As the Internet buzzes with social media activity, knowing where to network can be a challenge.
While LinkedIn is still viewed by many as an online resume (huge mistake btw!) – it lives at the top of my list for professional networking.
Not spending any time on LinkedIn? Let me tell you why you should.
- LinkedIn operates the world’s largest professional network on the Internet with more than 347 million members in over 200 countries and territories.
- Professionals are signing up to join LinkedIn at a rate of more than two new members per second.
- Average time a user spends on LinkedIn is 17 minutes.
- There are 42 million unique mobile visitors each month.
- There are over 39 million students and recent college graduates on LinkedIn. They are LinkedIn’s fastest-growing demographic.
- LinkedIn provides extended visibility for the business professional looking to establish themselves as a subject matter expert.
- While Facebook, Twitter and other social sites build familiarity and awareness for your personal brand, LinkedIn is unique in its business focus. LinkedIn is a society designed to connect business professionals, marketers and vendors interested in building a community.
And did you know that of those 347 million members, 111 million are in the United States alone?
It’s easy to see that whether you’re looking for B2B or B2C connections, LinkedIn is the place to be.
So, what are you waiting for?
Let’s get you networking! (and don’t forget to grab the Infographic below)
Use LinkedIn to Become a Networking Superstar
1. Create a Captivating Bio
Did you know that adding a photo to your profile makes it 7 times more likely to be found in searches?
Or that filling out your most recent positions – the last two to be exact – makes your profile 12 times more likely to be found?
Simple updates like these make a BIG difference.
And they’re critical updates to make before you begin to make connections.
Take the time to make sure your LinkedIn profile is complete. There’s nothing worse than trying to connect with business professionals when you have an incomplete bio.
A few profile optimization suggestions:
- Add a profile photo
- List all the jobs or positions you’ve held, along with descriptions of your roles
- Have 5 or more skills on your profile
- Write a summary about yourself
- Fill out your industry and postal code
- Add where you went to school
And here’s a great Linkedin Profile checklist from Melonie Dodaro of Top Dog Social Media to get you started!
2. Get Into LinkedIn Groups
Join groups on LinkedIn and start a conversation or comment on topics relevant to your niche.
You will find groups by by clicking on “Interests > Groups” from your profile or searching keywords to identify groups with similar interests.
One of the groups that I manage is “Social Media Marketing Strategies for Business Professionals.” With over 34,000 members, this group is a daily opportunity to meet and greet other like-minded professionals.
Get Started with Groups
You have two options – join a group or create a group.
- Join a group
- Click on Groups and then “Groups Directory” to research featured groups that offer content you find interesting.
- Create a group
- Before you begin, do your homework. Think about who you’re trying to attract. Are there other groups already out there and what they are doing right or wrong in your opinion?
- How can you improve upon it and add value to the community?
- If you’re ready to start a group, take these steps:
- Move your cursor over Interests at the top of your homepage and select Groups
- Click the Create a group button on the right.
- Fill in the requested information. A red asterisk means it’s required.
- Click the Create.. button to create your group as an open group or a members-only group.
One final piece of advice from Mike Allton with The Social Media Hat is an important one — how to get involved in the conversation once you join a group.
After you join a LinkedIn Group, introduce yourself to the other members with a post describing how you found the group and what you hope to achieve through membership. It’s ok to talk about your position and your industry authority as long as it does not come across a self-promotional or spammy.
3. Make Your Connections Count
LinkedIn is an excellent way to connect with like-minded business professionals. There are, however, right ways and wrong ways to connect.
The right way? Strategically reaching out to people within your industry, niche or community. Creating relationships that are mutually beneficial.
The wrong way? Randomly sending out requests to simply “add to your numbers.”
And while we’re talking about LinkedIn requests, a big DON’T is sending one without customizing the standard LinkedIn email verbiage.
Whenever you send a friend request, LinkedIn will by default send your request along with this message: “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.” Sounds great, right? Wrong!
That cookie-cutter message doesn’t say anything about who you are or why you want to connect. Spend a few moments scripting out a short, personalized message.
Here are a couple of examples:
I have been a long-time fan of your blog and appreciate your valuable insight around the ______ industry.
As someone that also works within that space, I am always looking to connect with like-minded individuals. I’d love to connect and hope you’ll accept my request.
I see that we’re both connected through (name of person or group) and that we have a lot in common.
As someone that also works within (industry/niche), I am always looking to connect with like-minded individuals. I’d love to connect and hope you’ll accept my request.
Run a search on your current social media friends. You might be surprised who you’re not already connected to on LinkedIn. My friend Donna Mortiz with Socially Sorted was one of mine.
I’ve rectified that as of today!
4. Be a Connector
There’s no better way to make meaningful connections than to create them.
Know two people that have a lot in common? Introduce them!
Social networking is at its core about connection. So, why not be that connector? Share why you feel two people should connect and what it is that makes them a business match.
It’s easy and fun!
Here’s how to do it:
- Write a personal message
- Include details about each person’s background, strengths and skills
- Add in benefits (why they should connect)
- Finish with a Call to Action (CTA) that asks them to take action
Steps to Introduce Two LinkedIn Connections
- Search for one of the connection’s profiles using the search box at the top of your homepage.
- From results, click their name to view their profile.
- Click the Down arrow in the top section of the profile and select Share Profile.
- Enter each recipient’s name in the top box of the compose message page.
- Modify the message to explain how they could benefit from knowing each other. (see below)
- Click Send Message.
Hi Tom and Anne,
I wanted to take a moment and introduce the two of you. You’re both in the real estate industry and two incredible go-getters.
Tom is a 20 year real estate veteran and has run his own brokerage for the last 10. He’s always looking for great people and that’s why Anne came to mind immediately.
Anne is a top producing real estate agent that has been in the industry for 5 years. Over that time, she’s earned the reputation of being a compassionate, energetic and detail-oriented agent. She’s currently looking for a new brokerage and that’s why I thought of you Tom.
Anne, would you be so kind as to schedule a time to grab a cup of coffee with Tom? I know the two of you will hit it off!
5. Stay in Touch
Use LinkedIn’s handy “Keep in Touch” feature to keep you in front of your connections on a daily basis.Once you start making LinkedIn connections, make sure to stay in touch. Here's how! Click To Tweet
Click on Connections > Keep in Touch to get started.
From there you’ll see a list of people celebrating a special event – new job, birthday – and an easy way to say congrats or make a comment.
Another great way to stay in touch is through content sharing. Stay top of mind by consistently sharing relevant content to your LinkedIn profile.Peg Fitzpatrick, co-author of “The Art of Social Media” shares these thoughts,
LinkedIn is the place to show your smarts. I don’t recommend posting quotes as status updates here. I love them on Pinterest and Twitter but I don’t feel they carry enough weight for a LinkedIn update. Post at least one update per day and up to four per day spread out through the day to remain active in the LinkedIn stream.
If you’re ready to expand your reach and build your online network, then it’s time to capitalize on the vibrant LinkedIn community.
I guarantee that if you’re willing to put in the time, LinkedIn will help you reap valuable rewards.
Not only can it establish credibility, but also open doors of opportunity and expand your personal brand.
Ready to get started? Let’s connect!