TechsPlace | Many people think of LinkedIn as merely an online resume – and while that is a big part of what LinkedIn is, it’s far from its only function.
LinkedIn is a great networking tool, an easily searchable directory of companies and business professionals, and a social media outlet for companies and individuals alike.
However, LinkedIn’s greatest strength is its utility in connecting people and companies with one another.
Here are a few simple steps to making valuable connections on LinkedIn, and to getting business out of it.
1. Optimize your profile
To a far greater extent than on a resume, your LinkedIn profile can have multimedia and other information about you and your professional interests. This is a great opportunity for you, so make the most of it by filling out as much of your profile as possible.
LinkedIn will even send you notifications when it notices gaps in your profile so you can fill them up and make your profile more comprehensive.
In terms of the actual content of your LinkedIn profile, here are a few tips to help you.
Choose the right profile picture
Having a face to go with a name is helpful. Your LinkedIn profile picture is the first thing that people will see when they click on your profile, so it needs to be professional.
Your picture should be of just you, and your face should be clearly visible. It should also be as recent as possible.
Because LinkedIn is a professional network, other types of photos, such as group photos or photos of you doing something fun, aren’t recommended.
Write a great headline
Because most people won’t read your entire LinkedIn profile, it’s important that your headline and summary section convince people to read further.
Your headline should be something short and to the point, that describes what you do, and what kind of work you’re looking for.
Your current job title will appear in the headline by default, but you can alter it to something more compelling or more broadly indicative of who you are.
Write a great summary
In the summary, you may tell them who you are, what you do, and why you care about what you do.
Since you want your LinkedIn summary to be convincing and memorable, keep its length to a minimum.
Use industry-specific keywords when possible. This not only demonstrates your competence but also helps your SEO efforts by associating your brand with certain search phrases.
2. Build your network
Once your profile is optimized, it’s time to build your network. It allows you to add people as connections, and then see who those connections know.
This is a great way to expand your network and make initial contact with people you’d like to work with.
Add people you know
The next step is to add people to your network that you already know. This includes friends, colleagues, and people in your personal network.
This is a great way to start building a LinkedIn network and expand the number of connections you have.
Add connections through search
If you already know the name of your target contact, you can search for them using their name.
If you don’t know their name, you can use industry keywords that describe them, or you can search by company.
Once you find the person you’re looking for, you can then click ‘Add to Connections’ to add them to your network.
Keep your network organized
As you add more connections, your network will grow, and it’s important to keep that network organized.
Rather than simply letting LinkedIn automatically sort your connections for you, take the time to add tags and notes to your connections so they’re easy to sort through.
But how to tag someone on LinkedIn? You can use LinkedIn productivity tools to better organize your network with tags and notes and manage LinkedIn connections more efficiently.
3. Be proactive
Once your profile is updated, and your network is built, it’s time to take action.
Join and participate in groups
Groups on LinkedIn are communities of people who share common interests. Joining a group is a great way to get your name out there, meet other professionals, exchange ideas, and seek new opportunities.
To join groups, go to the LinkedIn group directory, and search by keywords related to your expertise, interests, or industry.
Post and respond to content
LinkedIn is not just a place where you can connect, it’s a place where you can take action.
One of the best ways to leverage LinkedIn and get business out of it is to create and share content.
You can publish blog posts, articles, whitepapers, and other types of content that demonstrate your knowledge about a particular subject.
This content is then shared with your connections and can help establish you as an expert in your industry.
In addition to publishing and sharing content, you can also use LinkedIn to generate leads.
This is perhaps one of the most straightforward ways to leverage LinkedIn for business. Many LinkedIn users will allow you to contact them directly.
LinkedIn even offers suggestions for people you may want to contact and will send you notifications about relevant opportunities.
Over to you
LinkedIn is a powerful tool for networking, building connections, and generating leads.
By optimizing your profile, building your network, and being proactive, you can leverage LinkedIn to grow your business.