LinkedIn can be a powerful tool for networking and enriching your professional life. But to really capitalize on its strengths it’s important to reflect on your professional goals and what you want to accomplish by using LinkedIn. You can spend a lot of time exploring the different features of LinkedIn but to be successful, know what you want to achieve:
- Meet new professional contacts within your field
- Attract new clients, customers, members, or donors
- Find a new job
- Gain visibility for your business or start-up
- Recruit new employees or partners
The more you can articulate about that big picture purpose and then the specific outcomes you are seeking, the easier it is to finetune which tactics and LinkedIn features are best to use to accomplish them. For example, if you want to use LinkedIn to find new clients or business contacts, think through as many details about who your ideal client is as possible, such as industry sector, organization size/type, geographic area, job type/titles, interests, past experience or education.
Then picture what success will look like. How can you measure that? An example might be that your active engagement in LinkedIn would result in 6 prospective clients and 3 confirmed new clients of XYZ type in the next six months.
Key Steps to Maximize Your LinkedIn Presence
Explore how you can use the different Linked features and functions to make your goals a reality such as:
Review your profile. Does your profile position you with the right keywords and accomplishments to appeal to people in the way you wish to be viewed? Use your headline as your personal brand and emphasize concise highlights of your results and impact. Complete your profile sections such as education, certifications, honors and awards, volunteer roles, and interests to reinforce your expertise while also showing that you are a well-rounded person. Do the same review of your organization’s LinkedIn page, taking advantage of features like the ability to highlight your products and services.
Regularly share useful information related to the expertise you would like to showcase, such as links to insightful articles, data, or research. Give an update about an important project you completed or that you are giving a presentation at an upcoming conference.
Join the right groups and engage in conversation. Search for groups related to your interests and professional goals, looking to see if they have active discussions happening. Show your expertise by answering questions in the Answers section of LinkedIn.
Seek new networking contacts. Explore who your LinkedIn contacts know and ask for introductions and background information. Use the advanced search functions to find people and organizations of interest. You can also follow the companies you are interested in.
Use LinkedIn Today to stay up-to-date on the latest news, trends and information. You can customize your news based on your interests and industry.
Combine the Power of LinkedIn with In-Person Networking
It’s easy to get caught up in the many features of LinkedIn and the simplicity and ease of online and email outreach, but it’s at its most powerful when you combine it with in-person networking. Send periodic personalized emails to colleagues whether valued friends you’ve known for years or new contacts you want to cultivate and occasionally invite people for coffee or to join you at an industry event or to hear an interesting speaker.
Nurturing your professional network on an ongoing basis is so important yet easy to put aside amidst endless daily tasks. LinkedIn gives you an invaluable tool to make it easier. My post from last year gives more networking tips such as regularly thinking about how to enhance your relationships and expand your connections.