Whether you’re a consultant, freelancer, business owner or corporate employee, LinkedIn is a great place to meet people, forge solid business connections, and showcase your expertise.
To get more from LinkedIn, follow these 6 tips:
1. Beef up your profile summary
According to Jason Alba, who wrote, “I’m on LinkedIn, Now What???,” the biggest mistake people make is neglecting their Profile Summary. As the name implies, the Profile Summary should include a pithy summary of your career experience, and it should be more than one sentence. A good example:
“Results-oriented marketing leader with 20 years experience serving extraordinary organizations. Expert across all disciplines, including PR and the field of social, conversational and viral marketing. Strategic product marketing expert skilled in competitive and creative go-to-market execution. Proven leader, respected advisor and excellent communicator.”
2. Continually add connections
After you’ve added people in your address book to your LinkedIn network, you can begin adding people you meet through LinkedIn Groups and other online and face-to-face networking activities.
This doesn’t mean you add people you don’t know. As you meet people, connect with them on LinkedIn. Also connect with people whose blogs you read, as well as relevant people you meet on Twitter. Adding connections grows your network – and it shows you’re active as your “connection status” is updated via the Status feed which everyone in your LinkedIn network sees.
3. Ask for and give recommendations
LinkedIn now has cool applications that allow you to add your WordPress or TypePad blog to your profile – a welcome feature for consultants or freelancers. Once you post something new on your blog, your LinkedIn Profile and Status feed is updated, too. For instance people who might view a blog start subscribing to your e-newsletter.
4. Join or start a group
Groups are one of the most under-utilized features of LinkedIn. LinkedIn features hundreds of groups for all types of interests – from entrepreneur moms to MEMS engineers. You can even find “positive thinking” groups!
Instead of joining groups willy-nilly, however, join those that match your job, career, expertise or interests. Then, once you become a member, participate by posting news or blog articles, taking part in discussions, and posting job notices or events of interest to the group.
By participating in a just a few groups, you’ll end up meeting dozens of people within your industry – and you’ll learn lots of new information, too.
It’s also very easy to start your own group. It takes all of two minutes. Diana Huff did this with the B2B Social Media Group.
5. Gather info with the polling feature
Need some quick on-the-fly feedback from your target audience? Use LinkedIn to conduct a poll and advertise the poll to targeted industry groups for great on-the-ground feedback.
6. Answer and ask questions
No matter what your question, you can get an answer to it on LinkedIn – which features Answer categories ranging from Conferences and Event Planning to Start Ups and Small Business.
By answering questions, you also showcase your expertise – and in the process, end up meeting people who will email you to either thank you for your answer or to ask a follow up question. If your answer is particularly good, the person asking the question can rate it as the “best answer” which then gives you a star – an indication that you are indeed an expert.
How to cultivate a higher level of following on LinkedIn
In addition, digital marketer Biron Clark has written a helpful, practical article on how to increase the level of engagement from your LinkedIn following: “How to increase your LinkedIn engagement.”
This article updated in 2020.