How to use LinkedIn effectively: How to get the best from the world’s largest networking site
LinkedIn, the largest professional networking site in the world, is also known as “Statistics”. It’s also one of the most influential social media networks, with 756 million members. This is a lot of potential connections!
The site allows members to stay in touch with clients, business associates, and coworkers. It can also help you build your brand awareness, increase your profile and recruit the right people.
In this article, we look at nine ways to use your LinkedIn account for personal, professional and organizational success.
Basic LinkedIn accounts are free. Premium accounts can be upgraded to offer additional features that you need. These include Premium Career ($29.99/month), which is for job seekers, and Premium Business ($59.99/month). You will pay more for the Sales Navigator or Recruiter packages.
8 ways to get the best from LinkedIn
1. Complete your LinkedIn Profile
LinkedIn’s internal search algorithm will only find profiles that rank “complete” and these profiles can receive more than 20x as many views as incomplete profiles. Completing your profile is important. These are the most important things to keep in mind:
- A professional photographer should take a photo of you, and include it in your shot. Smile, look smart and avoid distractions.
- You can make your profile shine by adding a background photo (sometimes called a “banner”, or “cover” picture) that reflects you and your profession.
- In your headline, mention your industry and your location. This can be up to 120 characters.
- A brief summary of who and what you are will be helpful. There are 2,000 characters available, but you don’t need to use all of them. To make your profile shine, you can link to six examples of your work or upload them.
- Add your current job and describe it. Please be specific. Do not say that you are a “great communicator”, even though you may be one. Instead, give details of your communication skills, and examples of how you’ve used them. You have 2,000 characters.
- Add your education and work history. Include at least four areas of expertise.
You can track your progress as you add more information to your profile using the Profile Strength bar.
2. Get in touch with other LinkedIn users and connect
LinkedIn allows you to connect with professionals in your field and people within the industry. This is a great way for you to keep up with the latest developments and to share information.
Anyone can be invited to connect and they may accept your invitations. However, each person must have a LinkedIn account in order to use the site.
You can also invite any two LinkedIn connections that have not yet connected but could benefit from it.
Your search ranking on LinkedIn is affected by the number of connections you have. It is a good idea for you to have at least 50 connections of “first-degree”.
3. Get talking!
After you have made connections to LinkedIn, you can use the Messaging facility to communicate with them in real-time. Active Status lets you know which connections are online. Look out for the green dots beside their profile photos.
Smart Replies, which are short, automatically generated contextual responses (such “What time?” or “Great, thank you!”), can keep conversations productive and quick.
InMail is also available to Premium accounts. You can send private messages to any LinkedIn member with no prior introductions or contact information.
4. Give and Receive Recommendations and Endorsements
You can ask your connections to write “recommendations”, and then offer your skills as endorsements.
Recommendations can be personal testimonials that highlight your professional skills. Ask people you have worked with to create a few recommendations.
Instead of general remarks like “Bella was fun and easy to work with”, ask them to highlight specific attributes or accomplishments that impressed them.
5. LinkedIn Groups
LinkedIn members have the ability to create or join groups that allow them to share ideas and industry news. This is a great way for you to grow your professional network.
To find interesting groups, you can either use the search bar at top of your profile page or browse the groups you have already joined. You can join groups, ask questions and send messages to others once you are a member.
LinkedIn groups are a great source of ideas, support and information. You can share your knowledge with your group members and they will likely reciprocate.
LinkedIn warns against self-promotion in groups. It’s good to show your expertise, but not to promote your company’s products. If you violate the rules of the group, you can be removed or blocked from it.
6. LinkedIn: Create engaging content
Your device can also be used to record and upload videos to LinkedIn. This allows you to share your experiences and knowledge, as well as to enhance your company’s brand image. You can use the built-in filters or “stickers” to brighten your video and add captions for those who prefer the sound off.
LinkedIn allows you to publish complete articles via its Publishing Platform. Your profile shows the articles you have written. These articles can be shared with other users and may appear in search engine results. However, you retain all rights to the original content you publish. This is a great way for you to show your industry expertise.
SlideShare is another option for delivering high-quality content. This embeds into LinkedIn and allows you to post infographics and presentations.
Your content will reach more people if you include hashtags in your posts. To find out how many people are following a hashtag, you can use the search bar. You can also see what content they like.
7. Find new hires and opportunities
LinkedIn claims that 20,000 U.S. businesses use the site to hire new employees. You can search for the right people to join your team by using this service. It can replace traditional recruitment advertising depending on the industry you work in and the job that you are looking for.
Advanced Search allows you to search using many criteria, including location, company, former businesses, industry, language and nonprofit interests. Schools can also be searched with the Advanced Search facility.
LinkedIn’s paid Recruiter Plans give you more options and can be used to help you source, prioritize and contact candidates and manage your candidate pool. Pipeline Builder lets you contact potential recruits when they visit LinkedIn. The Find Nearby feature targets local contacts.
A Premium Career account will allow you to search more effectively for job opportunities that meet your preferences and skills set. You can also find out who has looked into your profile within the last 90 days.
8. Boost Your Organization’s Image
LinkedIn can increase the visibility of your business, your company brand, and your products. It can tell your company story, too. If you do it correctly, you will be able to create meaningful emotional connections with potential customers and employees.
You might consider setting up a LinkedIn company page to allow clients, customers, suppliers, and potential new hires to research your company. The page administrator can use LinkedIn analytics to see a snapshot of who visits the page. This will help you target your content better.
You can integrate LinkedIn with other platforms and services — your LinkedIn updates can be automatically posted to Twitter, for instance. So, consider how your organization’s use of LinkedIn aligns with its overall social media strategy.
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