I am absolutely loving LinkedIn at the moment. I’d even go as far to say it is my go-to social media channel for daily updates and connections.
Over the last 12 months I have renewed my efforts to connect with professionals in my industry, clients and colleagues. I’ve followed some really fabulous and knowledgeable thought leaders and as a result, my News Feed is bursting at the seams with interesting, entertaining and educational content.
I get such a knowledge and inspiration hit from LinkedIn – it’s far more satisfying for me than Facebook or Instagram right now from a business perspective.
I’ve been on LinkedIn for years now however, for a while there, I became a little disenfranchised as even though I was using it regularly, it seemed no-one else in my professional circles was. This to me felt like I was talking and being heard by no-one.
The past 18 months though, the folk at LinkedIn have been tweaking and optimising the platform so it is far more user-friendly and the people are now starting to come!
I’ve been rolling out quite a bit of LinkedIn training to my clients, particularly those in the professional services industry, lately.
We have discussed at length about the difference of being on LinkedIn and actually using LinkedIn. The majority of them were the former but now want to learn how to best do the latter. Yay!
In my opinion there are a few simple steps that you can take to moving from a passive presence on LinkedIn to a more pro-active presence:
Don’t just wait for people to connect with you. Stretch out your hand and start to introduce yourself.
There are several ways that you can reach out to people that you both know don’t know on LinkedIn. Networking with people by first of all connecting with them is what the platform has been designed for.
Start with the people that you do know. You don’t have to be best buddies with them. You may have met them at a conference or emailed them with an enquiry in the past. These are relevant people for you to connect with and no they won’t freak out if you reach out to connect with them at a professional level on LinkedIn.
Quick wins to increase your connections are to connect your email account and have LinkedIn trawl through your email contacts. It essentially picks up all the people you have ever emailed which is an awesome way to remember people you may have dealt with in the past but don’t immediately spring to mind.
On a daily basis, you can also scroll through the ‘People You May Know’ under the ‘My Network’ tab. This is where LinkedIn utilises its premise of six degrees of separation and throw all the people in the ring that have loose connections to you via other people you know.
You can search for people you meet using the search function by entering their name. Alternatively, you can search for positions that people may hold companies that may be prospects for you.
I make an effort to connect with people weekly. And as it generally happens, the more people I proactively connect with, the more people reach out and proactively connect with me.
So once you start connecting with people you will start to notice that your News Feed populates some more with those people’s articles and activities.
Just like in any other social situation, this is your opportunity to join the conversation. Don’t lurk in the background where no-one can see you or notice you. Start liking, commenting and sharing articles that speak to you.
It’s worth noting that when you like or comment on an article this activity is visible to others in your network. So by liking and commenting you can still effectively demonstrate your alignment of your expertise and interests to your connections.
If someone has published an article that you really like, or you agree with or even don’t agree with – this is your opportunity to let them know. Keeping it professional of course!
Once you become confident and familiar with interacting with the News Feed you can start to publish your own content. This can be in ‘short form’ i.e. ‘sharing an article, photo, video or idea’ or you can ‘write an article’ which is a longer form blog style contribution.
The latter is permanently linked to your profile so people who are checking you out can view at a later date. The articles bank up so over time they benefit your profile in the way that your blog page might on your website by contributing keywords and visibility around your areas of expertise.
LinkedIn can be a really powerful tool that can help amplify your efforts to connect with industry professionals, position you as an expert and increase people’s awareness of who you are and what you do. I urge you to dive in and start using it more pro-actively to make sure you benefit from all this amazing platform has to offer.
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