“LinkedIn is a HUGE waste of time!” That’s what some people say. I thought that, too, at first. It was back in 2005 when I joined LinkedIn. I copied and pasted my resume into the LinkedIn profile page, leaned back in my office chair and waited for opportunity to hit me. Nothing happened.
It wasn’t until almost a year later that I logged back into LinkedIn and started to use it regularly. It took time, but I eventually had what I call my “LinkedIn epiphany.” Suffice to say, once I realized the importance of LinkedIn and how it worked, I developed a system that delivers proven results on LinkedIn. Here are three tips from my methodology that will get you using LinkedIn like a pro!
1. Optimize Your Profile. People are Googling you. Your LinkedIn profile is more often than not your digital introduction and first impression with the world. If your LinkedIn profile doesn’t showcase your skills and portray you as a polished professional, you are letting the ultimate opportunity just slip away.
Copying and pasting your resume doesn’t cut it. Your profile must be strategically written with your goals in mind and aligned to your target audience’s needs. In order to get found, you must determine the keywords people are using to find someone like you, and these words need to be worked organically into your profile content.
To learn more about optimizing your LinkedIn profile, attend my 60-minute session, “5 Tips to Crank Up Your Impact and Results on LinkedIn,” at QuickBooks Connect in San Jose on Nov. 15. I hope to see you there!
2. Build Your Network. Most people think of LinkedIn as a job board or a social networking site. It’s so much more than that. In fact, I like to think of it as a database of professionals for professionals. It is a dynamic address book of all the people you know and met throughout your career. It’s a souped-up Rolodex, in which each contact’s card is written and maintained by them so that it’s always up to date and current. An empty Rolodex is useless! Make a commitment to connect with people on LinkedIn weekly. Go back through your career and reconnect with the people you knew. As you meet new people, connect with them on LinkedIn. Make your LinkedIn network reflect your offline network.
Once connected, these people are “listening” to your message. They can see your broadcasted updates and articles. When searching for someone like you, you will turn up in their searches. Even the people whom they are connected to will be able to find you and see your mutual connections. Having a strong network is key to finding people, getting found and being heard.
3. ENGAGE! Now that you have an optimized profile and a strong network, it’s time to engage and splash around. Spend time on LinkedIn. Heading into a meeting? Check out the attendees’ profiles to see what commonalities you share. After the meeting, connect with them on LinkedIn. Has someone impressed you? Write them a recommendation on LinkedIn.
Instead of checking out Facebook, switch it up and scroll through your LinkedIn newsfeed and read what people within your network are posting. Comment, like and share. When you read an interesting article online, share it on LinkedIn.
By posting status updates, you are showcasing your professional voice and building your reputation as a skillful leader. Not only that, but with an expanded network, your voice also reaches out exponentially. Every like or comment you receive gets broadcasted out across each of their networks. Think about how wide that net of potential prospects can be!
Your LinkedIn Results
By taking the time to inject LinkedIn in your business life, you will begin to see results. An optimized profile will drive more views to your profile, while also allowing you to forge a stronger rapport with offline contacts that checked you out online. A strong network allows you to keep in touch with more people and provides you with more opportunities. Becoming active on LinkedIn keeps your name and expertise in front of people, reminding them you exist. When they need you and your services, they will reach out.
So, is LinkedIn a waste of time? Absolutely not. Give it a go and you’ll find yourself seeing amazing results!
Editor’s note: As stated above, Donna is presenting “5 Tips to Crank Up Your Impact and Results on LinkedIn” at QuickBooks Connect 2017, Nov. 15-17, 2017, in San Jose, Calif. Register today!