LinkedIn recently celebrated the milestone of reaching 300 million registered users, and now celebrates its 11th birthday. As a public company, LinkedIn is exceeding analyst expectations and while its stock price performance has been somewhat of a roller coaster, overall it is performing well. As a user, these achievements are meaningless if you don’t know how to use the professional networking site for brand building and lead generation. So, I offer a few tips that require work. They’re only difficult if you’re unwilling to put forth the effort.
Be a Published Author
The LinkedIn Influencer program was recently expanded. All LinkedIn members will soon have the ability to publish articles on the publishing platform. Write articles on topics that are relevant to your professional brand and to your intended audience. Each article you publish has potential to be seen by thousands of people, starting with your network. With a little luck, your articles will be shared across the LinkedIn network if it is featured by LinkedIn through the Pulse content channel.
Post 3 Status Updates Per Day
We eat three meals per day. We brush our teeth three times per day. You guessed it…To be serious about your results on LinkedIn I recommend you post at least three status updates per day. Paaleeeez, don’t mistake this for posting noise for the sake of posting updates. Post relevant, interesting content that is consistent with your professional brand. Of course, this requires that you establish multiple sources of relevant content. No more than about 25% of the content you post should be your content. The balance should be from other sources. LinkedIn makes this easy through Pulse, where you can configure dozens of content sources. By posting status updates, you remain visible and viable on topics that represent your professional interests and expertise.
I get too much unsolicited email. 99.9% of gets discarded. But, InMail is different. Yes, it requires a LinkedIn Premium account, but (again) if you’re serious about using LinkedIn for business development it’s a no brainer. LinkedIn guarantees delivery of your InMail to anyone on LinkedIn. If the person doesn’t open your InMail within 7 days, LinkedIn returns the InMail credit to you. When sending your InMail, be direct, polite, professional and succinct. The reality is that InMail is the new cold call. Just like cold calling is (was) a numbers game, not everyone will accept your InMail. A well written InMail with a compelling message can open doors for you.
Use the advanced search feature to find people with whom you want to connect. Ultimately, you want to take some of your connection engagements offline to a live conversation. Using the advanced search function, you can create a filtered search and save the search so that you can revisit it over and over. It takes time to mine search data. Don’t rush through it. As you find people who meet your search criteria, you should study their profile to learn about their professional interests and how they engage with others. The save search feature allows you to mine data without re-creating the search from scratch.
There are many LinkedIn features not known to infrequent users. One such feature is the ability to save someone to your “contacts” and organize people using tags. When you visit someone’s profile, you can create a custom tag to organize your contacts for future follow up. Of course, your approach should be focused on ways to connect and engage with people in a meaningful way. That takes times. Using the tag feature in contacts allows you to stay organized. You can also add notes about your conversation(s). You’ll notice that LinkedIn also tracks your email correspondence provided you use the email address associated with your LinkedIn login.
There is nothing difficult about using these techniques to get results from LinkedIn. The sad reality is that most people still use LinkedIn as a job site. Most people don’t even sign into their LinkedIn account more than once per month. If you’re not in your LinkedIn account everyday, these techniques won’t work for you. Everything in business takes time and effort. The “it’s a marathon, not a sprint” cliche is applicable here. Get serious about LinkedIn using these techniques and watch your results grow.