How To: Network with LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a social networking site designed for professionals to engage in conversations about their respective businesses, network with clients and partners, and develop a virtual resume. When used properly, it can be an effective tool in promoting your business and keeping you clued in to what’s happening in the professional world. Here are some great tips on getting started, and making the most of LinkedIn and the opportunities it has available.
1. Creating a Profile. Connect your business email with LinkedIn, and the service will automatically connect you with email contacts that are currently using the site. Send invitations to those you know in the business world, and especially to your coworkers and friends who are using the site. The best place to start networking is with those contacts you have already made, and from there you can see who they are connecting with, or who have shared interests with you, and begin to build your base.
2. Personalizing your Page. It is important that you include every important detail on your profile. Upload a photo that stands out and best represents you or your company, as this is the first impression people will get of you. LinkedIn will prompt you with questions to better identify you. Be sure to answer all of them, including all relevant work history, education, and skill set. From here, you are ready to begin networking.
3. Connecting with Users. LinkedIn will suggest groups and Influencers whom you may want to follow. Join any groups you are associated with, and those which reflect your personal or professional interests. You can then follow people and companies who are in similar fields of work as you, and keep up with their postings and contacts as well.
4. Keeping it Fresh. Now that you have established a presence on the site, keep it fresh by updating your status at least once a week, to let passers-by know that you are actively engaging in the online social world. Let your updates reflect any promotions, deals, events, or projects that you are currently working on. Share interesting articles you have read, or other media that may interest and attract followers. Remember, this is a site dedicated to professional work, so keep your page focused on the work that you do.
5. Staying Connected. Keep an open “virtual” door policy. Use the “Network” feature to find connections and locate contacts you may have missed in the registration process. Answer questions on the Q&A board, and join in on conversations that allow you to showcase your expertise. Get a feel for navigating around the site, and soon you will be a LinkedIn pro, and your site will begin to generate traffic, which will hopefully lead to business opportunities for you and your company.