Effective Use of LinkedIn

Monday, November 04, 2013

LinkedIn offers businesses a fantastic opportunity to network without ever leaving the comfort of their desks. The problem we face though is that most execs see LinkedIn as no more than a recruitment tool. 

Whilst it's true that recruiters and job seekers alike have wholeheartedly embraced all that LinkedIn has to offer, there are a host of facilities available for those wanting to network, build relationships and sell their services aswell. What can be confusing is that quite often all of these things are happening in the same forums. What everyone needs to learn when they start using LinkedIn is to filter, filter everything that isn't relevant to you, so that you can concentrate on what is relevant to you.

Personal Profile

Firstly, you want to make sure your personal profile sells you. You want it to say to people "this person is great, they are good at what they do, they are interesting, they have interesting things to say, and you want to get to know them"

In your profile overview talk about who YOU are, don't just talk about WHAT you do. Here are some questions to get you thinking:

  • How did you get where you are in your career?
  • What inspires you?
  • What makes you stand out from other people that do the same thing as you?
  • Do you do any voluntary or charity work?
  • Have you worked on any well-known or inspirational projects?
  • What do you do in your spare time which is maybe a bit different?

You can talk about individual roles within those roles in the Experience section.

Another thing, I recommend is to try and get written recommendations from connections you have worked with or for. Now I'm not talking those endorsements that sit at the top of the page whenever you log in, they are practically worthless because of the way they are abused, I am talking about the actual written recommendations which will sit underneath the relevant position in your Experience section. These can add weight to the position, as people need to take the time to write them, and they need to know you to write a recommendation.

You should also consider adding examples of work done to your positions aswell, known on LinkedIn as portfolio's, these can not only add some examples of work such as Videos, Blog Posts, Presentations but they also add some colour to an otherwise very text heavy page.

Groups

I always say to anybody I am working with on LinkedIn that they need to think of the Groups much like they would an external networking group. Each discussion is a small group of people having a discussion, and you have to find the group which best suits you. What you don't want to do is spend time in a discussion which adds nothing to you or anybody else.

When you join a group sign up for daily digest emails, this way you will get a summary of new topics added, and topics which have a lot of discussion on them each day in your inbox. You can skim through them and click to go straight to discussions which you think you can add to. This will save you from having to manually scroll through every discussion in every group. 

If you would rather not have emails going into your inbox, social media platforms such as Hootsuite allow you to add your group feeds into your desktop so that you can get a summary view in one place. Hootsuite for example has the option to show most popular discussions so you can see those with a lot of activity.

Look for discussions started and including people you want to connect with, those people who are influencers and may recommend you to your target audience, or who are potential clients themselves. This is a great way to get in discussions with them, start talking to them on a regular basis. Once you've had discussions with them in a group, there is no reason why you can't add them to your contacts and send them a private message, extending the discussion further. 

Remember, treat this the way you would an actual networking event, if you met someone at a networking event who was a potential new client, you would take their business card then email them to develop the relationship. This is what you are doing by adding someone as a contact in LinkedIn.

Also, don't be afraid to promote your own content, events, job openings within groups. This is a great way to get people coming to you. Also, if you have poignant questions to ask, then ask them! Encourage discussion and become an active member of the community. 

Finally, don't restrict yourself to groups in your niche, think about where your target market will be, look at networking groups for your location, so if you are based in Surrey look for Surrey Networking groups, there will be numerous groups, some big and some small, but all with members from companies big and small.

Using linked in effectively from Richmond Marketing Consultancy