LinkedIn reported at the end of last year they had 433 million registered users. That’s a huge pool of prospective customers for anyone operating in almost any business.

Not only are people registered, but they are actively engaged, too – 40% of users check LinkedIn daily and there were 45 billion (yes BILLION) page views from LinkedIn in Q1 2016 – and that number is only set to grow.

 

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Are you making the most of this opportunity?

Whether you’re new to LinkedIn or have been a raving fan for years, here are just a few hints and tips to help you get the most from your LinkedInexperience.

1. Best foot forward

If you were heading out to a face-to-face networking event you would probably do a few quick checks before you left your office, including: Am I dressed appropriately? Have I got business cards? You might also have practiced how you will introduce yourself and your services to new people.

In the online world, these things are taken care of by your profile.

Put a note in your diary right now to review your social profile every month. This only needs to take a few minutes; here’s your quick checklist:

  • Is my photograph up to date and appropriate?
  • Are my contact details up to date?
  • Is my profile description accurate and reflective of how I help people?
  • Finally, check your connections list for new prospects and clients, and send invitations to any that are missing.

 

2. Get involved

Online networking shouldn’t be any different to real-world networking. At a face-to-face event, if you’re standing in the corner just watching people from a distance, you won’t make any meaningful connections or generate opportunities for new business. Online networking is no different.

Getting involved doesn’t mean commenting on everything you see, nor does it have to be overly time-consuming.

Set time aside each day to check your newsfeed – look at what’s being shared in your network. Comment if you have something meaningful to add to the conversation, or simply like and/or share articles as appropriate. Your peers will always appreciate any exposure you can help them achieve!

3. Grow your network

If you only connect with your current customers and prospects you’ll be seriously limiting your reach on any social channel. Joining relevant groups and getting involved in the conversations that are happening is a great way to extend your network.

If you’ve engaged with someone in a group who you want to add to your network, send them an invitation with a personal message. This last part is important. Standard ‘I want to connect with you’ messages are a turn-off for many people – they show no effort or added value. Try something personal, such as:

Hi XXX (please use the person’s name – remember we're making this personal)
You made some great comments in XX group today – I really think we’re on the same page regarding XX. I wrote an article recently that may be of interest; you can find it here {add link}.

It would be great to keep in touch; would you like to connect?

Regards
Your name

One last point on groups – think about which groups your prospective customers are in, not just your industry peers. Take my network, for example; I’m not just looking to connect with other direct marketing professionals, I want to speak to business owners, marketing managers and auctioneers, to name just a few – so it’s important that I’m involved in conversations that matter to them.

4. Get writing

Networking isn’t a spectator sport. You have to be prepared to put your voice out there. What’s your specialist area? What do you know that will help other people? Answering these two questions will help you work out what to write about.

This does two things. Firstly, you’re helping people, and who doesn’t like to be helped? Secondly, you get to showcase your expertise without selling.

If writing isn’t your forte, you can always find great copywriters who’ll turn your ideas into articles. This doesn’t have to be a huge investment, but price will vary depending on the technical nature of what you are discussing, the experience of the writer and quality of the work, and the length of your article.

One key point to remember is you are sharing, not selling. To build a strong relationship you first have to give before you ask for something in return. Your articles should inform before asking for a sale.

5. Privacy and settings

This is a simple step to ensure your settings are optimal for growing your network and not engulfing yourself in information overload.

Check your profile settings. It only takes a few minutes and will help you and your network.

Go to your profile picture and select ‘Privacy’ and ‘Settings’ from the menu. Look through each tab and check that the settings are appropriate. Some key points to look out for:

  • Profile privacy – how much do you want to share with people outside your network?
  • Sharing profile edits – if you’re going to be doing lots of updates I recommend turning this off; your network doesn’t want to know every time you update your picture (especially if you’re trying out a few!).
  • Email frequency – don’t get bogged down in lots of emails, you can change your settings to get weekly digests if you prefer.

In conclusion

As your connections grow in number and strength you will have a huge resource to call on to market your products and services to.

Your network may not buy from you directly – but they will certainly increase the reach of your next promotion.

These are just a few of the ways to increase the value and strength of your network through LinkedIn. If you would like to discuss ways to dovetail your LinkedIn network with your marketing strategy, give me a call. You can reach me, Donna Peterson, on +1 860-210-8088 or email dpeterson@worldinnovators.com.

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