Networking prior to this platform being built, was more challenging then it is now, you had to be, either part of a BNI (business network international) group or manually make new connections in person. With this online network, you are just a click away, from having access to millions of connections. Now let’s discuss how to use LinkedIn.
What is LinkedIn?
LinkedIn is a social networking platform for professionals. Whether you own a big business organization or a small one, whether you are a sales executive or a student looking for a bright future in the corporate world, LinkedIn is for everyone looking forward to boosting their professional lives.
Through LinkedIn, all your professional endeavors get fulfilled as it exposes you to all the top professionals in any specific industry. There are enormous possibilities for developing new business partnerships and many new growth opportunities are available for both the job seekers and the existing employees.
How to create a profile?
Creating a LinkedIn profile is just a matter of filling in your personal details. You should follow these five simple steps:
Step 1: Open your internet browser and visit www.linkedin.com
Step 2: You will get to the home page, where you will be required to fill in your personal information. Enter your first name, last name, email address or phone number and password. After filling out these information fields, click on the “Join now” button located below these entry fields.
Step 3: A new webpage will open and you will be asked to verify your country. Select your current country of residence through the drop-down list. Enter your current ZIP code below the country box. Then, click on next.
Step 4: On the next page, indicate whether or not you are a student by selecting “yes” or “no” in the box located at the top of the page. If you are a student, select “yes” and fill in the information of your college, degree, first year and last year (expected). If you are employed, select “yes” and mention your company name and job title. Then, click on next.
Step 5: Now you will be required to personalize your LinkedIn account. Select the reason for joining LinkedIn and once done, you will be prompted for email verification.
How to build a bigger audience on LinkedIn?
A LinkedIn profile with a bigger audience is considered to be a powerful one. You should make sure that your profile is real and updated with all the latest details. It happens that people avoid connecting to an incomplete and image-less LinkedIn profile. After polishing the profile, you should do the following things to increase the size of your audience on LinkedIn.
There is a networking scale which ranges from very selective to fully open to networking. For a bigger audience, you should lean towards open networking. You will get a significantly bigger audience and these increased connections will give you a higher rank in keyword searches.
After deciding your connection tolerance, you should add connections by doing the following things:
Remember all your past and present contacts from your previous volunteer service, school, or jobs.
Get all your contacts in a single place and add your email address to reach them and add them to your LinkedIn connections. Now LinkedIn will become your only CMS (contact management system).
You should build a network. The best way for network expansion on LinkedIn is through groups, though you can reach out to people using the search button.
Whenever you meet somebody and want to have him/her in your network, don’t delay connecting with them. Your network will remain up-to-date and complete. This can be done in real-time through installing the LinkedIn app in your smartphone.
Nurture the network
The network you created will lack value in the absence of regular interactions with the members. The value to the network connections can be delivered by focusing on the following things:
You can add value to the network by sharing important content with your connections. In the activity feed of your profile, you can use the blogging platform of LinkedIn and add longer content.
However, adding content to your profile is not enough. You should acknowledge others’ content and engage in productive discussions.
You can also use the Connected App provided by LinkedIn to connect with your network members during their important days, such as birthdays, new jobs, work anniversaries or promotions.
How to network on LinkedIn?
You won’t be able to get benefits from this platform if you do not have a great network. The network features of LinkedIn – including the connection levels — can lead to a superior, more valuable network and warmer introductions to leads and prospects.
Degree of connection
In the universe of LinkedIn, there are mainly three types of people or “connections” in a network. They are:
• 1st-degree connections: These are the people already connected to you.
• 2nd-degree connections: These include people connected to your 1st-degree connections.
• 3rd-degree connections: These are the people connected to the 2nd degree connections.
An invitation can be sent by you to the 2nd-degree connections or 3rd-degree connections. Your connection with a prospect and degree of connection will decide the correct way to approach them.
Personal notes and connection requests
Every person has their individual style to send notes. You should make sure that the message sent by you is polite, personal and warm. Mention whatever you know about them and how much you like their work.
You should understand that a LinkedIn connection can view your complete profile, including updates, connections and contact information. Although LinkedIn limits any potential network on the basis of connection degrees, you should also avoid accepting every invitation.
It is very easy to send warm introductions to people you have already met, but the real challenge is to send a warm introduction to the unknown people. The solution to this lies in the existing network of clients and colleagues. When you and the prospects are already connected mutually (as 2nd-and 3rd-degree connections), it becomes considerably easier to send warm introductions.
You can confidently cite your common connection or ask the mutual contact to introduce you.
Why LinkedIn is important to have?
Today, LinkedIn has become a social networking platform that has the potential to heighten the career of every member. The reasons to make use of the opportunity are mentioned below:
LinkedIn helps you build new connections and let people see your offerings. The members with a complete profile will receive more opportunities to grow.
Recruiters on LinkedIn are looking for experience you have. This experience might be the basis for hiring you.
People misunderstand networking as a cold reach to strangers. You can build a LinkedIn network by sharing your online contact list (preferably from email account) and by connecting with the trustworthy people.
You can use LinkedIn’s Company Pages and Advanced Search before a networking event or an interview to know more about the people you will be meeting soon.
You can get new connections through LinkedIn groups. Connect with groups, like your school, alumni and any volunteer organizations you are associated with.
LinkedIn lets you support others. You can help your friend by forwarding a job listing or you can also post a comment on the status update of a classmate.
By regularly updating the LinkedIn status, you can remain on the radar of your network and let others know what you’re working on, reading, and more.
If you are a student, never directly ask your professional contacts to help find you a job. But you can ask for a short conversation to get their advice. Your family, friends, alumni or industry leaders may be helpful to contact.
