There seems to be a lot of different opinions about the best and most effective ways to use LinkedIn. Some business professionals don’t use it at all and view it as a waste of time or perhaps not important enough to warrant the time. I question that. Others are very active, adding new connections, posting content, participating in groups and making introductions. That makes much more sense to me.
Yes, using LinkedIn effectively does take time. As another social media tool at one’s disposal, my suggestion is to use it daily; not on the same order as Facebook or Twitter which many people access multiple times a day; but daily to stay up with what’s going on in your world and your network and to stay in front of your LinkedIn audience.
So, what kinds of things can you do every day?
One thing I like to do is scan the posts from those in my network, looking for relevant and interesting content to share and reading articles that might make me a better person, businessman, marketer or whatever you are. If you’re fortunate enough to have a strong network of forward thinking people, you’ll most likely find plenty of things to look at/read. If you don’t have a network like this, then move to the next step (which you should also do regardless of your network).
The next step is to look over people who LinkedIn presents to you as possible people to connect with. Although I have several hundred people in my network, there is rarely a day that goes by that I don’t have someone new presented to me that I know or have met. By inviting a connection and it being accepted, you are growing your network and putting yourself into your network’s newsfeed. Look at it like personal advertising that says “look – I’m a go-getter business professional”.
Another thing I try to do to accomplish the same thing is to post relevant, important or interesting content. It may be a job that’s open at our marketing agency. It may be that I’m attending an industry trade show and I’m looking to personally connect at the event. It may be something that I share from one of my clients or prospects. It may be this blog. Whatever it is, look for opportunities to get in front of your network to position yourself. Yea, it’s that marketing thing.
Finally, I try to join groups that are relevant to my business and profession and be a part of them. My approach is to look at it like a party. I listen. I sometimes join in the conversation. I ask questions to hopefully get people talking. I learn things that I wouldn’t otherwise know and I’m doing it in a setting of people who could influence my business/career.
One recent strategy I’ve seen employed is to request a connection from someone that you don’t know but whom you might like to do business with. This one has me puzzled. As a person who has subscribed to a philosophy of only adding people I know (and whom I would want to recommend), it’s hard for me to support this approach even though it seems to be effective in building personal awareness. For example, I’ve personally opened an individual’s profile to see why they might be requesting a connection. So, if the strategy is to “introduce” yourself and your services to a potential buyer, then you’ve probably succeeded. However, I have yet to accept one of these connections.
What do you think about this strategy? What would you like to share about how you use LinkedIn?