If the world of social media were an elementary school, LinkedIn would be one of the most misunderstood kids on the social media jungle gym.
LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network but yet many people don’t scratch the surface on it’s potential. As one of the most powerful search engines for online personal branding, LinkedIn provides a great way to bring your professional network to life.
Megan Porteous shares a few easy ways to maximize your LinkedIn presence below.
1) Connect promptly while your new contact still remember you
Don’t wait for more than 24 hours before connecting with someone on LinkedIn you’ve had contact with (this goes for both in-person or email correspondence). That way, your name and/or face are still fresh in their memory and they are more likely to click “accept”. In addition, make sure your LinkedIn profile picture shows your face clearly (no glasses or hats) so you’re easily recognizable.
2) Set a connection goal
LinkedIn counts a user’s connections exactly up until the 500 mark. After 500, the number of connections a user has is displayed by 500+. That could mean 501 contacts, or it could mean 1,500 contacts. Set a realistic contact goal for yourself, eventually aiming to reach the 500+ mark. Dedicate some time to growing your LinkedIn community. Go through your Facebook friends and add them to LinkedIn. Add former colleagues, classmates, professors, and industry partners. Add anyone who you stop and hello to while walking down the street.
3) Connect with care
Your LinkedIn network is only as valuable as the strength of your connections. For some professionals—like recruiters or salespeople—it is advantageous to connect generously. But for most people, it’s best to be a little choosey on your LinkedIn connections. If you have a bunch of LinkedIn connections with people you have never met before, there is no value in those connections down the road.
For example, say you want to connect with someone at MTV. You see that there is one person at MTV who you have a 2nd connection with. The 2nd connection could be an old co-worker who you had a great relationship with. You simply message your former co-worker asking for an introduction and viola, connection made! If you had a network filled with connections that you didn’t actually know, you wouldn’t be able to maximize your connections.
If you want to connect with someone and think it might be a stretch, be sure to personalize the message you send with the invite to explain why you want to connect—and why this person should want to connect with you (think equal value exchange).
4) Update your LinkedIn status regularly
Each time your brand releases a new blog post, you should update your LinkedIn status with a link to the new post, regardless if you wrote it or one of your teammates wrote it. This helps drive traffic to your brand’s website and it also allows your name to show up on your connection’s LinkedIn timeline on a regular basis, keeping you top of mind and further legitimizing your professional presence.
5) Build relationship between people
Jamie Ginsberg, a friend of Digital Royalty and a LinkedIn wizard, can’t stress this point enough. Building relationships between people is a lost art form. See someone looking for an opportunity? Connect them with someone who may be hiring. This LinkedIn good karma will come back around when you are trying to connect with someone. This is the initiative that separates the rookies from the all-stars.
6) Prep for meetings and find common ground
Before a meeting or a conference call, do a quick LinkedIn search of the people who will be meeting with. This will allow you to find some common ground and/or learn about their background and roles within the company. Maybe you will discover that you went to the same school, maybe you see that the person likes hiking because they are a member of “Executives who hike” group. Who knows what you’ll find but personal connections can make those awkward conference calls a lot less painful!
7) Maximize travel
Whenever traveling, both professionally and personally, update your LinkedIn status with a short bit on where you are going, WHY you making the trip and asking if people in the area would like to meet up for a coffee. You can also search your connections by city. For example, if you were traveling to Denver, you could search to see which connections lived in or near Denver. You could then message or email the ones who you’d like to meet up with because it’s important to not only reach out to someone when you need something. We all know that every good connection needs a little bit of work to keep it a good connection!
8) Engage with LinkedIn timeline
Each time you log in to LinkedIn, go through your timeline and at the very least, LIKE a connection’s post. If possible, make a comment on a connection’s post. The way the LinkedIn algorithm is set up, each time you comment or LIKE a post, you show up in your connection’s time line (keeping you top of mind!). Jamie calls this the 2-minute drill: two minutes of daily maintenance is better than logging in 1x per week.