With over 400 million members worldwide, LinkedIn is by far the most important social networking site for businesses. Used well, it can be a goldmine of information that will help you to target the perfect contact, whatever industry you’re in.
Define Your Objectives
It’s worth spending a bit of time thinking about the reasons why you’re using LinkedIn. Like any business plan or marketing strategy, it’s useful to have something to aim for, as this will inform your general approach. In addition to creating a business network, do you want to raise your profile in a particular location or area of expertise? Do you want to drive traffic to your website or approach new contacts? Perhaps you’d like to use it as market research to find out what potential clients might need? Or maybe you’re keen to expand your knowledge by interacting with people in a similar field? With LinkedIn, you can do all of this and more, so having some clearly defined goals will really help with your day-to-day planning and allow you to measure your success in the future.
Stand Out From The Crowd
As well as your achievements in business, a good profile will give your connections a sense of who you are as a person. If you’re enthusiastic and energetic about your career, others will be too. Don’t blow your own trumpet too much though, try and focus on what you can do for people and why you might be different from your competition. With this in mind, try and avoid these words – they’re the ten most used terms on LinkedIn profiles:
– Track record
For your user picture, pick something you’re happy with and don’t change it too often. You need to become familiar and instantly recognisable to your network of contacts.
There’s a wealth of information on everyone’s LinkedIn page so if you’re carrying out research or trying to find new contacts, study your connection’s profile carefully to see what you might have in common. A shared history or background is a great way of establishing an instant bond, even if it’s something that seems quite trivial such as coming from the same town or attending the same university. Treat LinkedIn as an online networking event – if you were to meet your connection face to face for the first time, how would you introduce yourself and what would you say to start a conversation?
Like all social media, LinkedIn works best when you interact with people. All too often users see the discussion forums as a way to advertise their services or because they want something. Whether you’re starting a discussion or taking part in someone else’s, it’s important to share some of your knowledge and give other people the chance to get involved. Think about your audience and give them something of value that will make them think about things in a different way or help them with their work. Try and provide some context by sharing what you’re involved with or what you hope to achieve. The more honest and upfront you are, the more likely it is that people will respond in the same way.
Groups are also a fantastic way to build up a community of likeminded contacts so join some that are particularly relevant to your area of business. If you want to establish yourself as an authority, you might even consider starting your own group and asking your contacts to become members. Keep engaged though, participate regularly and take note when new people join – it’s much more fun if you’ve formed a relationship with the other members.
As useful and informative as LinkedIn may be, it’s only a starting point and no substitute for one to one contact. We’re always there for your recruitment needs so please get in touch if we can help.