How LinkedIn can benefit you?
Social networking is growing every day and LinkedIn is one professional networking platform which can benefit you in many ways when utilized to its full potential. The benefits include the following:
There is a Pro finder badge service in LinkedIn which can be used by project managers and contractors. Whether you are a freelancer or a project manager looking for help, LinkedIn will benefit you in all possible ways.
On LinkedIn, you can now add your work’s links under every job description. You can also add your own blogs (if any) to show your professionalism.
The users can search and get a job through job postings on LinkedIn. You can search jobs by title, location, keyword, industry, function, company and experience level by utilizing the feature “Advanced search” on LinkedIn.
You get a chance to send messages to connections not in your network. If you have a premium account, you can directly send a message to them through “open profile” and “InMail” or you can do it via sending a note to people not connected with you.
You can make yourself identifiable and you can also find out who has viewed your profile on LinkedIn.
All you need to do is explore the various features of LinkedIn and benefit from them.
How to maintain relationships on LinkedIn?
Building a profile on LinkedIn, getting connected to various people and networking do not ensure longevity and success. To be influential as a recruiter or a seller on LinkedIn, you should maintain your relationships with your clients or prospects in the following ways:
For nurturing any relationship, a good conversation is very important. You can create effective content and get engaged with your prospects. This way, your expertise and knowledge will be demonstrated, and your prospects will pay attention and spend their time with your content.
It is necessary to get found. Explore LinkedIn search and find out the keywords and hashtags surrounding hot topics. Publish your content according to those words and get yourself found. Do not forget to engage or comment on the posts relevant to your audience.
When a specific audience or niche group is targeted on LinkedIn via content, there remains more chances for effective engagement and you emerge as a big fish in a small pound.
There are millions of users on LinkedIn, creating efficient content is a smart way to maintain relationships with your connections.
How to generate leads or make money on LinkedIn?
The publishing platform of LinkedIn is a great way to generate more leads and make money. Everyone can publish blogs here and make money via LinkedIn. You can also create an effective blog post on this platform by focusing on the following steps:
Step 1: Come up with a great headline
A powerful, clear headline that can deliver real value to the readers can count for up to 60 percent of the total success of your blog post on this platform. Social networking sites are crowded landscapes and an impressive headline grabs the attention of the readers. The headline can be used as a guide to your content — the information you want to give your audience.
Step 2: Use an absorbing photo
You will be amazed to know that 30 percent of your blog’s success depends on the image below the headline. You can add your photograph or an image relevant to your content to get the reader’s attention.
Step 3: Write a brief post
This depends on what you want to deliver. A good post usually has 400-600 words and you should keep your post between that. Add variations to the post by using italics, bold, block quotes and numbers.
Step 4: Add one or two “calls to action” in the conclusion of your post
In the conclusion of your post, two “calls to action” should be added to guide the readers. The first call to action should motivate the readers to comment and answer specific questions asked in the post. The second one should include offer — here you can sell books, drive leads, or request app downloads.
Step 5: Share the post with your connections
Now, share the post publicly with all your connections as well as privately via messages to all your connections. If you have a company page or if you are associated with a LinkedIn group, don’t hesitate to share.
Step 6: Repeat the above steps
To get the desired results, blog regularly on LinkedIn, at least once every week. Always remember that money can be made on LinkedIn by reaching the few right people and not necessarily by reaching a million irrelevant people.
You might be aware of the fact that numbers do not lie. Here are the figures and facts that prove that LinkedIn is the world’s best and largest social networking platform for professionals.
1. 467 million: The total number of LinkedIn users and growing
2. 106 million: The total active monthly users of LinkedIn
3. 133 million: The total LinkedIn users from the US
4. 1.5 million: The total LinkedIn groups
5. 24 languages: Availability of LinkedIn
6. 10,000: The number of full-time employees
7. 30 cities: The presence of LinkedIn offices around the world
8. 40 percent: The total users who are visiting LinkedIn every day
9. 70 percent: The total LinkedIn users from outside the US
10. 3 billion professionals: The number of users LinkedIn is targeting
11. 200 territories and countries: LinkedIn’s current geographical reach
12. 3 million: LinkedIn users who share content on it every week
There are numerous other stats and all of them indicate only one thing — LinkedIn is the world’s best and largest social networking platform for professionals.
LinkedIn is definitely one of the best online platforms for professional networking. Sometimes you may find it hard to make the best use of this platform. But with the proper research, you should be able to successfully drive your strategy in the right direction. Follow these tips to benefit from LinkedIn in every way possible.
Many users now access LinkedIn through their mobile devices. Your content, ads and links to your website should follow a mobile-responsive design. This way, the information provided by you will automatically be adjusted to the screen size of every tablet or phone.
Flash typically does not work on iPads and iPhones. Avoid using it in your content.
Use a minimum amount of texts and focus more on visuals. Pictures and videos should be light so that they can be easily downloaded.
Video players that easily run on smartphones should be used.
Make sure that your links and forms are accessible on smartphones.
While targeting your audience on LinkedIn, use the knowledge subsets amongst your wider audience group. You should create specific ads to target these small groups.
LinkedIn prefers you to target seniority instead of age because this will be reported accurately and probably reflect what you are looking for. The size of your audience can decrease by as much as 90 percent if you are not careful about this factor.
For lead generation, do not forget to use “The Sales Navigator Tool” of LinkedIn. It helps you target your audience and generate leads.
Finally, it can be said that LinkedIn is the right online platform for you to display your professionalism to the world and connect with the experts in your industry. It can take your career to the next step if used with the right strategies. However, as your profile gets older, do not forget to review and update it.