5 tips on How to Be Successful with LinkedIn (and #5 is the most important!)
With over 277 million users, LinkedIn is the world’s largest online professional network. 40% of users check in at least once a day! Are you viewing LinkedIn as a critical place to spend your time?
In order to make LinkedIn work for you, you have to put in the time to build influence and relationships.
5 Tips for LinkedIn Success
1.Build a strong foundation
It almost goes without saying that your LinkedIn profile is your online professional presence, by default. If a prospective client searches for your name online, chances are your LinkedIn profile is going to be at or near the top of those search results.
What kind of impression do you want to make?
Your LinkedIn profile also follows you around LinkedIn. Whenever you participate in commenting, sharing, or group discussions, your headshot and your headline summary are going to be right there. Same goes for updating your LinkedIn status. Are you looking professional?
To build a strong foundation on LinkedIn, you need to do a bang-up job on your profile. Complete your profile, have a professional image, make sure it’s well written, embed rich media files that showcase your insights, and include links for where you can be found online.
2.Build an Intelligent Network
I believe it’s important to build a high-quality network, but that you shouldn’t limit your connections. I am willing to connect with anyone on LinkedIn if it makes sense to connect, a personalized invitation is sent, and the person has a professional profile (including a picture).
Building a large network on LinkedIn is perfectly acceptable, as long as it is an intelligent network. Depending on what content you are sharing out there in the world, you will determine who you attract into your network. An intelligent network means that you are connecting with people when it makes sense to do so from a personal or professional perspective.
You may not need all those connections today, but what about 5 years from now? Invest in your network now in order to have the foundation in place later. You never know what can happen in 5 years.
What I began to see was that my network evolved into a handful of intelligent “clusters”, other than a few outliers here and there. (You can conduct this same analysis on your network through the LinkedIn InMaps (http://inmaps.linkedinlabs.com/) application)
For example, my intelligent network includes people who live and work in my community (geography), people who work in my industry (digital and social media marketing), people whom I went to school with or have worked with in the past, and people who are members of my business “target markets” (financial advisors, professionals, and firms).
A diverse and relevant network will open up all kinds of doors and opportunities you may have never imagined!
At this time, you are unable to target your LinkedIn status updates to your network “clusters” from your personal profile, but my hope is that this will happen at some point. Until then, be sensitive about what you share and make sure the content appeals to a more diverse audience. It’s an art to be able to share universal content that appeals your niche audience as well as your entire network
3.Add Consistent Value
I can’t tell you how many new clients I’ve brought into my business who have said to me “I see you on LinkedIn”.
If you want to stand out and be memorable on LinkedIn, you have to show up on a consistent basis AND you have to always be adding value.
Adding value means that you are sharing only the very best and most relevant content with your network. Share content that can help your network members get smarter, solve a problem, feel better, or achieve more in their lives. Certainly, there are universal themes that hit these categories, but it’s important to share industry-specific content as well from time to time. That way, you can position yourself as an authority in your industry.
If you are publishing your own valuable and educational content from your blog and sharing that on LinkedIn, you might be surprised at the trust and influence you can build with your network. If you truly want to be viewed as an authority and an expert, you need to be publishing your own insights.
At the end of the day, when you show your face on LinkedIn, you want to be an influencer, not a marketer. You want to focus on helping your network members get to the next level in their personal or professional lives by being consistently visible and valuable.
4.Promote and Connect Others
As a former financial advisor, I learned early on that helping the members of my network was the quickest way to grow my network, and my business. This was long before LinkedIn. I had to map out my network by hand and had no idea of my 2nd or 3rd degree connections.
The problem is, most people don’t focus on this aspect of networking because they are too busy trying to market their own wares.
Analyze your network for opportunities to promote your contacts and connect relevant contacts together through introductions and referrals. Can you identify people within your LinkedIn network who can mutually benefit from knowing one another? Can you put together meet-ups or small group events with a cross section of your network?
Bringing people together is a very valuable skill and one that positions you as an influencer.
Also, make your connections look good. Promote, acknowledge, and congratulate them publicly. In today’s transparent and wired world, it’s not difficult to learn a lot about someone and find a way to give them a thumbs up!
These kinds of activities create tremendous value for others, and as a result, you will achieve some business wins for yourself in the process.
5.Have a Relationship Mindset
This is my most important tip. If you don’t go into LinkedIn with a relationship mindset, none of the other tips are going to work well for you.
LinkedIn members are looking to build and grow their networks, and that requires building relationships (http://www.stephaniesammons.com/9-ways-to-build-a-smarter-linkedin-network/).
You’re not going to know how to connect and promote others without getting to know the members of your network.
If you build deeper relationships with the right people in your network, you might be amazed at how willing they are to help you grow your visibility and influence.
Leadership happens in conversations as do many other good things such as cultivating trust, likability, and influence. When you cultivate advocates and supporters because you’ve taken the time to create a relationship with them through conversations on LinkedIn, those individuals will help to grow your business for you. It’s just that simple.
Strive for engagement on LinkedIn. Think of questions you can ask and comments you can share
In a recent post about email management that I shared on LinkedIn, I asked my network how they handled their own email management. The post received a like or two, but it also received a nice handful of comments. These conversations are visible not only to your networks, but also to networks of those who comment.
In other conversations that started from a single status update, I’ve received responses from LinkedIn members sometimes weeks later. Posts with engagements tend to have a longer shelf-life.
Having a relationship-mindset on LinkedIn will set you apart. Starting conversations encourages others to get involved, which opens the door to expanding your network with people you’ve never seen or met before.