Posted by Brian McCullough
Most business professionals are on LinkedIn at this point. LinkedIn tells us that:
– LinkedIn has over 65 million members in over 200 countries.
– A new member joins LinkedIn approximately every second, and about half of our members are outside the U.S.
– Executives from all Fortune 500 companies are LinkedIn members.
To me that states clearly that if you have almost ANY kind of business and are prospecting, LI will be a good resource for you. But just setting up a profile and dabbling once a week or so is not going to do much for your prospecting efforts. Below are a few tips that not many folks know about, but are powerful techniques for increasing your visibility and maximizing that “inbound marketing” that Social Media is known for.
- Create 3 saved searches. If you are doing a search on a company, person, industry or whatever, save your searches. At the top where you see the number of records in your search you’ll see a “save this search” button – you get 3 if you are at the basic level. LI will send you a weekly email, if you want, to get updates to your search.
- Recommendations are important, so ask for them. But make it easy. I first call or email my contact and ask if they will recommend me. If so, write the recommendation yourself – so you are sure that you are sending the right message. Be sure to talk about the problems you solved – that’s really the point, isn’t it?
- Use the Question and Answer area to gain more visibility on the Internet. On the question that you answer you will see a “share this” with a drop down menu. You can email your network, Digg it, Bookmark the question on Delicious, or use the link provided in your answer and link to your one of your blog posts, or somewhere else on your site to pull in traffic.
- Join groups that are in line with your business, your objectives or your hoped for job. Fish where the fish are. The more “on target” the group, the more valuable the content they provide, and the networking opportunities will be
- Use groups to expand your network, but be selective. In the groups tabs, you will see on called “other” with a drop down menu. Select members and you will see a list of all of the member in that group. Offer to connect with the ones that make sense. You might evaluate based on the size of their network, the type of company or industry they are in or how much interaction they have had with the group.
- Did you know you can export your connections? Go to “Contacts.” Then “Connections.” At the bottom of your Connections box is “Export Connections.” Export the connections and import them into your preferred address book. Do this frequently so you are consolidating all of your contacts in one spot (might be Outlook, Act, Salesforce)
- Refer to both the LinkedIn Learning Center and their blog. The Learning Center is full of great tutorials and blog has info on updated and new features with full explanations.
- For better and more valued networking, when you invite someone to join your network, don’t use the canned LinkedIn message. Say something about who you are and why you want to connect with that person.
- To really maximize your profile, find one or two LinkedIn specialists (Google that phrase, or check Amazon for authors) and look up their profile. Study carefully and learn by example
- Be creative about how you use the Answers section. It can be used to ask for solutions to problems, for resources, for vendors, for processes. But it can also be used to find good connections, or find other groups you may want to join, to deliver information on your products or services, IF it provides an answer to the question. Sometimes you’ve got the perfect solution!
- You can share a group with your connections – more value added to your community. When you are in a specific group, on the Overview tab you will see an option to “share group” and you can send an email to 50 of your connections
- Don’t hop over the “People You May Know” suggestions that appears in the upper right corner of your home page. Expand the box and start connecting with people on an ongoing basis. This is a great way to widen your circle.
LinkedIn is a powerful tool for almost any social media objective – branding, lead generation, or job searching. Invest some time in learning the finer points – you will be glad you did.
This is a guest post. About the author:
Elyse Tager is a social media strategist and founder of Elymedia. Elyse develops effective marketing strategies to help the small business grow significantly. Want to learn more about growing your business with Social Media? Sign up for Elyse’s free introductory teleseminar available at => http://www.elymedia.com