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Six steps to Making the Most of LinkedIn

December 6, 2013

Since its launch in 2010, LinkedIn has accrued over 238 million users all attempting to grow their individual brands and networks. However, one of the primary misnomers of LinkedIn is the belief that simply creating an online profile will immediately make one a more successful networker. This is wildly untrue. LinkedIn is a tool that can be used to build a network, but the building is left entirely up to the user. Read on for six steps to getting the most out of the Yellow Pages of the Internet.


1. Have a purpose. As with most projects, going in without a goal leaves one grasping for an undetermined measure of progress or success. When creating and updating your LinkedIn page, take the time to think about what you want to get out of the platform. Do you want to gain new contacts, network with industry peers, be regarded as an expert in your industry? Have a plan.


2. Be willing to experiment. LinkedIn is constantly making improvements to its design. Be aware of these changes and take the time to edit your profile accordingly. Look at the profiles of people you admire and try to emulate them. Find a strategy that works toward fulfilling your networking goals.


3. Build a process. Find a way to attract and engage the people you want to connect with. Additionally, work to develop a routine for updating your profile and checking in on connections. For example, check in on companies you are interested in each week as hiring managers may post about company openings on LinkedIn before they are released to the job boards. Checking LinkedIn early and often can help you get a jump on these opportunities.


4. Cultivate mutually beneficial relationships. Be the person that is willing to give before they receive. The most fruitful connections come from users that are prepared to help one another out. People do business with those they know, like and trust. Using LinkedIn properly can help you be that person.


5. Interact with connections face-to-face. Don’t be afraid to ask a connection to meet for coffee or an informational interview. Talking in person builds a deeper level of trust and can help accelerate the relationship building process. When you meet face-to-face, be on the lookout for opportunities that will be beneficial to both of you.


6. Reach out to others. If you meet someone at an interview, event or speaking engagement, ask them to connect with you on LinkedIn. This helps to continue an already initiated relationship. Furthermore, if you see someone has looked at your profile, reach out and find out how you can help them. Finally, never doubt the power of writing recommendations for others – take the time to do it for someone else and they will be more likely to reciprocate.


Consistently following these tips will not only improve your networking skills but also help to develop your individual brand.


Article written in conjunction with a November 2013 piece from Public Relations Tactics entitled “How to Get the Most Out of LinkedIn” by Stephen Dupont, APR.