We all use LinkedIn to create a profile and do our homework on business contacts, but how many of us use the platform properly?
When it’s used properly, the Huffington Post described the website as the powerful marketing tool of the 21st century. But do you use it to generate leads or even know how to?
Here are five ways to get the most out of your time on the website.
Be the Best You Can Be
Remember that your profile is often the first impression someone will get of you, and sometimes you don’t get a second chance.
LinkedIn is not an extension of your Facebook profile, so make sure you remain professional at all times, and that includes your profile picture.
It’s easy to lose touch with former clients, especially if you move companies, but LinkedIn provides that perfect platform to reconnect.
The same can also be said of former colleagues. You can get back in touch with a nice little message, but only after seeing what they’ve been up to since you last worked together.
LinkedIn is not about adding as many contacts as possible; unlike Facebook, it’s about the quality of your connections and not just the quantity.
Don’t just add anyone you’ve met – only add valuable contacts, whether that’s people you have done business with before or those you hope to do business with going forward.
If you only add potentially valuable contacts, then spend at least an hour a week having a look at the “people who you might know”. They will probably be contacts of contacts in the same industry, which could open up a whole new avenue of leads.
You should also make sure you check out profiles of those you have meetings scheduled with. Show them you are active on LinkedIn and then you will feel more comfortable adding them after the meeting – providing it goes well, of course.
Many people use LinkedIn as they would a discussion board or forum, so if you’re going to use the website, then make sure you embrace it.
Spend a minute a day updating your profile, join relevant groups and keep an eye on your connections. Comment on their achievements, keep abreast of their news and stay on top of what is the topic of conversation in your industry.
It’s also essential to endorse others if you feel they deserve it, especially if you want them to return the favour.
Set the Agenda
If you’re not finding what you want on the website, take charge and set up groups and business pages. By setting up a group, you can invite selected people or only accept people who you think will be beneficial. It is also a great way to connect with people you might not otherwise have the opportunity to network with.
As well as engaging your audience, you can also set the agenda by publishing articles, posing questions and steering the debate – perfect for market research and it can be a great way to learn from others.
The only thing to be aware of is that running a group can be time-consuming if you’re going to make it a success.