Used correctly, LinkedIn is an extremely powerful business development tool but remember you’ll only get out of it what you put in! The key is to make sure you are using it effectively and correctly.
Appearance is everything
When meeting someone for the first time we all endeavour to make the best impression we can. This applies to both face-to-face interactions and those that take place online on social media. For LinkedIn, make sure your profile is professional, kept up-to-date and reflects your business acumen and skills. Additionally, make sure your profile contains a suitable and recent photo of you, bearing in mind LinkedIn is a professional network. You want others to be able to identify you easily.
Use an appropriate tone
LinkedIn is a business tool, meaning a professional tone should be used rather than the kind of informal and casual tone that you’d use for Facebook, or your personal Twitter account.
Extending your LinkedIn network
Connecting with others on LinkedIn is essential if you want to increase your network of connections, and should become part of your online routine. Build your network by connecting with colleagues, clients, friends and family. You can also connect with any alumni you may know. Further ways to increase your network include regularly searching for contacts by location and industry using the Advanced Search options, and using your existing contacts to get introductions to mutual contacts of interest. Furthermore, make sure you take time to check out who’s viewed your profile and connect with them if you believe they might be a helpful contact.
A word of caution however: be selective with who you add and accept as a contact on LinkedIn. A smaller group of meaningful connections will be vastly more useful in a business context than a large group of random connections.
Be part of a Group
Join LinkedIn Groups that match your professional interests to make like-minded new connections in areas that interest you. LinkedIn Groups are valuable to find out about forthcoming events that may be of interest. Posting fresh, relevant posts and/or selectively reposting your contacts’ posts enhances your profile and reinforces your understanding of a subject.
Enhance your profile
Make sure you list all your business skills; this is your space to show off what you do and what you are capable of. Additionally, testimonials and endorsements can be highly influential when used correctly. Don’t be afraid to ask for testimonials and endorsements from known contacts and to give them, where they’re due.