Of all the social networking websites out there, LinkedIn is perhaps the most focused on business networking. It stands apart from the other sites such as Twitter, Facebook and MySpace in a much bigger way, too, and the strategies that you might use to make the most of these other non-business sites couldn’t be further from LinkedIn’s ways.
LinkedIn isn’t about “friends”, “followers” or “fans”, many of which you may meet online. LinkedIn is more focused on your existing real-life network and introductions from people you really know to others you’d like to know.
So how do you make the most of LinkedIn?
Complete Your Profile
The first, and most important thing you should do on LinkedIn is complete your profile. This includes updating your job descriptions, personal bio, selecting your personal URL and uploading a professional photo.
Your profile is what others will use to determine if they want to be introduced to you or not.
Thinks of recommendations as testimonials, letters of reference and personal endorsements. The more you have, the more thumbs-up icons show up next to you in listings and the more reputable you appear to those who don’t know you.
Reach out to your existing real-life network to get recommendations for work you’ve done. This could be a recommendation from a client, a vendor, a boss, or even a co-worker. The person writing the recommendation for you will have a place to select in what capacity they worked with you.
Questions and Answers
Once you have yourself established on LinkedIn, dive into the Answers section of the site where you can both ask and more importantly answer questions from others. Dive into your field in the Answers section and start posting some answers to questions you’re an expert on answering. The more good answers you provide, the faster you become established as an expert in your category.
Answering Q&A isn’t a one time task, however, and is something you need to do often to maintain visibility outside your networking and attract new connections.
To make the most of LinkedIn, follow these quick steps:
- Create an account on LinkedIn
- Upload your photo
- Update your bio, personal URL, and work history
- Search for existing connections from your address book, client list, or email account (You can start by linking up to Jeremy and Robert)
- Ask your network for recommendations
- Start answering questions in the Answers section.