16 Tips to Use LinkedIn Effectively

by Tony Shays on May 6, 2012

LinkedIn Tips

LinkedIn is an important asset to any business person. It can be used to find a job, attract customers, connect with business people and more. However, it’s only useful if you use it effectively. Here are 16 tips to help you get the most out of the social network.

1. Keep Your Name Consistent

The most important thing about choosing your name is consistency. You want your name to be exactly the same across all social networks and websites on which you post. This will allow customers to identify you, make you easy to track down, and help with branding.

2. Complete Your Profile Page and Keep it Updated

Before you start to network with others, take the time to fill out your profile. This is the section that lets people know who you are, what you have to offer, and ultimately why they should connect with you. When done correctly, a profile will increase your visibility and show that you are serious about building your business. LinkedIn gives your profile a percentage of completeness, and you should aim for 100%.

The more you use LinkedIn, the more you will get out of it. Regardless of why you started using LinkedIn, it is important to keep your profile current. You should regularly update it with the most recent information regarding your business life. Again, this signals to people that you are serious about networking.

3. Create a Company Page for Your Business

In addition to personal profiles, LinkedIn also allows for the creation of company pages. This is great news for a home based business owner, as it provides an additional platform for promotion and interaction. Make sure this page is filled out completely, looks professional, and links to your website(s). By using keywords, you can optimize the page to attract new followers.

4. Continually Build Your List of Connections

You should start building your list of connections with people that you already know in the business world. This includes contacting coworkers, employers and colleagues, past and present. The easiest way to do this is to import your e-mail contacts, which LinkedIn automatically does with the click of a button.

There are two major theories to building your contact list. One is to be highly selective with the people that you link to. The thought is that strangers are merely be time wasters, but meaningful connections can lead to business.

On the other hand, many people will connect to anyone who is willing to link to them. The theory is that you never know where a lead will come from, so the more contacts provide more opportunities for business. They also believe that with time and the right approach, they can turn many of their strangers into becoming meaningful contacts.

There are pros and cons to both approaches, but you ultimately should do what works for you. No amount of contacts will do you any good unless they perceive your connection as beneficial to them.

5. Always Search For New Contacts

You should always be searching for new people who could help you grow your business. When you are with a business person, ask for his/her business card. You should also ask if they are on LinkedIn. If so, you can use the information on their card to connect with them. If not, suggest that they join and help them learn how.

Ask people for referrals for the type individuals with whom you are looking to connect. The key is that you have to be perceived as someone worthy of their recommendations.

6. Connect with People Who Ask

The more you properly grow your social networks and effectively use your website, the more people will reach out to you and try to connect with them. This is good. Don’t just ignore these requests. This is not Facebook, so you don’t personally have to know everyone with whom you connect.

7. Advertise That You Are on LinkedIn

Promote the fact that you are on LinkedIn on everything that you send out about you or your business. Without question, it should be on every page of your website, along with the logos for any other form of social media you are using. You can also post your link on those other sites and include a link in your e-mail signature.

8. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask More Than Once

You will find that sometimes when you ask to link to a contact, you get no response. This does not necessarily mean you are being rejected, and even if you were, it does not mean rejection forever. There are many reasons why you may not get a response, so don’t worry about it. If the contact is important to you, try again and maybe change your approach. Many a “no” has turned into a “yes.”

9. Invite the Right Way

For your friends, relatives, and other people you know well, connecting is as easy as clicking a button. For others, the default invitation (“I’d like to add you to my professional network”) may not work. You have to be more creative, show that you care about them and indicate how linking to you might be of benefit to them.

Here are two examples of a stronger approach: “I met one of your employees at the Snowden Conference and I’m looking to learn more about your company.” “I’m very interested in learning more about IT companies in the Boston area.”

10. Ask For Recommendations

You can ask from your contacts to write a recommendation for you. You should utilize this feature and often with connections whom you know well. These recommendations show up on your profile and are perceived as strong positives by people viewing your page. Each recommendation is like having a letter of recommendations attached to your resume.

11. Give Recommendations

You can’t ask for recommendations and not be willing to give them out yourself. If you truly believe that someone deserves your recommendation, then give it out and make it meaningful. Fluff or insincere recommendations don’t work very well. Obviously, if you cannot personally stand by your recommendation don’t give it.

12. Do Not Focus on Selling

LinkedIn is not about selling a service or product; it’s about selling you. The best way to sell yourself is to be sincerely interested in your contacts and what they are all about. Provide a reason that they should want to connect with you and the other “sales” will come. Offer information and help. You have to be a good listener if you ever want people to like, respect and listen to you.

13. Participate in Answers

One of the best ways to share your knowledge and expertise with others is to participate in LinkedIn’s Answers section. Other members leave questions, and when you answer one, the information is posted to your profile for all to see. If it is well thought-out and helpful, the rewards are great. You are not seen as a salesperson; instead you are viewed as someone giving free helpful advice. Don’t be afraid to ask your own questions either.

14. Join and Participate In Groups

Perhaps the best place to find like-minded peers to connect with is in groups. It is the one place where you get the latest in news related to your profession, find helpful posts and participate in discussions. You can also share your your business/website with fellow members in a non-spammy way.

15. Share Status Updates

As with many other social networking websites, LinkedIn allows you to share an update with your connections. This is a great way to keep them up-to-date with your business or anything else worthy of attention. Be sure not to overdo it, though; you shouldn’t update it so often that it annoys those who read it. Should you chose, LinkedIn can also import your Twitter tweets and automatically post them as updates.

16. Have Fun With It

Frankly, if you don’t have fun on LinkedIn, you won’t be using it for long. Like everything else in life, we tend to do what we enjoy. If you give it 90 days of effort, working as little as 15 to 30 minutes a day, you will begin to really enjoy LinkedIn and find that it is an important and useful part of your marketing arsenal. Here’s hoping.

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This article was written by Tony Shays. Tony is the founder of Home Based Business Success Center. He is an entrepreneur who has owned and operated 12 traditional small businesses and has also found success in several different home based multi-level marketing companies. In addition to running the Success Center, he is also a business coach.

{ 1 comment }

kavin January 15, 2013 at 7:33 pm

Hello i am kavin, its my first occasion to commenting anyplace, when i read this post i thought i could also make comment due to this brilliant article.

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