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11 Ways to make the most out of LinkedIn

Submitted by on Monday, 14 September 20095 Comments

linkedin-logoLinkedin is a powerful yet underutilized social network.  While LinkedIn pales in size vs. Facebook, it can provide significant opportunities for marketers.  Unfortunately, many Linkedin users never get further than creating a profile and adding a few friends.  Here are 11 tips to get more out of LinkedIn.

1. Import your contacts

How many people you know counts on LinkedIn.  The best way to start building your LinkedIn network is to import contacts from your email accounts.  It is simple to do and you’ll be surprised at how many people you already know are on LinkedIn.  Re-import your contacts from email every few months – you can add new contacts to LinkedIn this way or some of your existing contacts may have joined in the mean time.  Keep your contacts up to date.

2. Join a Group

Search for LinkedIn groups that are relevant to you.  Chances are there are already LinkedIn groups set up for groups that you already belong to in real life – professional organizations, alumni groups, industry groups, work groups, etc.  By joining a group you can increase your visibility and reach within LinkedIn.  Search for and join relevant groups to connect with people in your target.

3. Optimize your Profile for Search

Search engine optimization isn’t just for websites and google.  What you may not know is that a lot of people search for partners, business contacts, job candidates, etc on LinkedIn.  Make sure that your profile, summary and description contain key-words that will help relevant people to find you.

Example: I received a business request from a company in the social media space looking to do business with P&G.  They searched for “P&G” and “Social Media” and found that I formerly worked at P&G and am now in the social media training and consulting space.

4. 10 Minutes, Twice a Week

Commit to spending 10 minutes twice a week on LinkedIn.  Each time you login add more contacts (the Linkedin “people you may know” is generally pretty effective), participate in groups and answer some questions. Being active on Linkedin matters. LinkedIn sends out summary emails with recent activity as well as group activity to members.  Just by being active your name will appear in email summaries of people in your network, increasing your visibility.

5. Find Prospects

LinkedIn can be a great first step to finding specific, targeted individuals.  You can search LinkedIn by company, groups, keywords, current & past employer and industry (to name a few).  LinkedIn can help you find the right people in the right organization to connect with.  In addition, you can see who in your network already knows that person, and how many degrees away the separation might be.

6. Get Introduced

One of the features of LinkedIn is to “get introduced”.  If you are trying to connect with a prospect that is not a first connection (i.e. you don’t know them and can’t add them to your network yourself) you can ask someone else in your network to introduce you.  In requesting an introduction be sure to outline 1) why you want to be introduced, 2) how you would like to connect with the person, 3) why it is a benefit for the person you want to be introduced to.  This can be a great way to expand your network.

7. Answer Questions

LinkedIn has a questions section, where people in the community can post and answer questions.  Answering relevant questions can increase your visibility on LinkedIn outside of your network.  It also positions you as an expert in the area.

8. Participate in Groups

Don’t just join groups, participate in them.  Start or join in discussions, post news items, check out the job boards.  By participating in groups you’ll appear in the group digest emails that get sent out to group members.  This increases your visibility among members of the group.  Be careful about shameless self-promotion – try to post links and discussions that are truly of interest and relevant to the group.

Example: I promoted my recent BootCampDigital training courses in the LinkedIn groups and got a number of participants to attend my training.

9. Use The Apps

linked-in-apps-screenshot-copyLinkedIn Apps are a great way to beef-up your profile.  You can use the SlideShare app to post presentations or Blog apps to link your blog posts into your LinkedIn profile.  These apps can help showcase your knowledge and expertise and further position you as a leader and expert in your area.  You can also use the TripIt app so that people in your network know where you’ll be and when.  If you attend industry events this can be a great way to see others in your network that will be there.

10. Update Your Profile

Update your profile often.  Keep your LinkedIn profile up-to-date with all relevant information so that people in your network know what you are up to.  Also, when you update your profile it shows up in emails to LinkedIn members with activity for the week.  This helps keep you top of mind with the people in your network, and helps them know what you are up to.  You can also use the status update for smaller updates that you want your network to be aware of.

11. Download your Contacts

Step 1 is to upload your contact, step 11 is to download them.  Linkedin is the ONLY social network that allows you to take your contacts with you.  You can download names, emails and information of all of your LinkedIn contacts and keep it as a backup.  This gives you more flexibility since you actually own your contacts.

How do you make the most of LinkedIn?  Share your LinkedIn success stories in the comments.

5 Comments »

  • Ryan Miller said:

    Thanks for the LinkedIn reminder. I think its the social network that can be the most beneficial for growing your business and personal brand, and its often (at least for me) the most neglected.

    Going to try and devote some more time to expanding my network and participating in the groups. I couldn’t believe how many SM discussion boards are out there, so hopefully I’ll have SOMETHING to add.

    I also wonder if people should start putting their LinkedIn contact info on business cards. That would make it much easier to keep a running Rolodex of contacts, as well as keep the network top of mind.

    I do find the applications a bit limiting as I would love to stream not only my blog posts, but also a Twitter feed, etc into my profile.

    Quick question: What’s the etiquette for adding someone to your network? I know you can ‘get introduced’ but do you think it’s acceptable to add peeps like ‘bigger’ bloggers and SM Gurus to my network even if we’re not buddies in real life? Or is it more like a Facebook standard where you really should know someone before asking to be part of their network? Perhaps a LinkedIN rules of the road post is in your future???

  • MARY MICHAEL CALVIN said:

    Great reminder and direction for those of us who are new or not as proficient at this as we could/should be. I have passed this on to friends who are just beginning their relationship w/Linkedin and I think it will be very beneficial!

  • Krista Neher (author) said:

    Ryan

    Thanks for your insightful comment. I really appreciate you stopping by my blog :) LinkedIn etiquette isn’t very well defined and requires judgment. My opinion is that if you are sending a connection request to someone who might not know you I would include a personal note explaining how you are connected and why you want to connect with them on LinkedIN. I think that this increases your chances of them accepting the connection. If you get too many declined requests LinkedIn will suspend your account – so you want to be careful.

    Mary – Glad you found this helpful :) Linkedin is so powerful but many people fail to realize the full potential.

  • Joanne Maly said:

    Krista,

    Such a concise, clear and helpful LinkedIn overview. Thank you.

    Your post served as a good reminder for me to return to my once-a-week group-comment habit that used to provide me with some nice new business leads. As the workload increased however, I found that keeping up with LinkedIn has seemed to be challenging – especially, along with updating all the other ‘necessary’ social media resources.

    One LinkedIn app that I have found useful as well, is the automatic blog posting uplink. Google Analytics has shown a definite in LinkedIn traffic coming to the ‘Simply Said’ blog since I downloaded that available LI app.

    Fyi, I wanted to let you know that your Marketess blog is linked as one of the “Blogs I Like” on the Simply Said blog.

    Best wishes.

  • Great Linked In Tips said:

    [...] for Linked In, invited a few connections and haven’t done much yet.  So read this article -11 Ways to Make the Most of Linked In.  It’s a great list of how to use Linked In to get the most out of it.  Tips #3 and #4 are [...]

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