Costing Yourself Connections: 5 LinkedIn Strategies to Increase Your Value to Others
“Our lives are defined by opportunities, even the ones we miss.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald
Boasting over 300 million members worldwide – LinkedIn has been building professional networks across the globe since 2002. 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.
But your approach matters too… and you may be sending people packing before they even have a chance to remember your name.
Here are 5 strategies you need to adopt immediately to maximize your chances of LinkedIn success:
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 and selling them on 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. But 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. Copying and pasting your resume into the different fields isn’t going to cut it.
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 about current industry trends, common dilemmas that most members likely face, or even seek answers to questions you may legitimately have. 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 really 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 colalboration or further networking opportunities.
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. In theory – and if you set it 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), and equip you with timely information you can use in your day-to-day with clients and colleagues.
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… and here’s why: The “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine” recommendation doesn’t hold up very well upon closer examination. It comes off as artificial and seems more like a mutual favour than anything else. Start letting others know how great your network is – just be careful when you do.
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!