recommendation doesn’t hold up very well upon closer examination… and may even come off as artificial when perceived as more a mutual favor than an objective testimonial.
Do you agree that the strategies above are critical to a successful LinkedIn experience? Are there any others you use to strengthen your network or presence? Feel free to discuss in the Comments section below!
*Originally published on February 5, 2015 for YouTern.com*