There are over 242 million business professionals on LinkedIn looking to connect, engage, network and share a rich source of opportunity. If you are not leveraging this valuable resource it’s time to make it a top priority! Here are five LinkedIn insights that can help you revamp, leverage and build your professional network.
Firstly, define your goals and what you would like to accomplish. LinkedIn can be used to target many different goals such as generating referrals, career opportunities, connecting with those with similar professional backgrounds, driving traffic to a website and most importantly building brand awareness. Decide what you are attempting to accomplish and start to track your results.
Secondly, define your brand awareness for your current and future needs. Start by looking at your job skills and endorsements. This is the one area you have control over other than your career and educational history. If someone is looking at your profile, the top ten list will appear and you can certainly add in additional skills. Take a look at your profile and see what’s missing.
If you are thinking about making an advance into management, then you need to reorganize your skills section to fit those new job characteristics for your future aspirations. If you find something is missing in those skill sets, this is that time to build them. What many do not know about the skills and endorsement section is that it recently just became searchable so that recruiters who are looking for particular skill sets can know zoom on what they require.
~ Over 90% of recruiters use LinkedIn. ~
Thirdly, grow your LinkedIn connections to grow your opportunities for professional link ups. This also means get out of your office and set aside time for professional events and meetings. WICT Washington DC/ Baltimore offers several event opportunities each year so plan ahead and make the time. Bring a stack of business cards and set a goal to make a specific number of connections. And once you make a connection, reach out to that connection within 24 to 48 hours. Do not just state, the vague ‘join my network’ but take time to write a personal note.
For instance, “Jane it was nice to meet you at last night’s WICT event, would you mind taking 15 minutes to talk to me more about Video On Demand’s future?” OR ‘Jane, it was nice to meet your at last night’s WICT event, would you mind taking 20 minutes to speak to me about the work that you do?”
The most important rule with connecting on LinkedIn is that you want quality over quantity. Make sure your network is relevant otherwise a non-relevant connection may start pitching to your connections.
Additionally, you can also look at adding connections through LinkedIn Groups, Companies and even through Find Alumni. For example if you are looking to connection to a specific organization or job, click on the Find Alumni link under ‘My Network.’ Then you can search by location, career and company. On the other hand, ‘Groups’ allow for connections with specific interests like lobbying, women professional leaders, human resource, accounting, etc. These connections can be helpful when trying to find others on similar career paths but in different companies or different industries.
Fourthly, you can post articles on LinkedIn that will show up on each of your current connections feeds or you can post in groups. This is a great word of mouth outreach where others have the opportunity to follow you and to catch your future articles. But be aware that your articles must be professional, well written and topic appropriate. Keep your articles around 500 words so not to overwhelm your readers. Or you can just provide a comment and link to an article your found interesting. This can keep you top of mind with out having to have a personal conversation with each connection.
Fifthly, take the free online training courses to learn skills to help you become more knowledgeable with Linked In. The more you learn the more you’ll follow through on your LinkedIn Action Plan and Goals. LinkedIn provides several webinars for learning:
- Creating an Online Presence
- Engaging with your LinkedIn Network
- LinkedIn Job Search
- LinkedIn Premium
- How to Get the Most out of LinkedIn Company Pages
To recap start with defining your goals, your brand, this will become your action plan. Then plan ahead and set time aside to make new one on one connections and virtual like interest connections. Learn from yourself and identify strengths and weaknesses throughout the process. Then take the LinkedIn training to build your LinkedIn skills. Even setting aside 10 minutes a day can impact your success results, schedule it on your calendar today. Take the time to invest in yourself for a successful professional future.