If you’re like many business professionals, you probably use LinkedIn for networking, job searching, talent hunting or searching for opportunities to form strategic partnerships.
But are you sure your profile is enhancing — not detracting — from your online brand and marketing efforts? For example, do you have a suitable profile photo and reliable summary? You need to look professional yet approachable (example: check out the photo on Arnold Siegel’s page). Your summary must be engaging and sprinkled with appropriate keywords. And for SEO and marketing purposes, your profile should be updated frequently.
After you’ve built the right profile, you can move on to take full advantage of the benefits LinkedIn has to offer. Follow these eight tips to grow your LinkedIn network and, along with your network, grow your opportunities as well.
1. Add Contacts You Already Have
One of the most effective yet under-the-radar features LinkedIn offers is the ability to sync your email address book. When you use the sync feature, you’ll get a list of suggested LinkedIn members to connect to. Connection requests are only sent with your permission, so if your grandma’s one of your email contacts, you don’t have to send a connect request to her unless you want to. It’s entirely up to you.
Sync your email contacts periodically to add new connections you’ve made. And remember to send connect requests to participants after meetings and conversations.
2. Endorse Others First
Go through your connections, identify those you’ve worked with and endorse their skills. Endorsing skills of other often results in connections returning the favor. If they don’t, a simple polite message requesting endorsements is perfectly acceptable.
Proactively manage endorsements. Your main area of expertise may be skewed away from your main core. Choose which endorsements to show and which not to show in the Skills section of your profile.
3. Ask for Recommendations
Recommendations differ from endorsements. Endorsements provide a quick view of your skills. Recommendations are testimonials about your work. Ask respected colleagues with whom you’ve worked to write personal testimonials for you. Use the dropdown menu in the Recommendations section to easily request recommendations.
Make use of the give-and-take nature of social media by offering recommendations to your connections as well.
4. Share Your Marketing Media
Social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook were developed as community builders, not sales venues. That doesn’t mean you can’t include your marketing media within your LinkedIn profile. White papers, case studies and informational content are effective additions that add to your legitimacy as an expert. On the other hand, LinkedIn is not the place to publish direct sales pitches.
5. Become a Thought Leader With Publications
Another underutilized section is Publications. Linking to publications you’ve written, such as a White Paper, eBook or even a blog post strengthens your position as an expert in your field. Update the publications list with links as you publish new content to continue building a strong thought-leadership foundation.
Over time, consider publishing long-form content about topics you’ve touched on in the past, particularly those that reverberated with followers.
6. Share Content
Publishing original content is important to show off your expertise and leadership qualities, but sharing relevant content that appears on your feed also adds to your online reputation. Sharing content indicates the importance you place on taking an active and enthusiastic role in your profession.
7. Comment on Content
As you share content, add your own thoughtful comments to supplement shared information. Comments allow you to provide opinions, thought-leadership and philosophies. Share content that agrees with your point of view as well as content that doesn’t. If you don’t agree, use your comments to explain why you don’t agree. Comments also pave the way for replies and are a springboard for opening discussions.
8. Follow Your Profession’s Top Influencers
Influencers produce thought-provoking and informational content that looks great in your LinkedIn feed. Following and sharing influencer content keeps you up-to-date about industry trends. When you share influencer posts, you prove your passion.