6 Ways To Use LinkedIn as a Powerful Networking Tool 

Since its inception in 2003, LinkedIn has grown to become the world’s largest professional networking site with more than 740 million users. The platform makes it possible to expand your network and connect with some of your industry’s most renowned experts, former colleagues, and top recruiters.   

LinkedIn has emerged as one of the top networking sites because its unique algorithm tailors the needs of individuals to find new opportunities to bolster their careers through referrals, professional advice, and job interviews. 

So, how can you make the most of this powerful networking tool? Does it end when you click the connect button? 

With a 55% increase in conversations on LinkedIn over the past year, now would be the best time to use this networking tool as more than just another social media platform.

Here are 6 ways you can use LinkedIn to advance your career or grow your business:

Update your profile 

Never take for granted the impact of a first impression. Treat this like you're editing your CV or resume. Make it look professional by updating all fields of your profile, especially your headline that includes keywords to give people a better idea of what you do. 

The better you keep your profile updated, the easier it will be for you to rise in LinkedIn’s search engine, therefore increasing your chances to connect with people who are interested in what you can offer.  

To help you craft the perfect LinkedIn profile, here’s an article by Koka Sexton discussing how you can easily edit your profile to find the right connections.    

Connect with friends

Once you’ve optimized your profile, it’s now time to connect. But don’t “select and connect” with whoever you find on LinkedIn - connect first with people who you know in the real world, such as friends, family, workmates and former colleagues. They can leave recommendations and endorsements on your profile, ensuring that you project a  credible and trustworthy image to the market you want to connect with. 

To add people similar to the field indicated on your profile, just click the “My Network” button and you’ll be presented with relevant suggestions.

Diversify your connections

Similar to the connect-with-friends concept, it’s not about simply adding everyone from your “people you may know” list. It’s about adding people of value from different backgrounds to generate warmer leads.

LinkedIn also advises that having at least 500 connections affords you more credibility. 

Use filters when searching

With more than 700 million profiles on LinkedIn, it would take hours of scrolling through different profiles to match with what you need. 

Put yourself in the shoes of a recruiting specialist urgently hiring a position for someone, say, residing in California, to find quality leads. LinkedIn’s advanced search filters can easily narrow your search to match the ideal location, experience, language, and industry all at once. 

If you want to dive in deeper, you can narrow the results even further by making sure they’re also connected with particular contacts - you can even add their past and/or current companies, and the university they attended. 

The same is true when searching for a job on LinkedIn. Filter your search to match your experience level, job type, location, industry, job title, and preferred company. 

Send a personal message when reaching out to new connections

Don’t be that creepy stranger connecting with random people for no reason. If you want to be unique in the eyes of potential contacts, leaving a personal note will certainly help. It's polite, professional, and shows that you’re all business. Let them understand why you’re interested in connecting with them. Even if you’re just adding them to increase relevant connections, tell them who you are, what it is you do, and how you found their profile. 

As John Medina once said: “If you are trying to get information across to someone, your ability to create a compelling introduction may be the single most important factor in the later success of your mission.”

Interact

LinkedIn is still a social media platform. To get noticed, you have to post and engage with people beyond your connections.

Here are 3 ways you can do so without sounding like a spammer:

1. Post insightful content

Don’t just observe - getting yourself noticed can be as simple as sharing a trendy post on LinkedIn and offering your personal insight about the topic. But don’t stop there, be creative and boost your brand awareness by publishing your own infographics, articles, and video tutorials. You can even go live and host Q & A sessions with your followers, interview your colleagues and create polls to start a conversation. 

Quick note: In creating content, also make sure to add hashtags to your posts to reach beyond your first-degree connections.  

2. Like, comment on, or share your connections’ posts.

By staying social with your connections, it will instantly increase your visibility as your interactions will also be seen by their connections. 

However, it’s not about engaging through random comments on every one of your connections’ posts, but engaging in those where you can offer genuine support and insight.  

3. Join industry-relevant groups

LinkedIn allows you to join up to 50 groups. Here’s your best chance to add real value without self-promotion. Comment on posts, providing your personal experience; respond to comments that highlight your expertise, and share ideas with other experts in your niche.

Remember, it's about being a valued member. The more you interact, the more likely it is that you’ll be noticed and remembered.       

Networking is all about building lasting relationships - if you’re not willing to interact, your network will never grow.

Summary

LinkedIn can be a powerful networking tool when used right. You can use it to find your next job, reach out to experts, stay updated on former colleagues, and reduce the stress of recruiters to find the right applicants. 

To expand your network and increase visibility, remember to do the following:

  1. Update your profile
  2. Connect with friends
  3. Diversify your connections
  4. Use filters when searching 
  5. Send a personalized message when reaching out to new connections
  6. Interact by posting insightful content, engaging with your connections, and by joining industry-relevant groups.

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go with others.” - African proverb

Author:

@Derick Quinanola

Date:

11-02-2021

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