11 ⁄ 28 2016
Calling all entrepreneurs, executives, marketing pros, and (practically) everyone else: No matter your industry or title, it’s highly likely that you will reap significant benefits by establishing a strong presence on LinkedIn. Although this article is designed for people little or no presence on this amazing network, there will be juicy tidbits for seasoned pros as well.
First: Let’s take a brief look at some remarkable statistics to give you an idea of the size and reach of LinkedIn:
With several hundred million users (more than 100 million in the U.S. alone), LinkedIn is well on its way to reaching their goal of 3,000,000,000 users. Sure, not all users are active, but as of this writing, LinkedIn’s unique visitor count hovers around 200 million monthly – with a significant portion who use the network daily. You just can’t ignore the power and value of this business community it you want to remain relevant.
A professional presence on LinkedIn has quickly gone from a take-it-or-leave-it mentality to a must-have asset in your business or career. Those without a LinkedIn presence – or just as bad: a weak profile and no activity – are seen as deficient within the business community. Simply put: In many circles, if you are not on LinkedIn, then you do not exist.
If you have not yet built a strong presence on LinkedIn, there is no need to panic. This article will take you through the process and have you up and running in no time. Building a meaningful network requires time, but a professional presence can be accomplished quickly.
I have heard some people say that they will wait until they have a need to network before building their LinkedIn presence. To answer that, I would like to quote Seth Godin: “Dig your well before you’re thirsty.”
So, when is the best time to get started? Now. Here’s something to think about: If you begin building your presence on LinkedIn today, six months from now, you will look back and have a profile and network you will be proud of. Just imagine how strong your LinkedIn presence would be had you started a year ago!
Without further ado, here’s how to create a professional presence on LinkedIn:
Write an Exceptional LinkedIn Profile:
Your profile is the cover by which you will be judged by your peers, coworkers, clients, prospects, and the LinkedIn community in general. Take care in creating a profile that truly represents your worth. Whether you are a business owner, executive, or employee, you need to project a positive and professional image on your profile.
LinkedIn allows 2,000 characters in your profile summary. That’s roughly 300 words to tell your story. Your goal is to build a profile that focuses on the value you provide and the results one can expect when working with you.
Build Your Network:
Your entire world on LinkedIn consists of your first-, second-, and third-level connections. The people with whom you are connected directly are your first-level connection. All of their contacts are your second-level connections, and all of their contacts are your third-level connections.
This is your network. Unless you are a paid member, your visibility is limited to those within your network. Simply put: You are only able to access search results that include people from within your network. With only 50 or so connections, you are not in a position to reap the benefits of LinkedIn’s awesome search functionality. The greater your network, the better your chances of being seen and found in searches. And, as your network grows, so do your own search capabilities on LinkedIn.
In building your community, it’s important to recognize that your network grows exponentially; every new first-level connection can add thousands of people to your overall network – since you are also adding their connections to your overall LinkedIn universe. Picking up as few as five new connections per week will dramatically expand your visibility and search capabilities.
Join Professional Groups:
Professional groups exist for practically every profession, sub-profession, interest, and geography. When you join a group, you have direct access to other group members (unless they opt out of this feature). This means you can send messages directly to people within your groups.
Groups are great places to share best practices, discuss trending topics, and interact with colleagues, clients, prospects, and partners. LinkedIn allows you to join as many as 50 groups (more, if you also join the group’s “sub-groups” – which you should). Start joining groups today and don’t stop until you’ve maxed out.
When you log onto LinkedIn, your home screen shows all the people within your network who posted updates. People who post quality, relevant updates frequently are often regarded as thought leaders in their industries. You do not have to post your own articles; you can find something interesting in an industry publication, prepare an insightful comment, and share it with your network.
Once you get the hang of posting updates, try initiating and commenting on discussions within your professional groups. This will help to increase your visibility within and outside of your network.
On LinkedIn, one of your goals is to get in front of clients, prospects, colleagues, and other influencers. LinkedIn gives you several ways to “ping” your connections.
For starters, you can like, share, or comment on someone’s status update. This will get their attention, as the poster will receive a LinkedIn notification that someone has engaged with their update. You can also “endorse” a connection for one of their skills. I suggest doing this frequently, as it will result in others endorsing you for your skills as well. Another way to get the attention of influencers is simply to look at their profiles. As long as you do not place your settings on “anonymous,” users are able to see who has viewed their profiles. Often, curiosity will prompt them to click onto your profile.
LinkedIn measures how visible you are by showing how you rank among your connections in profile views. Find our your ranking and strive to improve it.
Want to ramp it up a notch? With LinkedIn’s publishing tool, you are able to post a blog-style article. This is a great way to share your expertise and attract new people to your network. Each time you publish a new article on LinkedIn, your network is notified about it.
If you are new to LinkedIn, I can see how all of the above information may seem overwhelming. But this is no reason not to get started. Take it one step at a time, and you will see everything begin to fall into place.
If you would like to jumpstart your presence on LinkedIn, we offer programs to build a powerful presence quickly and effortlessly. Contact us here for more information.
And – don’t forget to reach out and connect with me on LinkedIn. I’d love to have you in my network! You can find my profile and connect with me here:
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